"Stupid" Energy Saving Tips

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Circus

Feeling the Heat
Jan 11, 2013
292
EC Wisconsin
Sealing on the inside is effective only if the inside wall is constructed as a true air barrier (e.g. airtight drywall).

I once had a rude surprise, looking with a flashlight, under my kitchen cupboards. Mice chewed holes between the wall and the floor. I could see the exterior wall and could feel cold air bypassing all that carefully installed insulation.
"I hate meeces to pieces" Mr Jinks
 
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Bret Chase

Minister of Fire
Jan 15, 2013
870
Maine
I once had a rude surprise, looking with a flashlight, under my kitchen cupboards. Mice chewed holes between the wall and the floor. I could see the exterior wall and could feel cold air bypassing all that carefully installed insulation.

mice will do that...
 

stoveguy2esw

Minister of Fire
ive pulled the trim off from the inside of my windows and filled the cavities with "good stuff" and noticed a dramatic difference and have no evidence of rot at all in my wooden windows, might depend on climate though in VA where I live it does tend to be humid.

still its important to note that "hypersealing" a house causes all kinds of issues so as much as we want to seal her up and trap the heat, there is a point where the minuses outweigh the plusses
 

Bret Chase

Minister of Fire
Jan 15, 2013
870
Maine
ive pulled the trim off from the inside of my windows and filled the cavities with "good stuff" and noticed a dramatic difference and have no evidence of rot at all in my wooden windows, might depend on climate though in VA where I live it does tend to be humid.

still its important to note that "hypersealing" a house causes all kinds of issues so as much as we want to seal her up and trap the heat, there is a point where the minuses outweigh the plusses

the problem comes not with insulation around the windows. that is behind the "drain plane" of the wall. the drain plane being the housewrap, tar paper, rosin paper or whatever behind the siding. the problem comes when the cold side of the wood window frame is sealed to the outside of the siding. the water being driven through the wood from hot and humid (inside) and cold and dry (ouside). sealing it up super tight doesn't let the water *out*... particularly with tarpaper.

climate may play a large part of it... you're not going to see a temp differential (I/O) approaching 100 degrees in VA in a house, nor the massive difference in actual humidity between 68F humidified air and -15F that has almost zero water in it.
 

stoveguy2esw

Minister of Fire
the problem comes not with insulation around the windows. that is behind the "drain plane" of the wall. the drain plane being the housewrap, tar paper, rosin paper or whatever behind the siding. the problem comes when the cold side of the wood window frame is sealed to the outside of the siding. the water being driven through the wood from hot and humid (inside) and cold and dry (ouside). sealing it up super tight doesn't let the water *out*... particularly with tarpaper.

climate may play a large part of it... you're not going to see a temp differential (I/O) approaching 100 degrees in VA in a house, nor the massive difference in actual humidity between 68F humidified air and -15F that has almost zero water in it.


maybe so, currently its 38F outside with 83% humidity,raining, indoors its 75F and 28% humidity (according to my weather station) typically at that temp humidity outside on a non rainy day here is in the 50's in the summer for the most part we open the windows a lot only when its unbearable do we succumb and switch on the AC. so indoor and outdoor humidity tend to favor the indoors being either dryer or equal in my case
 

Cynnergy

Feeling the Heat
Oct 15, 2012
451
Coast, BC
Re: 6

There is a 'cold cupboard' in the cabin (hole in the floor of the cupboard to the exterior, hole at the top of the cupboard leading up the wall cavity, hole at the top of the wall cavity in the attic to the exterior) and someone put an outlet box in that same wall cavity. No insulation in that wall cavity. A nice example of the stack effect for something other than flues. And a perfect spot to keep the root veg and ales 6 months of the year.

A foam gasket turned the air coming out of the outlet from a gale-force wind into a light breeze. So they aren't useless in every situation ;).
 

Sully

Feeling the Heat
Oct 28, 2013
408
Delaware
Both refrigerator ones make sense. Dusty coil stopped my fridge from being cold, vacuumed it and it was all good. Keeping the empty space filled with ice bottles is more for a extended power outage. The more ice I. Freezer the longer it stays cold when electric is out
 

semipro

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2009
4,077
SW Virginia

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,555
South Puget Sound, WA
Yes, that was funny. Repost that to the Inglenook thread on the cold weather .
 

Galt

New Member
Jan 13, 2014
12
S.S.R. of Maryland
Love the blog article. Hit the proverbial nail with the insulation/air movement comment. Air tight is great as long as you manage humidity and air quality. Nothing like new carpet degassing or somebody using hair spray to make your air tight cabin in the woods its own little Auschwitz.
I seem to recall that Ted Nugent found out the hard way about the whole moisture thing when his cabin got so over run with black mold that they finally just abandoned it.
 

jharkin

Minister of Fire
Oct 21, 2009
3,890
Holliston, MA USA
I can't agree more. When I was on my extensive "kill-a-watt" kick I found that these loads (even with the older non-switching power supplies) make such a small percentage of the power used that they effectively don't matter.

However - exception to this is (as mentioned in another thread) TV and cable boxes that are actually running when folks think they are turned off - these really draw power. I don't have a TiVo type device here but I imagine keeping one running 24/7 is bound to become significant. So, the actual wall warts don't draw a whole lot, but some things plugged into them do even when not in use (poor designs in my opinion).

+2 or +3 This one just keeps coming up in news articles, and as best I can tell must date back to before the days of switching power supplies if it was ever valid at all. I've put cellphone chargers and even laptop bricks on the kill-a-watt and most of them read precisely zero when no device is connected.

