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Quirky Conservation Tips

Post in 'The Green Room' started by midwestcoast, Dec 3, 2010.

  1. woodchip

    woodchip Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2010
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    1,389
    Loc:
    Broadstone England
    Some may say the English are crazy, so here are some of my crazy conservation schemes.............

    We have a home made rainwater storage collection and storage system which can store over 2000 gallons. This is used for flushing the loo, why use expensive drinking water?

    Our wood burner has a flat top, and I usually cook on it with an old camp oven (cast iron pot), great for stews in cold weather. My wife loves that one as I get to do the cooking!

    The flat top also means we boil our water for our endless cups of tea on it.

    I often heat a pot of rainwater on the stove for my washing, even if it did not save money I like the soft water.........

    I never use expensive cleaners on the glass front of our stove. Damp newspaper rubbed in a little wood ash is a brilliant glass cleaner!!!!!!!

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  2. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Northern IL
    Most - most think that the English are crazy. :lol:
  3. Tom Pencil

    Tom Pencil New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2008
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    159
    Loc:
    Tipp City, Ohio
    Heard that peeing while taking a shower saves a lot of water being flushed to the same location. Would save on electric also for those with their own well pumps.
  4. Vic99

    Vic99 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2006
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    836
    Loc:
    MA, Suburb of Lowell
    Good thread.

    - when changing out fish tank water, use waste water for house plants

    - collect rain water off of roof in buckets and barrel to use in summer

    - shut off computer power strips when not in use & unplug appliances when not in use

    - ceiling fans to circulate hot air

    - also leave oven door cracked because I like the instant blast of heat

    - pot of water on wood stove to add humidity and thus increase comfort somewhat

    - shut off most lights when I leave rooms. I'm amazed at how many people run lots of lights in every unoccupied room

    - At work: shut off bathroom lights when leave, put photocopier on standby mode when done (yes, I'm the guy)
  5. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    northern-half of maine
    Question is....what'd you do with 'em? :p
  6. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    northern-half of maine
    I'll bring that up at the next family meeting. :lol:
  7. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    northern-half of maine
    Good, Funny thread. might be some stand up comic stuff here.


    The only thing i can think of(that hasn't already been mentioned) that we do, is use plastic shopping bags for garbage can liners. All of our garbage cans in the house are small. Haven't bought a roll of bags for years.


    Not sure if this qualifies for this thread.
    I try to drink enough beer, so when we take back the returnables, the money from the bottle deposits are enough to buy groceries. If it wasn't for my drinkin' we wouldn't have enough money for groceries.
  8. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Jan 12, 2009
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    Loc:
    SW Virginia
    We set up a pretty disciplined household budget for a while where every penny was accounted for. We were also buying our milk in returnable glass bottles. What I didn't know was that my wife was returning the bottles for cash and using that for secret (outside the budget) spending money. :)
  9. Mcbride

    Mcbride New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2010
    Messages:
    202
    Loc:
    Mcbride BC Canada
    I do nothing to extreme, but a few little things.
    I try and remember to turn the oven off say 10 minutes before the foods done cooking, as its still hot anyways, saving a bit of electricity.
    I unplug all chargers when not in use, from the wall as they use electricity even if say the cell phones not actually charging.
    On the highway i let my truck slow a bit on hills, as i keep a steady gas pedal instead of stepping down harder to maintain max speed. Its not big deal if it slows 5 or 10 mph on a long hill, and it saves a lot of gas on trips i found.
    I also do not let it idle for long, even on the coldest mornings. At minus 40 it idles about 1 minute, then i just drive gently for about the next 5 mins.
  10. Mcbride

    Mcbride New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2010
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    Loc:
    Mcbride BC Canada
    My pet peeves for wasted energy are my kids standing there with the fridge door open for no reason.
    Or its cold outside, and they take a long time to get in or out and shut the front door. Just come in and close it quickly, yeesh.
    They have their own TV upstairs, and i have seen them leave it on for 2 or more hours, while they are not even up there, till i see it and go turn it off.
    Lights on in the house, while its daylight, and sunshine coming in the windows making the house plenty bright.
  11. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    On one particularly bright, sunny day I actually removed the bulb from a corner lamp to PROVE to the other half that it was habit, not necessity that was causing her to turn on the lights every time she enter a room. She never even noticed until I showed the empty light socket to her.
  12. Delta-T

    Delta-T Minister of Fire

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    Feb 27, 2008
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    3,097
    Loc:
    NH
    when i get a hole in my sock, i cut the toe off, pull them up a lil higher and call them "leg warmers", thrifty eh? (oh yes, i AM the envy of my neighborhood)
  13. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
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    3,625
    Loc:
    Eastern Central PA
    Im a saver ,wife not so much. She will put 2 socks in the washer. SO i had to go out and buy a hi-tech washer that weighs the clothes ,adds the appropriate amount of water before washing. SHe separates colors ,not colors from black and white but each color individually. wont wash a red with a blue ect. She puts Xmas lights on everything.so i had to buy led lights so our nuclear power plant did not melt down just from our house at xmas. Shes not as green as me but has so many other good qualities im lacking so its even ,i think.
  14. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    SW Virginia
    So how'd that go? I did a similar experiment with my wife once and she didn't find it amusing.
  15. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Northern IL
    She usually just calls me a dork.
  16. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    S.NH- Mass's smoking section
    My mother in law will turn on the friggin faucet and leave hot and cold on about full blast the whole time she rinses dishes thoroughly before putting them in the dishwasher. Probably 10 seconds effort more each and they'd be washed. She carries the dishes over to the trash to scrap stuff off- leaves the sink running. Gets stuff out of the fridge or freezer- leave the door open while she gets a glass, pours whatever, and then returns the bottle. I can't be in the kitchen with her.
  17. maverick06

