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  • July 30, 2016, 06:14:27 PM

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Author Topic: Solar power, and your tips for conserving energy  (Read 1131 times)

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greencat

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Re: Solar power, and your tips for conserving energy
« Reply #15 on: June 30, 2016, 06:09:53 PM »
One of my neighbors has solar panels.  (We're in central Florida.)  He usually generates more power than he uses and gets a credit from the power company monthly.  I'm not sure he's broken even yet on the installation cost, though.

MaryR

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Re: Solar power, and your tips for conserving energy
« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2016, 11:56:57 PM »

I am unfamiliar with swamp cookers, but based on your description I doubt that they would be useful in my area, where it is very hot and humid for much of the year.

Not wanting to sound snarky, but if you don't know what a swamp cooler is, it wouldn't work in your area. (Has been imagining how well a swamp cooker would work on tough meat. I might start up my own business using heat and steam for cooking. Oops, sorry!)

Swamp coolers are also known as evaporative coolers. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evaporative_cooler  Basically, there is a fan that blows air over wet pads to cool the air. In areas of low humidity, they are wonderful. Folks who live in areas like you describe probably don't know about them because they would be useless.

MIL lives in West Virginia and holy cow! I suffer so much when we visit them because it feels like I am always wet. My skin loves it, though.

There are some people here who have installed retractable awnings. The can roll them out during the heat of the day, but roll them up next to the house during rain or snow. We haven't explored that option, but I understand that they are only semi-expensive.

SamiHami

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Re: Solar power, and your tips for conserving energy
« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2016, 08:00:37 AM »

I am unfamiliar with swamp cookers, but based on your description I doubt that they would be useful in my area, where it is very hot and humid for much of the year.

Not wanting to sound snarky, but if you don't know what a swamp cooler is, it wouldn't work in your area. (Has been imagining how well a swamp cooker would work on tough meat. I might start up my own business using heat and steam for cooking. Oops, sorry!)

Swamp coolers are also known as evaporative coolers. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evaporative_cooler  Basically, there is a fan that blows air over wet pads to cool the air. In areas of low humidity, they are wonderful. Folks who live in areas like you describe probably don't know about them because they would be useless.

MIL lives in West Virginia and holy cow! I suffer so much when we visit them because it feels like I am always wet. My skin loves it, though.

There are some people here who have installed retractable awnings. The can roll them out during the heat of the day, but roll them up next to the house during rain or snow. We haven't explored that option, but I understand that they are only semi-expensive.

Cookers...LOL! Oops!

I think you're right. They wouldn't work in my area but they sound great for those in the right climate for them.

What have you got? Is it food? Is it for me? I want it whatever it is!

texgalatheart

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Re: Solar power, and your tips for conserving energy
« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2016, 08:39:40 AM »
You may want to contact your power company and ask about bill averaging. I live in the south and from April to Sept run the AC almost all the time. I'm on bill averaging so i pay the same amount every month - Summer or Winter.  They average the last 12 months and that's what you pay. It does fluctuate slightly as the oldest month drops off. The lower power costs of the winter really balances the higher costs of the summer.

magicdomino

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Re: Solar power, and your tips for conserving energy
« Reply #19 on: July 01, 2016, 07:18:37 PM »
For 40 years, my house had no central air conditioning.  There were window units from time to time, but the original windows were narrow steel casements that weren't window-unit-friendly, plus there was the question of what to do with them in the winter.  Window units are too heavy for a single woman to maneuver.  I had a portable unit in my bedroom, but its little water tank would fill up by the middle of the night, turning it off.

How ever did I survive?   ;)

1.   In the morning, go around and cover all of the windows, particularly any south or west facing ones.  I had blinds, but curtains that are white on the outside would work too.  While you are at it, close the windows.  Leaving them open on a hot day just lets hot air in.

2.  In the evening, go around and open all those windows.  Depending on the window, you may be able to leave the blinds/curtains shut or only partly drawn.

3.  A fan in every room.  Lots of fans.  Big floor models, little swiveling fans, maybe even an itty bitty fan for when you are sitting in one place for a while.  Moving air doesn't actually do much for the ambient temperature, but it will make you feel better.

4.  Speaking of fans, a whole house fan.  I'm a little hesitant to recommend this because mine sounded like an airplane engine.  Each summer, it took a while to get used to the noise, especially since it needed to be run at night.  But it did do a very good job of drawing hot air out of the house, so that cooler night air could come in through those open windows.

5.  Don't plan on doing much of anything at home during the afternoon.  There is a reason why the siesta was invented.  Alternatively, go out to air conditioned places.  I got used to going to the movies by myself because many a summer weekend included a matinee movie.

