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Old 07-27-2022, 12:42 PM   #1
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Default How to SUBSTANTIALLY reduce electricity use?

I'm reposting this question from the closed thread because I think it was on topic and concerns the Lakes Region due to upcoming large rate increases.

Q: What are the biggest ways we can reduce our electricity consumption substantially? I don't think that eliminating trickle charges is going to make much of a difference if the bill doubles.

My biggest dilemmas are air conditioning and dehumidifiers. I work at home and have to have a cool environment. My house is very humid in the summer. The dehumidifiers (second floor and basement) use a lot of electricity.

One solution I'm considering is using only the ground floor of my house. That way I wouldn't have to use the AC upstairs at night. I could just continue cooling the downstairs, which must be more cost effective than cooling down the very hot second floor at bedtime.
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Old 07-27-2022, 12:47 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by SailinAway View Post
I'm reposting this question from the closed thread because I think it was on topic and concerns the Lakes Region due to upcoming large rate increases.

Q: What are the biggest ways we can reduce our electricity consumption substantially? I don't think that eliminating trickle charges is going to make much of a difference if the bill doubles.

My biggest dilemmas are air conditioning and dehumidifiers. I work at home and have to have a cool environment. My house is very humid in the summer. The dehumidifiers (second floor and basement) use a lot of electricity.

One solution I'm considering is using only the ground floor of my house. That way I wouldn't have to use the AC upstairs at night. I could just continue cooling the downstairs, which must be more cost effective than cooling down the very hot second floor at bedtime.
Have you had an energy audit completed? I would absolutely suggest that, if not. Though you might not jump in to big projects, they'll give you an overall assessment of your home's energy use and ways to reduce it.

My second thought, in terms of the coolness, might be an attic fan—those are inexpensive to install and surprisingly effective and efficient.

Finally, have you thought about downsizing? You've posted a lot about repairs and needing to shave costs and all these extra floors/rooms that I can't help but ask.

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Old 07-27-2022, 01:01 PM   #3
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Default My suggestions...

1. Change ALL of your lightbulbs to LED... they even make LED replacements for the halogen bulbs in track lighting...

2. Get yourself a smart thermostat... I use a NEST and it has a great ECO mode for running the AC.

3. Get rid of all the small vampires you can... any small charger is almost always using some electricity. I have my phone/watch charger on a power strip that I turn on/off as needed. Same for my laptop.

They make wifi enabled AC units & dehumidifiers.... that will help save $$ too.


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Old 07-27-2022, 01:08 PM   #4
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There are a few key components in any household that should be examined...

1. How old is your refrigerator and how well does it seal, when closed....
2. If you have an electric dryer, how old is it...

when shopping for new appliances look at energy star ratings.

Now look at the little things:
- Replacing Light bulbs wiht LEDs
- make sure computer monitors are shut off when not in use
- ensure lights are not being left on...

There are lots of things that have been done... Over the years I have fiddled with many ideas..... the 2 key components I list above are really the two main hitters, that cost people....
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Old 07-27-2022, 02:48 PM   #5
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Default This is a golden oldie from Mom, circa 1950

This one is so basic that you’re going to laugh……weather permitting, use the cooler morning fresh air to cool your house by opening doors and windows, then close everything up, and let your shades, blinds, other windows/ door coverings work for you, keeping out the direct rays of the sun. We did this decades ago, pre AC, and it’s an easy fix. Our air conditioning has been on only a few times when the heat has been extreme, as in last week. BTW, it’s not like living in a cave either…you adjust to suit.
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Old 07-27-2022, 06:03 PM   #6
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This one is so basic that you’re going to laugh……weather permitting, use the cooler morning fresh air to cool your house by opening doors and windows, then close everything up, and let your shades, blinds, other windows/ door coverings work for you, keeping out the direct rays of the sun. We did this decades ago, pre AC, and it’s an easy fix. Our air conditioning has been on only a few times when the heat has been extreme, as in last week. BTW, it’s not like living in a cave either…you adjust to suit.
My parents also used that system in the 1950s and 60s. BUT: It always got cool at night back then, and there was nowhere near the humidity we have now. Now, there is often no "cool, fresh morning air" and opening the windows in the morning will only bring warmer, more humid air into the house.
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Old 07-27-2022, 03:00 PM   #7
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I agree with the energy audit as it should give an indication of most bang for the buck on various options, and which items you can do yourself.

How do you heat water? Electric? Get a timer. Cheap and effective.
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Old 07-27-2022, 04:29 PM   #8
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Am I the only one on the planet without A/C in the home?
A squirrel cage floor fan in the great room and a fan over our bed keeps us comfy on the hottest days and nights.
If it's 90 as we pass through Meredith, it will usually be 85 when we reach home.Always cooler by the lake
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Old 07-27-2022, 05:01 PM   #9
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Am I the only one on the planet without A/C in the home?
A squirrel cage floor fan in the great room and a fan over our bed keeps us comfy on the hottest days and nights.
If it's 90 as we pass through Meredith, it will usually be 85 when we reach home.Always cooler by the lake
You're in good company. Overhead fan in LR blows down in summer and up in winter with the wood stove burning. Porch off the bedroom has an overhead fan. Slider open at night with an oscillating fan in the door opening.

