I was recently called to consult on an energy problem in a home with a portable, oil-filled space heater in the master bedroom. The owner was complaining that the room was still cold even after running the unit all night. Plus, he was concerned the unit was costing too much money to run every night for 12 hours. So…how much energy does the unit use? Let’s find out.
Electricity, Featured »
Let’s be clear:
Even if you have a natural gas dryer, it still has an electrical cost. That is, it still uses some level of electricity to run. The heaviest electrical cost is the motor which rotates the cylinder and tumbles the clothes. Electricity in a gas powered dryer does not provide heat.
My natural gas dryer, rated at 6A @ 120VAC, in theory, consumes 720w of power.
This comes right from the label on the dryer.
Putting the electrical consumption to the test
Of course, I no longer believe labels. I want to see …
Electricity, Featured »
My recent experiment with how much energy it takes to run a microwave really had me thinking…if the label was a little off on the microwave, could the labels on other appliances be wrong as well?
No sooner than I turn around in my house from the microwave to find the coffee maker sitting right there. Of course! Coffee. I love coffee, like most other people. I run my coffee maker everyday because its far cheaper to make coffee at home than go out and buy a cup of coffee on …
Do It Yourself Projects, Featured »
If there’s one thing I’ve learned doing home energy audits, repairs, and consultations its this: you always need to have the right tools for the job. Its true in any profession, any contracting gig, or even any job. You need the tools. Tools help you develop your skills. The two, I’m convinced, go hand in hand.
So, do you have a home energy toolbox? It doesn’t have to be an actual toolbox, it could be a bag, cardboard box, or just an abstract idea and collection of tools.
Every homeowner needs an …
So the last experiment was disappointing, because it appeared that plastic did very little to prevent heat loss for your leaky hallway window. Things aren’t looking so good for the thin plastic as insulation.
Luckily, we have another scenario. Plastic over part of a window has come “undone” giving us the perfect side by side comparison of surface temperatures over a window with and without plastic – without interfering sunshine and the heat from solar convection.
This question is important to many homeowners and renters because we believe that placing plastic over our windows will halep us save energy on cold winter days and nights. Some plastic makers claim that plastic adds at least 1R value to the window.
I doubt this to be true. But using the information presented in the home energy audit kit, we can easily see heat loss with and without the plastic to see how much of a difference it makes.
Do It Yourself Projects, Electricity »
There is a real push online right now for renewable energy. In other words, clean energy that the do it yourselfer dreams of. The two types that are the most prevalent are wind and solar power. Both are clean, renewable and can really make a dent in your energy bills when done right.
That’s the key phrase – when done right. The problem is most people a) don’t know how to build effective and efficient systems, b) don’t understand the implications of their decision, and c) don’t know how much power …
Electricity, Home Energy Tips »
There is a debate in the home energy community over what to do if given the choice between using a microwave oven to cook versus a gas powered range. My obvious advice is this: it really depends on what is being cooked and how much is being prepared. All meals are not created equally.
Think of it as a home energy efficiency lab that is not run by a government agency…
I’ll be investigating and actively experimenting with easy, do it yourself ways for every home to save money on energy bills. All the reports that come from the lab will include costs and approximate savings, as well as raw data – so you can make the most informed decision possible.
Of course, if you have anything you might want me to look into, or check out on your behalf, feel free to send me a …