Energy Saving Tips - Please Share

gathermewool

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What are some obvious and, more importantly, less obvious ways you save money on your home energy bills? How costly and cost effective did each turn out? Edit: also, what did you find to NOt work or be as practical as you thought?

For instance, wrapping hot water pipes in foam insulation is very cheap and obvious, but I was always told that those bulky fiberglass hot water heaters were a waste, which ended up not being the case for me. I ended up buying one for cheap and used a thermometer to probe between the shell and the new insulation and was surprised to see a much higher temp than ambient (102.5F vs 54F - I probed near the top, so it would obviously be the warmest location, but it was still way more significant than I expected). Now, the heater is not new, so YMMV greatly.

The back of our house also faces south, so the sky lights and windows add a ton of heat in the winter, but suck in the summer. Thermal curtains make sense in the winter at night and our north-facing windows, but all I have are shades in the summer. I haven’t considered whether to add some sort of reflective blocker outside the windows (inside would still generate heat inside the space).

I also need to add more insulation to the attic and seal some locations. I’m also debating removing the bats of fiberglass in the floor joists and adding some foam barrier. The fiberglass bats are sagging and certainly not doing as good of a job as they could. I think some foam cut to shape and sealed to the bottom of the floor, with the bats beneath them would be a good improvement.

There‘re a ton of options, like solar, LED lighting, insulating garage doors, ensuring barriers and seals are good, spraying foam into walls, etc. What has worked for you?

Those are just some examples. What do you estimate your ROI to be?
 
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Oh, and I also seal the gaps around my window AC units using a sort of contact plastic. The plastic pieces that come with every unit are pretty much worthless. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that sooner. My wife figured it out that this was better than painters tape.
 
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Most of my energy savings occurred when my kids moved out. No joke. Between my daughter and son (who has long hair), the oil and electric dropped considerably. Other than that, I have an insulated house, nice windows and I burn wood. Good to go.

I have to yell at my son who screws off in the shower all the time. “Rinse, lather, rinse, get out…”

My daughter is still at bath age, luckily. She can soak as long as she wants. We actually have a huge jacuzzi tub, but use a tiny kiddy pool for her baths.
 
Windows and doors make a big difference. Insulation in ceiling another.good idea. A energy audit from your electric company that includes a blower door test ( tell how tight the house is). Spray foam all electric boxes exterior walls.
 
Windows and doors make a big difference. Insulation in ceiling another.good idea. A energy audit from your electric company that includes a blower door test ( tell how tight the house is). Spray foam all electric boxes exterior walls.

I‘m an idiot for not having an audit done yet. To be fair, the guys who came out for our previous condo did a half-added job. They did see our LED lights and still handed us a box of new LEDs, so that was nice

I have an audit next month. I booked it last month; they’re just that backed up.
 
Oh, I forgot that I plan to seal up a redundant door that we never use. It was part of the extension the previous owners added, but it leads out to the back deck from the living room…very close to the sliding doors nearby.

It has a glass section, so the only benefit is the light in winter, since it’s south-facing.
 
I completely forgot about the outlets. Do they actually work and are they worth the cost? Do you make your own or buy them?

They're die cut and fit perfectly, you'd be crazy to try to make your own. Are they worth it? Yes. Sometime when there's a wind blowing and it's cold out put your hand in front of an outlet or switch.

Set your water heater to 120-125f. Any lower than 120 and you can get bacteria growth. No need to have scalding hot water heating all the time.

If you have a long distance from the water heater to a bathroom or the kitchen an instant water heater might make sense but the ROI would be long term.
 
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They're die cut and fit perfectly, you'd be crazy to try to make your own. Are they worth it? Yes. Sometime when there's a wind blowing and it's cold out put your hand in front of an outlet or switch.

Set your water heater to 120-125f. Any lower than 120 and you can get bacteria growth. No need to have scalding hot water heating all the time.

If you have a long distance from the water heater to a bathroom or the kitchen an instant water heater might make sense but the ROI would be long term.

The water heater temp is a good suggestion. I just checked and the temp is 129 at my kitchen sink.

I’ve considered an instant heater for our distant main bathroom, but I have all electric. I do have an aux breaker box close, but I’m assuming running 220 would be expensive and electric instant-on heaters probably wouldn’t save me too much water and very little electricity.
 
Keep in mind what I say may help someone else out in the future even if its not applicable to the thread starter.
I had a new home last year and it has a 65 gallon Rheem hybrid water heater. It cost a fortune upfront. I have geothermal HVAC and decided against a desuperheater for hot water.

Here is the energy label @ .14 a KW for a 65 gallon, 59 filled Rheem ProTerra.

Rheem water heater .jpg
 
Keep in mind what I say may help someone else out in the future even if its not applicable to the thread starter.
I had a new home last year and it has a 65 gallon Rheem hybrid water heater. It cost a fortune upfront. I have geothermal HVAC and decided against a desuperheater for hot water.

Here is the energy label @ .14 a KW for a 65 gallon, 59 filled Rheem ProTerra.

View attachment 135370
Applicable to me, for sure. I actually don’t have room for a larger water heater, and my basement is cold during the winter, but I plan to make it work. There has to be a way to port the exhaust to the basement I’m the summer and outside during the winter.

In reality, I’m sure anything will be better than what I have. Unfortunately, thats what makes the blanket work. It’s not a good thing.
 
This may sound dumb, but I also switch out LED bulbs for my leftover incandescent bulbs in ceiling fans. I put the fans on reverse rotation, low during the winter to push the warm air down. With electric baseboard heat, I’m not losing any efficiency and I’d rather send the old bulbs to the grave dead instead of useful. It also takes a (minor) load off the LED bulbs. Ya know, so they last 2 decades instead of 1.999. :unsure:
 
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I have to yell at my son who screws off in the shower all the time. “Rinse, lather, rinse, get out…”

My daughter is still at bath age, luckily. She can soak as long as she wants. We actually have a huge jacuzzi tub, but use a tiny kiddy pool for her baths.
My son is the same way, one time I didn’t even realize he was still in there...must have been an hour. He turned the bathroom into a sauna. I could my taxes quicker than a typical shower from him.
 
By far the best ROI of our weatherization efforts was removing the old fiberglass insulation from the attic, air sealing any penetrations from below, and replacing the insulation with blown-in cellulose up to the current recommendation (I think it is R50). The work paid for itself in
Water saving appliances are something else to consider. We noticed a drop in our electric bill when we got a front-loading washing machine (electric dryer runs less), and a drop in water consumption when I replaced an old toiler with a new 1.28 gpf unit.
 
For me it’s mostly heat - did my own radiant barrier with double bubble AstroFoil on the rafters …
Cuts with scissors and staple gun to pin in place …
Had done R30 and decking before that …
 
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