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Old 07-27-2022, 05:22 PM   #10
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Following up on 8gv--the same mini splits can also provide very inexpensive heat in the winter. Your electric bill will go up, but your gas or oil bill will fall by significantly more. Mitsubishi is the best brand, you may remember a thread or two on this topic
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Old 07-27-2022, 05:36 PM   #11
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Following up on 8gv--the same mini splits can also provide very inexpensive heat in the winter. Your electric bill will go up, but your gas or oil bill will fall by significantly more. Mitsubishi is the best brand, you may remember a thread or two on this topic
If someone had central air with an air handler in the attic and outdoor condenser, would they just have to swap the outdoor condenser with a heat pump to get heat out of the central air system?

Would that be electric efficient if the alternative was baseboard?

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Old 07-27-2022, 06:01 PM   #12
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If someone had central air with an air handler in the attic and outdoor condenser, would they just have to swap the outdoor condenser with a heat pump to get heat out of the central air system?

Would that be electric efficient if the alternative was baseboard?

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Yes, this is possible. I did it long ago at a previous house. It was not as efficient as mini splits, but it had a pretty good ROI, at least compared to a new AC without the heat pump. At the time, heat pumps were not effective in cold weather, so the heat pumps heated the house on days that were in the 30s or better, and then the oil furnace kicked on below that.

I don't know how the numbers would work out today.
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Old 07-27-2022, 06:00 PM   #13
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Default Agreed!

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Following up on 8gv--the same mini splits can also provide very inexpensive heat in the winter. Your electric bill will go up, but your gas or oil bill will fall by significantly more. Mitsubishi is the best brand, you may remember a thread or two on this topic
I fully agree with you! I had a new garage / workshop built with mother in law apartment above. Decided to use Mitsubishi Hyper Heat unit installed as my primary for heating and air conditioning. Couldn’t be happier and just crazy efficient to run. Had no problem throwing heat even during the coldest days this past winter!

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Old 07-27-2022, 04:36 PM   #14
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If you have window a/c units replace them with mini splits.

If you have the type of a/c units that roll on the floor and have a large diameter hose going out the window, replace them with regular window units or better yet, mini splits.

Why are the floor units bad you ask?

The hose that blows all the hot air out the window is the reason why.

Background:

For the purpose of this explanation, think of a "coil" as something much like your car's radiator.

An a/c system requires an evaporator coil and a condenser coil.

The evaporator coil, which is inside the house, has a fan that blows room air across it.

The evaporator coil extracts heat from the air and sends it, via refrigerant, to the condenser coil.

The condenser has a fan that blows air over it releasing the heat that came from the evaporator located inside the house.

In a mini split, traditional central air conditioning and even window units, the condenser is outside.

That means that outside air is used to extract the heat from the condenser.

So here is how the floor unit with the big hose works:

The evaporator and condenser are both in the unit.

Each has a fan.

The evaporator fan blows air from the room over the evaporator coil and gives you nice cool air out of the front of the unit.

The condenser fan blows ROOM AIR over the condenser coil extracting the heat and sending it out the window via the big hose.

If you were to put your hand over that hose outside you would feel a whole lot of air moving!

But where did that air come from?

It was drawn into your house through any gaps around the doors, windows, cellar or worst of all... your vey hot attic!

So really all the floor unit does is make the room it's in cooler at the expense of the rest of the house getting warmer.

As long as it's running, warm air is migrating across the house into the room that you intend to cool.

It needs to run a lot!
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Old 07-28-2022, 08:55 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 8gv View Post
If you have window a/c units replace them with mini splits.

If you have the type of a/c units that roll on the floor and have a large diameter hose going out the window, replace them with regular window units or better yet, mini splits.

Why are the floor units bad you ask?

The hose that blows all the hot air out the window is the reason why.

Background:

For the purpose of this explanation, think of a "coil" as something much like your car's radiator.

An a/c system requires an evaporator coil and a condenser coil.

The evaporator coil, which is inside the house, has a fan that blows room air across it.

The evaporator coil extracts heat from the air and sends it, via refrigerant, to the condenser coil.

The condenser has a fan that blows air over it releasing the heat that came from the evaporator located inside the house.

In a mini split, traditional central air conditioning and even window units, the condenser is outside.

That means that outside air is used to extract the heat from the condenser.

So here is how the floor unit with the big hose works:

The evaporator and condenser are both in the unit.

Each has a fan.

The evaporator fan blows air from the room over the evaporator coil and gives you nice cool air out of the front of the unit.

The condenser fan blows ROOM AIR over the condenser coil extracting the heat and sending it out the window via the big hose.

If you were to put your hand over that hose outside you would feel a whole lot of air moving!

But where did that air come from?

It was drawn into your house through any gaps around the doors, windows, cellar or worst of all... your vey hot attic!

So really all the floor unit does is make the room it's in cooler at the expense of the rest of the house getting warmer.

As long as it's running, warm air is migrating across the house into the room that you intend to cool.

