Documenting my attempt to cut my energy usage in half.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

End of Summer Update

This summer was a very good test of the changes I have made to reduce my energy usage.  Although it was hot, it wasn't quite as bad as last year.  The degree days show that it was well above average and slightly less than last year.    I did make a few changes in addition to the changes I made earlier in the year that were detailed here.

It is so humid here during the summer that it's very rare that we ever open the windows.  All of my windows are casement windows that have the bug screen on the inside.  So the first change was to remove all of the screens and store them away until early Fall when we start to open the windows again.  The reasoning behind this was all of the testing that's been done on solar air heaters using window screen as the absorber material.  If it's that good of an absorber, I need to just get it out of the way and let the shade reflect as much light and heat back out as it can.

The second change was to make better use of my programmable thermostats.  They have very specific schedules set to them now and in addition, the two guest rooms now have their dampers mostly closed on the days that no one is here using them.

The end result of this is some excellent news!  At least my wallet thinks so.   The total KWH usage for the months of June - Aug was down 4,255 kwh over last summer and the total bill for was down $365.  So far for the year I'm about 9,000 kwh under the usage of my six year average.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Water Heater Analysis - Part 3

Hopefully the saga with the water heater is coming to an end soon as the thermosyphon loop that was detailed here has been fixed.  After several months of sporadic discussions with my hvac contractor (who has supposedly been in contact with Water Furnace) about how to fix the problem, how much it was going to cost to fix, and whether I should bear the cost of fixing it, I now have an electronic valve installed on the outlet side of the desuperheater.  The valve only opens when the desuperheater comes on and should completely stop the thermosyphon loop that was sucking heat out of my tank.

 It's supposed to cool off a lot tomorrow and I turned on the hot water heater for the first time since the end of June yesterday.  When the desuperheaters stop supplying all of my hot water this weekend, I'll be able to get some temperature readings from the tank to see if this new valve really fixed the problem.