6.  Ice.  In tall glasses with the beverage of your choice.   :)


Incidentally, in winter, reverse the blind opening and shutting, opening during the day and closing everything up at night.  (Leave the windows themselves closed, of course)  South-facing windows can gather a lot of solar heat.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2016, 07:23:56 PM by magicdomino »

dawnfire

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Re: Solar power, and your tips for conserving energy
« Reply #20 on: July 01, 2016, 07:48:03 PM »
you can have a film put on your windows that can reflect about 60% of the heat. there are companies that can put it on or you can do it yourself. Place these on all East and West windows.
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MOM21SON

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Re: Solar power, and your tips for conserving energy
« Reply #21 on: July 01, 2016, 09:54:39 PM »
I urge you to call your power company.  They came out to our house in Fla and sprayed insulation at no cost to us.

kherbert05

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Re: Solar power, and your tips for conserving energy
« Reply #22 on: July 01, 2016, 10:30:51 PM »
Arizona here. We do have solar panels and they are very useful. They are also rather pricey. We got some rebates from APS when installing them, which helped, but they were also mounted on the roof which meant there were holes in the roof. When the monsoon storms move in, anything bolted to the roof moves, which meant roof damage. I wouldn't do it again in this area.

Are you able to use a swamp cooler during certain parts of the year? They are worthless when the humidity is high or when its over 90 degrees, but very cost efficient. The added benefit is that you can use the outlet water to water your trees. Trees are sometimes a PITA, but really help to keep your home cool. I'm a big fan of fruitless mulberries. They only drop leaves once a year and then they do it all at once.

Curtains and blinds make a world of difference, as do outside window awnings. Anything you can do to keep the heat off your home will help.

Storm doors are not just for winter. They keep the heat out as well.

I am unfamiliar with swamp cookers, but based on your description I doubt that they would be useful in my area, where it is very hot and humid for much of the year.
Swamp coolers T/n Evaporation coolers. The street I grew up on the houses on the south side originally had swamp coolers the kind with huge water towers in the backyards. The northside had central air from the beginning. Most of the people on the south side of the road had switched to central air. Many of the families had gutted the machinery but turned the structure either into playhouses or sandboxes for the kids. One lady still was using the evap cooler when we moved in the 1990's. She only recently passed away (was almost 100 yo) I wonder if she ever switched to central air. I found this picture  but the ones my friends' families had were in better repair.
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crella

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Re: Solar power, and your tips for conserving energy
« Reply #23 on: July 01, 2016, 11:35:14 PM »
you can have a film put on your windows that can reflect about 60% of the heat. there are companies that can put it on or you can do it yourself. Place these on all East and West windows.

We put that on some of our windows, and it made a difference in our power bill.

The other thing I did was to make a floating foam bathtub lid. Here you fill the tub, everybody showers and gets clean and then just sits in the hot water.The gas heater maintains the water temp, so as long as it's doing that, you're using gas.  Our tub is round, foreign made, and so no lid was available for it domestically. I bought a foam picnic mat with foil underneath, cut it to fit the tub, and float it. Our gas bill went down $50 a month as the temp doesn't go down enough to trip the sensor to recirculate and reheat the bath water.

Dazi

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Re: Solar power, and your tips for conserving energy
« Reply #24 on: July 03, 2016, 03:48:13 PM »
I think I figured out why my DH is so hot during the day. He typically sleeps in much later than I do as he often works later.

I happened to sleep in yesterday morning (a rarity for me) and it turns out our bedroom starts getting blistering hot around 9-10 am, even with the thermal curtains. That room has a big window that is east facing. Since we never open the windows in that room because of where/how they are positioned, we opted to install 1/2'' styrofoam insulation sheets directly up against the windows, under the window treatments. The windows in that room are quite old, but we rent, so we needed a non-permanent solution (the rest of the windows are much newer).

So far:
1. The bedroom is at least 5 degrees cooler
2. The whole house is noticeably cooler. Even though I have the A/C set to 78, my DH hasn't complained he is hot or turned it down all afternoon (WIN!).
3. Our bedroom is blackout dark now!
4. I'm really hoping that the styrofoam will cancel out some noise from the nearby businesses
5. It was relatively cheap, a whopping $24.00 for two 4'x8' sheets. That was enough to cover 3 windows, with enough to possibly do a fourth.

I have two south facing windows that are newer, but are blocked from opening by furniture (one is an office and the other we use mostly for storage). I may give them the same treatment.
Meditate. Live purely. Quiet the mind. Do your work with mastery. Like the moon, come out from behind the clouds! Shine. ---Gautama Buddah