It needs to run a lot!
There are 2 types of floor units, single hose and double hose. Avoid single hose, as you say they just don't work well or efficiently. But double hose units bring in outside air in one hose, exhaust hot damp air in the other hose, so they aren't pulling air from your home and exhausting it.

I'm not saying they are as efficient as a good quality window unit, but they aren't awful.
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Old 07-28-2022, 09:03 PM   #16
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The floor models serve a different purpose.

Window units and mini-splits are stationary. Floor models were designed so that you could condition just the room you were in and move with you to another room.
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Old 07-28-2022, 09:14 PM   #17
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The floor models serve a different purpose.

Window units and mini-splits are stationary. Floor models were designed so that you could condition just the room you were in and move with you to another room.
Also a very easy install and removal. We've used them quite a bit in multiple locations.
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Old 10-01-2022, 05:23 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 8gv View Post
If you have window a/c units replace them with mini splits.

If you have the type of a/c units that roll on the floor and have a large diameter hose going out the window, replace them with regular window units or better yet, mini splits.

Why are the floor units bad you ask?

The hose that blows all the hot air out the window is the reason why.
I have the floor combination a/c heater with two large-diameter hoses going out the window. This eliminates hot air sucking into the home. They are great but hard to find. Common in Europe.
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Old 07-27-2022, 05:01 PM   #19
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An energy audit is a great idea. If you can't arrange that...

There's a doodad called Kill-A-Watt that you can plug in between something and the wall outlet. It will tell you how much electricity that thing is using. Useful for figuring out what things are costing you, and what things aren't.

Some libraries have these available if you don't want to buy one.
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Old 07-27-2022, 02:38 PM   #20
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Have you had an energy audit completed? I would absolutely suggest that, if not. Though you might not jump in to big projects, they'll give you an overall assessment of your home's energy use and ways to reduce it.

My second thought, in terms of the coolness, might be an attic fan—those are inexpensive to install and surprisingly effective and efficient.

Finally, have you thought about downsizing? You've posted a lot about repairs and needing to shave costs and all these extra floors/rooms that I can't help but ask.

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Had a 'whole-house' fan in a previous home in the attic, and it's amazing how much hot air it will suck out of the house. This will definitely help and at a low cost.
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Old 07-27-2022, 05:56 PM   #21
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Have you had an energy audit completed? I would absolutely suggest that, if not. Though you might not jump in to big projects, they'll give you an overall assessment of your home's energy use and ways to reduce it. My second thought, in terms of the coolness, might be an attic fan—those are inexpensive to install and surprisingly effective and efficient. Finally, have you thought about downsizing? You've posted a lot about repairs and needing to shave costs and all these extra floors/rooms that I can't help but ask.
Yes, I had an energy audit about 20 years ago, for heating rather than cooling. At that time, upon advice I had the insulation in the attic replaced and cracks sealed throughout the house. It was blown-in insulation. Honestly, the upstairs and attic got a lot hotter and more humid after that. For a later renovation I had the blown-in insulation in half of the attic replaced with foam panels for a cathedral ceiling (yes, used proper ventilation strips). When I got the roof replaced last year I had ridge vents installed the whole length of the roof. An attic fan is worth investigating, thanks.

Have I thought about downsizing? HA! Constantly. I want to own an energy-efficient house around 850 sq ft. Something like this: https://www.architecturaldesigns.com...e-plan-68574vr

Or: https://www.houseplans.com/plan/600-...-0-garage-4836

I've searched all over central New Hampshire and Maine and concluded that there are no newish small houses on the market. A modular house would be good.
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Old 07-27-2022, 06:19 PM   #22
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Yes, I had an energy audit about 20 years ago, for heating rather than cooling. At that time, upon advice I had the insulation in the attic replaced and cracks sealed throughout the house. It was blown-in insulation. Honestly, the upstairs and attic got a lot hotter and more humid after that. For a later renovation I had the blown-in insulation in half of the attic replaced with foam panels for a cathedral ceiling (yes, used proper ventilation strips). When I got the roof replaced last year I had ridge vents installed the whole length of the roof. An attic fan is worth investigating, thanks.

Have I thought about downsizing? HA! Constantly. I want to own an energy-efficient house around 850 sq ft. Something like this: https://www.architecturaldesigns.com...e-plan-68574vr

Or: https://www.houseplans.com/plan/600-...-0-garage-4836

I've searched all over central New Hampshire and Maine and concluded that there are no newish small houses on the market. A modular house would be good.
As the current owner of a modular that we built (knocked down the house on our property and rebuild on the same spot) , I can say when done right,,, they are outstanding and much better than what I saw local builders constructing in my area. The price was better, the quality control was better, the delivery schedule was better and we were able to design and build EXACTLY what we wanted and for far less than local builders were charging.

I was even able to dictate the materials that were used, as I wanted ZERO OSB used in my home and the local builders all said no, they chose the materials, the modular builder simply quoted me the additional cost and was happy to comply!

Compared the old 1970's house we tore down, the heating and cooling costs were immediately 1/2 and for a house that was double in size.

So for whatever all that is worth, my modular experience using APEX was great.

From a stock plan, I probably made 20+ changes to the design, moving walls, adding windows, custom features like pocket doors, and the list goes on and on and I paid not one penny for an architect, the cost to modify the floor plan/design was included.