But this is so engrained into people that you see behavior like my MIL who to this day still unplugs her toaster and coffeepot ever day after breakfast ;lol
 

Slow1

Minister of Fire
Nov 26, 2008
2,677
Eastern MA
+2 or +3 This one just keeps coming up in news articles, and as best I can tell must date back to before the days of switching power supplies if it was ever valid at all.

My guess is that someone did a 'study' of some sort where they took the total number of these 'vampire' devices in the USA, calculated the total use and came up with some big scary number (probably expressed as MWh or "enough for xyz homes" or zzzlbs CO2) and didn't mention how this number relates to the total amount of energy used.
 

Bret Chase

Minister of Fire
Jan 15, 2013
870
Maine
+2 or +3 This one just keeps coming up in news articles, and as best I can tell must date back to before the days of switching power supplies if it was ever valid at all. I've put cellphone chargers and even laptop bricks on the kill-a-watt and most of them read precisely zero when no device is connected.

But this is so engrained into people that you see behavior like my MIL who to this day still unplugs her toaster and coffeepot ever day after breakfast ;lol

For me... having at fresh, hot pot of coffee waiting for me when I wake at 5am is worth any "vampire" power use.....
 
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Dune

Minister of Fire
Having a freezer full of jugs of ice is a good thing if you lose power for a couple days in the summer.
 

maple1

Minister of Fire
Sep 15, 2011
10,809
Nova Scotia
But this is so engrained into people that you see behavior like my MIL who to this day still unplugs her toaster and coffeepot ever day after breakfast ;lol

We unplug our toaster.

Not because of saving electricity, but because of an ingrained habit formed from hearing past stories within both sides of our family of plugged-in toasters mysteriously going up in smoke.

Anybody else hear such stories, or do we both have nutty families? Some of them were VFD members who claim to have seen house fires started by a plugged-in but unattended toaster.
 

jharkin

Minister of Fire
Oct 21, 2009
3,890
Holliston, MA USA
We unplug our toaster.

Not because of saving electricity, but because of an ingrained habit formed from hearing past stories within both sides of our family of plugged-in toasters mysteriously going up in smoke.

Anybody else hear such stories, or do we both have nutty families? Some of them were VFD members who claim to have seen house fires started by a plugged-in but unattended toaster.

Thats actually the same reason my MIL unplugs hers. Also leaves the door open to 'cool' after using it. She could really care less about saving energy, every year her heat stays on till the day she turns on the central AC in may which in turn stays on till the day it switches back to heat in fall. I would guess that nobody in my parents generation in either my or my wifes family has any interst in anything 'green/conservation' beyond the saving money aspect...
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,308
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
We unplug our toaster.

Not because of saving electricity, but because of an ingrained habit formed from hearing past stories within both sides of our family of plugged-in toasters mysteriously going up in smoke.

Anybody else hear such stories, or do we both have nutty families? Some of them were VFD members who claim to have seen house fires started by a plugged-in but unattended toaster.

I pull all plugs for all devices that aren't being used as soon as I'm done. It is an old habit and I'm not sure it's a bad habit. I also put the toaster and other counter top junk away in a cabinet after it cools. Clean.
 

Bret Chase

Minister of Fire
Jan 15, 2013
870
Maine
I pull all plugs for all devices that aren't being used as soon as I'm done. It is an old habit and I'm not sure it's a bad habit. I also put the toaster and other counter top junk away in a cabinet after it cools. Clean.

My coffee pot, toaster and kitchenaid mixer get used at least 6 out of 7 days a week... so they stay on the counter
 

Bret Chase

Minister of Fire
Jan 15, 2013
870
Maine
Having a freezer full of jugs of ice is a good thing if you lose power for a couple days in the summer.

I keep a bunch of "cooler packs" in my chest freezer... that is certainly a side benefit... but they are in there for the warmer months to keep the beach cooler, well cold.
 

firebroad

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2011
1,521
Carroll County, MD
I have always been convinced that the person who thought placing radiators under windows for convection was a man. No woman would dream of that design, for she knows that CURTAINS go over windows, and the warm air just goes right up behind them. And 84" drapes are out of the question.:confused:
 

blades

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2008
3,679
WI, Leroy
drapes that block air flow past a window can cause problems in some locations. We made our own and they did work very well to cut down on heat loss, but the down side was in areas that see high humidity spikes like a bath room or maybe bed room connected to bath they caused moisture to condense on the window assemblies as a whole this lead to water staining due to frost on window inside and in one case some mold formation on the sashes on the inside. At the time these were single pane 50 year old windows, certainly not the best infiltration wise either.
Over the past 4 years I have cut energy usage at home by 75% based on bills I was shown at time of puchase. Course some of that is just that I am single so not as much used. Things I have done; gas furnace replaced by smaller HE unit, hot water heater up graded, electric dryer replaced by gas, HE washer tub type not one of the front loads ( them things were problems with seals 40 years ago, hasn't changed much since.) Course the wood stove makes a big impact in the winter. There some more areas needing attention but due to being an all brick house they difficult to do/ pricy also- pay back might not even balance out in a reasonable time length. Pay back time /cost ratio is what I look at. value at resale is nothing for the most part.
 
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jdp1152

Minister of Fire
Oct 4, 2012
784
Massachusetts
I once had a rude surprise, looking with a flashlight, under my kitchen cupboards. Mice chewed holes between the wall and the floor. I could see the exterior wall and could feel cold air bypassing all that carefully installed insulation.
"I hate meeces to pieces" Mr Jinks
Likewise. Just pulled all my lower cabinets off and air sealed where numerous mice had made their way in. I put up a wire mesh barrier to at least prevent this from happening again though I also had new siding on the house recently with a foundation cap to prevent such unwanted visitors.
 
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