solarbum

A blog about energy conservation and such.

Oh Count The Ways!!!

OK, so besides my solar panels I am doing tons of other things to address energy usage and want to mention a few of them here and will be mentioning many more in coming posts.

Probably the most important single thing that I have in my arsenal of energy saving tools is a power monitor. I have mentioned it in a previous post, but want to elaborate on it. A power monitor is basically an analyzer that attaches to your meter and reads how much energy usage you are using and have used since you last reset the display. Upon setup you enter the price you are paying per kWh so it will also tell you how much money you will be paying the bastards since you last reset the display. Here is a pic of the display, which is mounted to my wall just above my thermostat.

*Note that in the pic I am currently using zero kWh…which is the goal. It is showing that I have used 36 kWh since I last reset it, which was about 4 days ago.

If you are intested in this nifty little device you can get it at a great price here but I would also try ebay, as sometimes you find great prices on them there as well.

OK, so now that I can watch my power one of my biggest concerns is heating my house, since it is New Years Eve that I am writing this. Now a few years ago we replaced our electric baseboard heating with a heatpump, but this year I have gone even further by getting a kerosene heater. Why would I get a kerosene heater when I have a heatpump? Well kerosene burns much cleaner than coal, which is the main source of electricity here in NC. Also, robbing the power company of dollars is always a win in my book (even though I am now giving my money to big oil. Oh well, one day I will have a wood burning stove.)

Anyway, here is a pic of the kerosene heater that I bought:

This monster is a 23,000 BTU heater that does a great job heating our 800 sf. condo. If you will notice I have my air return grill behind it so that at night once the living room area is blazing I can kick the blower motor on and circulate the warm air throughout the house. I do turn it off when we go to bed and set the heatpump, but it runs very little. They say that these things produce carbon monoxide and I’m sure that some do, though mine hasn’t produced any yet so I trust it while awake, but once again don’t go to sleep with one of these bad boys running.

The last big change that I have done lately is turning the electric hot water heater off at the breaker box at night and when we all leave for the day. This is not advisable for too long as it makes the breaker weaker the more you use it, so I will be installing a timer but the point is I don’t want water remaining hot when I will not be using it anytime soon. When I wake up in the morning and take a shower the water is still hot from the night before (almost the 120 degrees I have it set for on the water heater thermostat) so it takes a long time for water to lose it’s heat when the hot water heater is off. I, of course, have a blanket on my water heater. Do you?

Until next time…

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2 thoughts on “Oh Count The Ways!!!

  1. I have a monster kerosine heater to heat my 2 story house in the middle of the mountains. It smells bad, is noisy, constantly makes me nervous and overall pisses me off. I also have a wood burning stove and a gas fireplace. Be careful with the kerosine heater. It will make everything smell like burnt stuff and diesel. Not my favorite smell. I have a monster toyostove from the ’80’s.

    • The wick in your kerosene heater needs to be replaced. Get Brian to do it (you can find videos on youtube about how to do it). Also, get him to get you some firewood for the wood burning fireplace. Gas fireplaces are super sketchy. You need CO detectors throughout the house no matter what option you choose.

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