Total cost per Sq/Ft was at the time was like $80 lower than a stick builder.

They are worth a look, but its not for everyone, its a whole lot more complex than just buying a house. But for those able to do it, there are big rewards at the end of the project!

https://www.apexhomesofpa.com/

Best of luck!

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Old 07-27-2022, 06:42 PM   #23
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I knew it was going to be an issue in the spring of 2016 when we started to ship significant amounts of LNG, so I made most of the major changes.

I average about 247 kWh per month... summer and winter are a bit higher... but fall and spring tend to be lower.
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Old 07-27-2022, 06:51 PM   #24
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Yes, I had an energy audit about 20 years ago, for heating rather than cooling. At that time, upon advice I had the insulation in the attic replaced and cracks sealed throughout the house. It was blown-in insulation. Honestly, the upstairs and attic got a lot hotter and more humid after that. For a later renovation I had the blown-in insulation in half of the attic replaced with foam panels for a cathedral ceiling (yes, used proper ventilation strips). When I got the roof replaced last year I had ridge vents installed the whole length of the roof. An attic fan is worth investigating, thanks.

Have I thought about downsizing? HA! Constantly. I want to own an energy-efficient house around 850 sq ft. Something like this: https://www.architecturaldesigns.com...e-plan-68574vr

Or: https://www.houseplans.com/plan/600-...-0-garage-4836

I've searched all over central New Hampshire and Maine and concluded that there are no newish small houses on the market. A modular house would be good.
20 years is a long time—I'd start with a new audit.

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Old 07-27-2022, 06:54 PM   #25
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You could be right.
Well ventilated attics shouldn't need fans - which would use electricity to operate - they should draw air from either the eave vents up and out the ridge vent... or seek humidity/temp balance with the outside through the gable vents.
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Old 07-28-2022, 06:10 PM   #26
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John, last year we were talking about the relationship (in terms of air flow) between ridge vents, gable vents, and soffit vents. I can't remember what was said. Do you recall this conversation?
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Old 07-28-2022, 08:50 PM   #27
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Yes.
Sometimes people mix the formats together and it actually diminishes the airflow.

Gable Vents in general tend to create draw from soffit vents and throw off the action of the ridge vent.
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Old 07-29-2022, 05:53 AM   #28
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Yes.
Sometimes people mix the formats together and it actually diminishes the airflow.

Gable Vents in general tend to create draw from soffit vents and throw off the action of the ridge vent.
So what's the best way to ventilate given that I have all three? Close off the gable vents?
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Old 07-29-2022, 06:51 AM   #29
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Nothing a boat load of money can't fix...
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Old 07-29-2022, 08:08 AM   #30
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So what's the best way to ventilate given that I have all three? Close off the gable vents?
If all three lead to the same space...
It may be worth trying to close the gable vents off...
But you would need to monitor temperature and humidity for a time to determine that the soffit-ridge combination is working as designed.

If the temp or humidity rises, then something isn't right.
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Old 07-29-2022, 10:47 AM   #31
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I agree with John.

I have a temperature activated exhaust fan at one end of the attic, exhausting out the gable vent. Air is pulled in from the other gable end, you can feel the flow when the fan is running. I'm sure some air comes in the soffit vents as well, which is a good thing, you simply want that hot moist air replaced with not-quite-so-hot air. I really like the fan system, though per this thread that's one more electrical device. I can't see why having all your vents open is a bad thing unless air doesn't vacate one area or another due to short circuiting of flow.
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Old 07-29-2022, 05:38 PM   #32
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As far as attic ventilation vents go, gable end vents by themselves generally don't do what the homeowner expects. Air exchange through such vents is minimal. The best arrangement is with a ridge vent and either continuous soffit ventilation or at least vents in each soffit bay. With both ridge and soffit vents, it is generally advised to close off any gable end vents, as they interfere with draw of air in the soffit vents.

On the subject of powered attic ventilation fans, this is a good read:
https://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com...tic-ventilator. In general, it isn't a good idea, and it's the wrong way to address a problem.
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Old 07-29-2022, 07:59 PM   #33
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On the subject of powered attic ventilation fans, this is a good read:
https://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com...tic-ventilator. In general, it isn't a good idea, and it's the wrong way to address a problem.
Very interesting article. The comments are interesting as well---they show a lot of disagreement about results of attic fans. One interesting comment was that a hot attic isn't necessarily as bad as we think it is.
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Old 07-29-2022, 08:10 PM   #34
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It is the mixture of heat/humidity relative to the ambient air outside the attic.

If the heat/humidity in the attic is much higher than the ambient, the venting system is not functioning properly.
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Old 07-30-2022, 10:33 AM   #35
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It is the mixture of heat/humidity relative to the ambient air outside the attic.

If the heat/humidity in the attic is much higher than the ambient, the venting system is not functioning properly.
For humidity to be higher in the attic than outside most of the time, there must be a source of moisture from within that is migrating into the attic. This could be from interior moisture-producing activity (eg. showers, cooking, aquarium, laundry). It also could be from a damp basement, with air leakage migrating up to the attic through wiring penetrations in the walls and even open passages, such as around chimneys. The source of the moisture must be found and dealt with properly; attic ventilation is just the band-aid, not the solution for a humid attic.

