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7 busted myths to weatherize your home

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Don2222, Dec 15, 2012.

  1. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    Hello

    U.S. households will likely spend about $2,175 this year on home energy, with space heating accounting for about 31 percent, or $674, of that cost, according to the Alliance to Save Energy, or ASE, an organization based in Washington, D.C.

    Do you agree with the 7 answers?
    See > > http://www.bankrate.com/finance/fru...e.aspx?ec_id=cmct_01_comm_PF_sidelink#slide=1

    1. Myth: Turning off the heat in your home during the day is the best way to conserve energy.

    2. Myth: Using a wood-burning fireplace will reduce your heating bills.

    3. Myth: Portable space heaters are energy hogs.

    4. Myth: Having cold feet is just part of enduring the winter doldrums.

    5. Myth: You have to buy a lot of expensive materials and products to weatherize and insulate your home.

    6. Myth: Electric blankets waste energy.

    7. Myth: Your water heater always works efficiently.

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  2. swagler85

    swagler85 Minister of Fire

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    Well that explains why I don't have a heating bill.

    Article is really focused on a open fireplace not a stove, did briefly mention some "modern" fireplaces designed for heat. More BS on the web.
    ScotO likes this.
  3. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Reasonable but confusing and useless information. Sounds like it was written in 1993, and just pulled out of the file on a slow news day.

    Studies have shown that 'True/False' testing is worse than useless....our brains are wired to remember what we read separately from a 'true' or 'false' label. Afterwards, study participants can usually recall the 'statements' on a test, but not whether they were told subsequently they were true or false. Many participants actually scored worse on normal tests of knowledge after taking a true/false test and having it scored for them!

    So, I really don't like the 'This statement...blah blah blah....is a myth' format. Bad journalism.

    While I'm being cranky....newspapers tell people useless 'tips' every fall, like caulk your windows shut and turn down the thermostat and put on a sweater. Do they tell folks that most homes in the US were built with huge invisible openings in the framing that allow 30-50% of their heat to escape? No. And that they can fix that themselves or pay someone a modest amount to fix it? Nope. Never. That their house will be quieter and they will have less seasonal allergies and fewer winter colds (due to reasonable indoor humidity)? No way.
    jharkin likes this.
  4. Curly

    Curly New Member

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    Or bad circulation.

    But they help your cold feet.
  5. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Really subjective too, such as #3. They use energy and are 100% efficient but whether they "hog" it depends on what you compare this too. A standard oil furnace is a bigger hog (more expensive per btu) than an electric resistance heater in almost all regions.

    Or #6, blankets "Waste" energy. Well, it is only a waste if you place no value on the heat they provide. I value comfort so I don't consider my use of an eblanket to be a waste.

    Really poorly written by an unknowledgable author with an agenda.
    PapaDave and Backwoods Savage like this.
  6. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    This poor articles are just filler material that many sites dig up and post this time of year just to have some "content" Who knows how old it is but I know Ive seen it before. Probably written by an intern at some news outlet years ago, whos only qualification was a google search.

    In the same vein the annual saving electricity article is sure to resurface any day now, with the usual remark about "vampire loads" from plugged in portable electronic chargers. Thing is that might have been issue in the 1980s when such articles were written, but these days all cell phone, laptop, etc chargers are switching power supply based and most draw zero power when the device is not connected. Easily verifiable with a kil-a-watt.
    woodgeek likes this.
  7. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    #2
    I used just a fireplace to heat a small 3 bedroom cottage one Winter with just pallets for fuel so I don't quite get what the myth is supposed to be.
    Sure a lot of heat went up the chimney compared to other methods but we stayed warm.
    It was a lot of work keeping it going pretty much 24/7, too.

    Seems people have done the same for several thousands of years, too.

    Thankfully many of us can afford more efficient systems these days.

    If they're talking about the typical this decade built McMansion with just one fireplace for 5,000 square feet then yeah, that's gonna be a cold house.
  8. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Yes, if I walk into a cold house and there is no power but a big stack of pallet wood and an open fireplace you can bet your butt I'll be burning it and you can bet your butt that my buns will be warm from the radiant heat. Even if I have to back right up to it. Will the house temps go up? Maybe not but I know that I will be warmer in the immediate area.
    Billybonfire likes this.
  9. backpack09

    backpack09 Minister of Fire

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    and no 1 may not be the "best" according to them, but keeping the heat at 50 during the day saves a wholotta oil.
  10. Adabiviak

    Adabiviak Feeling the Heat

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    If you don't already understand that about installing electric equipment, you probably shouldn't be doing it.


    Except when the power goes out? Except when you want to save a buck? Except when your fireplace is keeping you warm? Eldridge and Sherman (who's quoted as mentioning that a heater is better from a 'thermal performance point of view') seem to have the credentials to know what they're talking about, but it just doesn't sound like it as I type this in front of my fireplace that's been keeping my entire house warm on maybe seven splits of (did I mention it was free) firewood. Sherman may be referring to some ratio of energy density and efficiency per energy type (oil, wood, electricity, propane, for example), and may be correct? The amount of heat you'll add to your house from using some fixed amount of stored joules of energy in propane vs this same amount in firewood (for example) may favor propane, but the amount of money you pay for that same heat may favor firewood (depending on if the burner gathers and properly processes his or her own fuel, or regularly gets scammed trying to purchase it). Plus, there are a few other variables that will affect this for any given user (stove/heater/furnace type, local costs of these fuel sources, and the thermal characteristics of the house come to mind).
  11. TradEddie

    TradEddie Minister of Fire

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    The charger thing is like the "A/C in a car uses 10% more gas", or "fluorescent lights are more efficient if you leave them on", probably had some basis in truth at one time. I read car websites where some guy complains that he gets lousy gas mileage, even though he never uses a/c, just opens the windows at highway speeds, but hasn't bothered to read the user manual where it even states that the aerodynamic loss of open windows far exceeds the a/c load.

    On the other hand, I just bought a kill-a-watt, and am surprised at the results, some good, some bad. While nothing was outrageously vampiric, my TV pulls 6W just sitting there, something it does 23 hours a day. The variation in alarm clocks around the house was remarkable too. Laptop and phone chargers were good, but my cordless drill charger, unused for weeks on end was drawing watts that I never expected. It may take a year or two to payback the $18, but I like to choose how I waste.

    TE
  12. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I have always found that I get better mileage with the A/C off and the windows open.
  13. TradEddie

    TradEddie Minister of Fire

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    I depends on the car, but many modern cars are so carefully designed for aerodynamics that opening windows increases drag. Back when cars got lower mpg, and A/C units weren't so efficient, the 10% figure may possibly have been realistic, if only for the worst-case car on the market. On the cause/effect relationship, having windows open may well discourage you from driving so fast, therefore better mileage.

    TE
  14. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    And furthermore, if you need to shut off the entire house to work safely on a 24v thermostat circuit, you probably shouldn't be allowed near electrical tools ;)
  15. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Well put.
  16. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Actually I'm surprised by how many power supplies aren't yet the switching type. Many devices still seem to come with older transformer type as opposed to those that use pulse width modulation (switching). Laptop chargers and desktop computer accessories are some examples I've seen.
  17. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    I'm bettin' you don't drive 65-70 very much then. ;)

    Eddie is right too. There's a big difference in the drag reduction from my pickup to my wife's small SUV. Opening the windows on her car is like deploying the drag chute.
  18. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Well, I made those observations when I had my tdi Beetle, and I was pretty obsessive about fuel economy then. And yes, speed was not of the essence. :)

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