    maverick06 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    media, pa
    I have a kill-a-watt meter and have checked a few things. Instead of using the teakettle to boil water, i use a little electric tea kettle (the cost is about 60% the cost of the microwave, which is probably about 60% that of the stove).
  18. maverick06

    maverick06 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
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    700
    Loc:
    media, pa
    I have a kill-a-watt meter and have checked a few things. Instead of using the teakettle to boil water, i use a little electric tea kettle (the cost is about 60% the cost of the microwave, which is probably about 60% that of the stove).
  19. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2009
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    1,615
    Loc:
    NW Indiana
    Oh, the fun that can be had with a Kill-a-watt! I've had about everything in the house plugged into mine since getting one a couple years back (mine is actually some knock-off kind).
    The oddest thing I found was that my coffee-maker (with a clock & timer) actually used more electricity NOT making coffee than brewing the one large cup per day I typically drink, since the phantom-load was quite high 23.75 hours/day. The coffee maker sold on craigslist & I now use an $8 permanent filter for my 1 cup & a French Press for company. Coffee's better too.
  20. PNWBurner

    PNWBurner Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2009
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    Loc:
    NW Washington
    How about the old saying: "If it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown flush it down" with reference to a toilet. Saves lots of water but kind of a tough sell around here...

    Oh, and my father in law reuses his coffee grounds... Sometimes 4 or 5 times. The last few cups are like weak tea...
  21. joecool85

    joecool85 Minister of Fire

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    Central Maine
    My wife does that when money is tight. Although only 2-3 times. I don't drink coffee, so I guess I save us money right there!
  22. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    I think with that behavior, you can shoot her and get away with it.
  23. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Yep, justifiable homicide.
  24. GaryGary

    GaryGary Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2010
    Messages:
    291
    Loc:
    SW Montana
    Hi,
    I love out of the ordinary ways to save energy.

    - We use an electric mattress pad so that we can increase the setback more at night and still sleep warm. It saves a surprising amount of propane:
    http://www.builditsolar.com/References/Half/ProjectsConservation.htm#Mattress

    - We have one of those lever type faucets on the kitchen sink -- so, when you move it left you get hot, right you get cold, and in the middle you get warm. I read a study that said that people with these faucets tend to keep it in the middle (warm water) when they don't really care what temp they get -- the study said that if you remember to push it over to the cold side when cold is OK for what you are doing it saves a significant amount of hot water!

    - I guess using bubble warp to insulate windows has gotten to be pretty well known -- we do that.
    http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Conservation/bubblewrap.htm

    - In the rooms we don't use much (like guest rooms), we have rigid insulation board inside panels.
    http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Conservation/HalfShutter/HalfShutter.htm
    With these ones that leave a gap at the top, you still get quite a bit of light.


    - We recently switched to a really efficient pet door. This was after we had a blower door test, and the old pet door leaked so bad we had to plug it to get a valid reading on the blower door.
    http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Conservation/PetDoor/PetDoor.htm
    This pet door has a really innovative double magnetic seal.

    - I have all the chargers for my battery powered tools on a timer so that instead of sucking a little power 24/7 they come on for half and hour a day and top up any batteries that need it.
    http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Conservation/MotionSW.htm
    The gang of chargers use 22 watts 24/7 without this timer -- 200 KWH a year.

    - When we had to replace our TV a 6 months back, I really obsessed over -- finally found a Sharp 46 inch that only uses 53 watts! A third of what the old 36 inch TV used. CNET.com has the best reviews on TV's, and carefully measures power consumption.


    - This is one that the guy who runs 12VoltMan.com sent in. He uses the just the pilot light on his gas water heater to heat all the water for two people.
    http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Conservation/PilotLights.htm
    There are some ins and outs to this, but I think its a sound idea, and safe as long as you know what you are doing.


    - Ray turned this one in -- a homemade fridge that runs on 100 KWH a year:
    http://www.raycotechnologies.org/build_your_own_battery_powered_r.htm

    - This one from Doug -- "Hot water/Cold Beer" -- basically a homemade heat pump that simultaneously cools homemade beer and heats water in the hot water tank!
    http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Conservation/BeerCooler/BeerCoolingHeatPump.htm

    - Neat idea for a really efficient shower:
    http://www.sunfrost.com/efficient_shower.html



    In the "I never would have guessed it wasted that much energy " category:

    - Did you know that your DVR (TIVO) uses 50 watts 24/7?


    - We wasted $3200 on propane over 8 years by having this hot water recirc system that eliminates the wait for hot water in the far bathroom:
    http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Conservation/Recirc/RecircEnergy.htm
    They can be very very wasteful depending on which kind you have.


    Gary
  25. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    4,262
    Loc:
    Northern MN
    I converted our 15 cu ft chest freezer which we didn't use anymore to a backup refrig with the simple addition of a line voltage low temperature probe thermostat. A Ranco or Johnson electronic control would do just as good. Just wire the temperature control to an outlet, with the sensor in the "freezer" to maintain the desired temperature. Still can use it as a freezer by moving the plug to an uncontrolled outlet. This freezer is in the basement, where it is cool anyway, and it takes practically no electricity to maintain 35-38F, and the chest freezer holds lots of leftovers from holiday meals, and better yet, lots of beer for the man cave bonding exercise.

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