As to attic temperature being much higher than ambient, "much" is relative. With the sun shining on the roof, the attic certainly will be substantially hotter than outside air. With proper soffit and ridge ventilation, it's the air density difference due to the temperature difference that drives ventilation air flow. Using a powered fan to ventilate a hot attic will reduce attic temperature somewhat, but that's a wasteful, less-effective, and sometimes counter-productive way to address the discomfort issue.

Besides the direct conduction of heat through an inadequately insulated attic floor, a hot attic also enhances the "stack effect" (like the draft up a chimney produced by hot combustion gases). Without good air sealing between attic and the living space, a hot attic draws some of the air flowing out the ridge vent from the living space below, and that increases leakage of hot/humid air from outside into the living space. That, in turn, produces discomfort and increases load on an AC system. Stack effect air leakage also produces discomfort in the way of cold drafty areas, or at least higher heating bills, in winter.

A good energy audit, by someone competent, is a good first start for an existing house. A blower door test with IR photography can locate sources of air leakage and even rain leaks in the roof or around windows. That's a good starting point for a thorough air sealing project, much of which can be done by the homeowner. It's the "low-hanging fruit." For a new house, it's much better to make the house well insulated, much better than "to code," and very tight, with mechanical ventilation for controllable interior air quality. Not doing so for a new house is a wasted opportunity.
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Old 07-30-2022, 10:12 PM   #36
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Much higher to me would be due to reduce air flow.
The much higher temperature creating the drafting effect...
But registering a much higher temperature over a long period of time... including early morning hours... should be a red flag that the draft is not working.

A higher than ambient humidity level over the long period also can be a red flag that the draft is not working.
It can be caused by other items, but an attic fan would not be the first plan of attack... more of a band-aid covering up a bigger problem.

But one item at a time needs to be addressed. If the draft is working correctly... then she can turn her attention to reducing humidity transmission from below - hence my focus on gutters. Charging unsealed foundation walls with wet soil is going to increase humidity in the interior.

It is a process... but one item at a time needs to be addressed.
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Old 07-31-2022, 09:42 AM   #37
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Charging unsealed foundation walls with wet soil is going to increase humidity in the interior.
Very helpful point, John. It explains the extreme humidity in my basement at times. I have spoken to my handyman about restoring the gutters.
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Old 08-06-2022, 05:55 AM   #38
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Update: after 4 days away, we came back and, set at 60% humidity, the basement smelled a tad musty. I've moved it to 50, so we'll see what happens there. Maybe the sensor isn't so inaccurate after all.

We had turned the AC up to 85, which actually wasn't terrible in the house since the humidity had still been removed. It did take a while to cool down to 75, though, so I'm wondering how long it has to be set at 85 to save money when "catching up" on our return home. I have to think having it set at 85 for the days it was 95+ saved us a few bucks.

I've got the AC set to 74 right now—we tried 75, but that was just a tad warm. 72 was cool enough to need blankets, so I'm thinking 74 will be fine and save us some moolah.

I wish I could have tested the water heater temp when we returned (after putting it on vacation mode). The tank, 50 gallons, is in a well-insulated closet, so I don't think there's much standby loss at all. I did turn on "energy saver" mode, though, which is supposed to tailor itself to our water use habits.

The last thing I've been thinking about is the dryer and cooking. We can easily do more grilling and use smaller burners when cooking, but I don't see much of an alternative to drying clothes—given its location, it would be a pain to hang outside and hanging inside would increase humidity that the dehumidifier would have to pull out...though now that I think about it, my washer has an extra spin mode that might help. It's a Speed Queen, which is so powerful it'll spin those things almost dry on its own. To the basement!

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Old 08-06-2022, 07:58 AM   #39
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Update: after 4 days away, we came back and, set at 60% humidity, the basement smelled a tad musty. I've moved it to 50, so we'll see what happens there. Maybe the sensor isn't so inaccurate after all.

We had turned the AC up to 85, which actually wasn't terrible in the house since the humidity had still been removed. It did take a while to cool down to 75, though, so I'm wondering how long it has to be set at 85 to save money when "catching up" on our return home. I have to think having it set at 85 for the days it was 95+ saved us a few bucks.

I've got the AC set to 74 right now—we tried 75, but that was just a tad warm. 72 was cool enough to need blankets, so I'm thinking 74 will be fine and save us some moolah.

I wish I could have tested the water heater temp when we returned (after putting it on vacation mode). The tank, 50 gallons, is in a well-insulated closet, so I don't think there's much standby loss at all. I did turn on "energy saver" mode, though, which is supposed to tailor itself to our water use habits.

The last thing I've been thinking about is the dryer and cooking. We can easily do more grilling and use smaller burners when cooking, but I don't see much of an alternative to drying clothes—given its location, it would be a pain to hang outside and hanging inside would increase humidity that the dehumidifier would have to pull out...though now that I think about it, my washer has an extra spin mode that might help. It's a Speed Queen, which is so powerful it'll spin those things almost dry on its own. To the basement!

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If it's just the humidity while you're away, maybe a dehumidifer would be more effective and cheaper to operate? We have this one pumping into a sink, works incredibly well

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 08-06-2022, 08:15 AM   #40
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If it's just the humidity while you're away, maybe a dehumidifer would be more effective and cheaper to operate?
Bearing in mind that a dehumidifier used in the living space will add heat. My 6000 BTU AC uses .6 kWh per hour and the dehumidifier uses .4. I don't know if there is an increased risk of overheating and fire with a dehumidifier that runs all the time versus the cycling of an air conditioner. I'm never comfortable leaving things on when I'm traveling. I'd rather be safe than save a few dollars.
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Old 08-06-2022, 02:45 PM   #41
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Bearing in mind that a dehumidifier used in the living space will add heat. ... and the dehumidifier uses .4....
To that 0.4 KWH/hr of electric input turned into heat by the dehumidifier, add about 0.3 KWH for every pint of water ("a pint's a pound, the world around") condensed by the unit.
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Old 08-06-2022, 08:08 AM   #42
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Think, sorry you've fallen on hard times and have to count pennies like this. ;-(

An alternative for the dryer is to dry your clothes outdoors until they're almost dry and finish them in the dryer for 10 minutes. That will soften them and take out the wrinkles. It's definitely labor intensive. In the winter you can do the same but indoors, which will add needed humidity but be labor intensive and not improve your interior decoration.

For the AC, why blankets? Use a sheet and a fan and turn up the AC a few more degrees.

Don't forget to recycle the water from the dehumidifier while you're on this conservation kick. My basement is very humid and I'm finding it does not need to be dehumidified every day. Maybe once or twice a week. Open the basement door on the rare dry day.
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Old 08-06-2022, 08:31 AM   #43
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Think, sorry you've fallen on hard times and have to count pennies like this. ;-(

An alternative for the dryer is to dry your clothes outdoors until they're almost dry and finish them in the dryer for 10 minutes. That will soften them and take out the wrinkles. It's definitely labor intensive. In the winter you can do the same but indoors, which will add needed humidity but be labor intensive and not improve your interior decoration.

For the AC, why blankets? Use a sheet and a fan and turn up the AC a few more degrees.

Don't forget to recycle the water from the dehumidifier while you're on this conservation kick. My basement is very humid and I'm finding it does not need to be dehumidified every day. Maybe once or twice a week. Open the basement door on the rare dry day.
Hahahaha! Absolutely not hard times, but definitely my selectively cheap side (as I mentioned in our PMs).

I've got a tight financial plan—the only way to afford camp, toys, etc. on teachers' salaries—so this is just finding ways to mitigate the increase in electric costs.

Talking to a solar guy Tuesday and heating guy soon...

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Old 08-06-2022, 09:05 AM   #44
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Default NHEC feature

NHEC has this monitoring feature on their Smarthub app. You can monitor your usage daily.

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Old 08-06-2022, 09:48 AM   #45
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NHEC has this monitoring feature on their Smarthub app. You can monitor your usage daily.

Dave
That's very cool, but I have Eversource at my main home and I think they only read that once a month.

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Old 08-06-2022, 11:20 AM   #46
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That's very cool, but I have Eversource at my main home and I think they only read that once a month.

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Thinkxingu, go to your particular app store and download the SmartHub app. The icon is green with a circle of white little squares and a white circle with the word Hub in the center.

It will ask you who your provider is and for your account number. NHEC changed over to hi-tech meters. My meter is "read" monthly, but I can see the usage daily, weekly, current period, even over the last year.

You've got nothing invested but a little bit of your time. Eversource may very well be part of the SmartHub program. If it is, you'll be able to easily monitor the usage. Best part of the whole app is you can select being notified in the event of a power outage by text message.

Hope you will be able to do it.

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Old 08-06-2022, 12:27 PM   #47
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Thinkxingu, go to your particular app store and download the SmartHub app. The icon is green with a circle of white little squares and a white circle with the word Hub in the center.

It will ask you who your provider is and for your account number. NHEC changed over to hi-tech meters. My meter is "read" monthly, but I can see the usage daily, weekly, current period, even over the last year.

You've got nothing invested but a little bit of your time. Eversource may very well be part of the SmartHub program. If it is, you'll be able to easily monitor the usage. Best part of the whole app is you can select being notified in the event of a power outage by text message.

Hope you will be able to do it.

Dave
I just checked and, unfortunately, Eversource is not included. Thanks for the tip, though!

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Old 08-06-2022, 01:32 PM   #48
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Default FREE Hot Water

Years ago my father in law had a cabin on a lake in Maine and routinely had free hot water May 15th thru October 15th.

How? He had about 1,000 feet of hose in his attic and used that as his source of hot water every season. Seemed to work very well for him as that attic hose would heat the water very well during those sunny days. Rarely ever ran out of it......

Now if you had a week of cold rainy days then it definitely wouldn't work as well.
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Old 08-06-2022, 01:39 PM   #49
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I just checked and, unfortunately, Eversource is not included. Thanks for the tip, though!

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Sorry it won't work for you. Hopefully those with NHEC that are interested in monitoring will give it a try.

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Old 08-06-2022, 02:55 PM   #50
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...The last thing I've been thinking about is the dryer...but I don't see much of an alternative to drying clothes...
Our house is heated in the winter, cooled in summer by the heat pump. The heat pump of course uses electric power to run, so you'd think that the highest months of power use would be in winter. Most of the time that is true. While the house is superinsulated and loses heat very slowly in winter, it also gains heat slowly on those hot days of summer. The calculated worst case AC load, for continuous 95 F and 74 F dewpoint outside air, is less than one ton. Yet the worst power bill ever was for one month in mid-summer, when it peaked around 300 KWH over the highest winter month. Why? Family members were here then, and it seemed we were forever doing loads of beach towels, and the electric dryer was the reason for the huge power use.

Bottom line regarding dryer use - don't buy thick, beach blanket-sized towels for waterfront use. Kids can survive very well with thinner, smaller towels. The "higher authority" in the family may argue otherwise.
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Old 08-06-2022, 04:46 PM   #51
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Our house is heated in the winter, cooled in summer by the heat pump. The heat pump of course uses electric power to run, so you'd think that the highest months of power use would be in winter. Most of the time that is true. While the house is superinsulated and loses heat very slowly in winter, it also gains heat slowly on those hot days of summer. The calculated worst case AC load, for continuous 95 F and 74 F dewpoint outside air, is less than one ton. Yet the worst power bill ever was for one month in mid-summer, when it peaked around 300 KWH over the highest winter month. Why? Family members were here then, and it seemed we were forever doing loads of beach towels, and the electric dryer was the reason for the huge power use.

Bottom line regarding dryer use - don't buy thick, beach blanket-sized towels for waterfront use. Kids can survive very well with thinner, smaller towels. The "higher authority" in the family may argue otherwise.
None of you ever heard of a clothesline to dry wash loads? Kids get one towel for the weekend and when they're not using it. it goes on the porch rail or the clothes line. We always had a clothesline in the basement for rainy days, winter. Once in awhile, the dryer was used for a few minutes to fluff stuff. My grandfather built a washing machine ca. 1920 with a treadmill powered by the family dog. No electricity used. We also had wire frames to hold trousers while they dried, putting in a crease, and no need to use an electric iron.

Last edited by Descant; 08-06-2022 at 04:51 PM. Reason: added last sentence, fixed typos.
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Old 08-07-2022, 01:55 AM   #52
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Update: after 4 days away, we came back and, set at 60% humidity, the basement smelled a tad musty. I've moved it to 50, so we'll see what happens there. Maybe the sensor isn't so inaccurate after all.

We had turned the AC up to 85, which actually wasn't terrible in the house since the humidity had still been removed. It did take a while to cool down to 75, though, so I'm wondering how long it has to be set at 85 to save money when "catching up" on our return home. I have to think having it set at 85 for the days it was 95+ saved us a few bucks.

I've got the AC set to 74 right now—we tried 75, but that was just a tad warm. 72 was cool enough to need blankets, so I'm thinking 74 will be fine and save us some moolah.

I wish I could have tested the water heater temp when we returned (after putting it on vacation mode). The tank, 50 gallons, is in a well-insulated closet, so I don't think there's much standby loss at all. I did turn on "energy saver" mode, though, which is supposed to tailor itself to our water use habits.

The last thing I've been thinking about is the dryer and cooking. We can easily do more grilling and use smaller burners when cooking, but I don't see much of an alternative to drying clothes—given its location, it would be a pain to hang outside and hanging inside would increase humidity that the dehumidifier would have to pull out...though now that I think about it, my washer has an extra spin mode that might help. It's a Speed Queen, which is so powerful it'll spin those things almost dry on its own. To the basement!

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Damp Rid placed around the house will lessen the humidity problem.

The calculation on the AC isn't straight forward without knowing the factor of air exchanges your home has every hour.
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Old 09-23-2022, 10:53 AM   #53
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Default Update: reduced my electricity use by 67%!

I just got my Eversource bill. Compared to September last year, I've reduced my electricity usage by 67%! The bill was $76 for 199 kWh. The August bill was $134 for 454 kWh. This is before I switched to Direct Energy as my cheaper supplier, which should be reflected in my next bill.

In August I (like many Americans and especially here in New Hampshire) suddenly became aware of the full meaning of inflation and I brainstormed and studied all the ways I could find to reduce expenses with electricity, telephone, internet, gasoline, heat, water, and home maintenance. I calculated the kWh of each electrical appliance in my home. I tracked my money-saving actions each day, which added up to 48 actions in one month. A sample:
  1. Turned off the 53-gallon family-sized water heater
  2. Lowered phone and internet bill from $1500 a year to $627 by dropping the Consolidated Communications landline, signing up for two years of unlimited Tracfone for $199 a year, and talking Consolidated into giving me their new-customer rate of $36 a month including fees for internet-only service
  3. Reduced use of air conditioning and dehumidifier sunstantially
  4. Changed lightbulbs to LED
  5. Recycled water from the dehumidifier
  6. Collected rainwater from the roof
  7. Negotiated a discount of about $300 for car tires
  8. Obtained wood from my property
  9. Used Gas Buddy to find cheapest gas in the area
  10. Eliminated some trickle charges
  11. Bought a new electric lawnmower, snowblower, and other yard gadgets (brush blade for the string trimmer) so I am no longer dependent on expensive and unreliable workers
  12. Dry the laundry outdoors and put in it the dryer for 10 minutes to get the wrinkles out

I still have quite a few things left to do, like finding the best way to get hot water for the shower, changing my Medicare advantage plan, and finding someone to split a recalcitrant maple tree.

I realized that I was living as if I had unlimited cheap resources, with no real mindfulness about how much I was using, even though I'm normally frugal. That's not wise environmentally or financially. Simply becoming more aware of what I'm using and how much it costs has made a big difference in my expenses.

Utility companies make if so difficult to reduce costs that probably most of us can't face the amount of time it takes to do the research and negotiate with the companies. By the way, thanks a million to Thinkxingu for doing the research on energy suppliers and sending me to Direct Energy. It sure feels good to be depriving Eversource and Consolidated of their exorbitant increases.
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Old 09-23-2022, 11:08 AM   #54
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I just got my Eversource bill. Compared to September last year, I've reduced my electricity usage by 67%! The bill was $76 for 199 kWh. The August bill was $134 for 454 kWh. This is before I switched to Direct Energy as my cheaper supplier, which should be reflected in my next bill.

In August I (like many Americans and especially here in New Hampshire) suddenly became aware of the full meaning of inflation and I brainstormed and studied all the ways I could find to reduce expenses with electricity, telephone, internet, gasoline, heat, water, and home maintenance. I calculated the kWh of each electrical appliance in my home. I tracked my money-saving actions each day, which added up to 48 actions in one month. A sample:
  1. Turned off the 53-gallon family-sized water heater
  2. Lowered phone and internet bill from $1500 a year to $627 by dropping the Consolidated Communications landline, signing up for two years of unlimited Tracfone for $199 a year, and talking Consolidated into giving me their new-customer rate of $36 a month including fees for internet-only service
  3. Reduced use of air conditioning and dehumidifier sunstantially
  4. Changed lightbulbs to LED
  5. Recycled water from the dehumidifier
  6. Collected rainwater from the roof
  7. Negotiated a discount of about $300 for car tires
  8. Obtained wood from my property
  9. Used Gas Buddy to find cheapest gas in the area
  10. Eliminated some trickle charges
  11. Bought a new electric lawnmower, snowblower, and other yard gadgets (brush blade for the string trimmer) so I am no longer dependent on expensive and unreliable workers
  12. Dry the laundry outdoors and put in it the dryer for 10 minutes to get the wrinkles out

I still have quite a few things left to do, like finding the best way to get hot water for the shower, changing my Medicare advantage plan, and finding someone to split a recalcitrant maple tree.

I realized that I was living as if I had unlimited cheap resources, with no real mindfulness about how much I was using, even though I'm normally frugal. That's not wise environmentally or financially. Simply becoming more aware of what I'm using and how much it costs has made a big difference in my expenses.

Utility companies make if so difficult to reduce costs that probably most of us can't face the amount of time it takes to do the research and negotiate with the companies. By the way, thanks a million to Thinkxingu for doing the research on energy suppliers and sending me to Direct Energy. It sure feels good to be depriving Eversource and Consolidated of their exorbitant increases.
One more thing....Think very carefully about how you vote in November.
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Old 09-23-2022, 11:26 AM   #55
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One more thing....Think very carefully about how you vote in November.
Well said


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Old 09-23-2022, 12:01 PM   #56
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Why?
Are certain candidates in a position of authority going to go to price caps?

If not, CAPITALISM rules supreme.
We make more money in Europe on Natural Gas... so it isn't going to get cheaper here.
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Old 09-23-2022, 12:24 PM   #57
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Why? Are you serious?
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Old 09-23-2022, 01:06 PM   #58
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Default Why???

I was just thinking the same thing……we must be on different planets! Why, indeed.
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Old 09-23-2022, 01:35 PM   #59
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Why? Are you serious?
Quite serious.

We are sending more LNG to Europe from a 2018 EO... so natural gas prices are up for electricity... not to mention the local infrastructure was not designed for the higher level of demand from all the new building in the State.

We went from 13M b/d of refining capacity to 12M b/d between 2016 and 2020... that isn't coming back and more refiners are scheduled to close because investors consider prices to be too low.

So all that leaves is coal, that has to be brought in by rail... not a federal issue... and I haven't seen a lot of interest at the local level to redevelop the rail lines for year round freight use.

The secret... learn to be an actual conservative and conserve.

Those of us that do... we don't even feel any of the present pain that the rest of you seem to be moaning about.
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Old 09-23-2022, 01:54 PM   #60
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One more thing....Think very carefully about how you vote in November.
This is a serious thread for people who are struggling to afford the basics. Please don't hijack it to make a political statement.
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Old 09-23-2022, 02:21 PM   #61
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This is a serious thread for people who are struggling to afford the basics. Please don't hijack it to make a political statement.
Unfortunately elections have a direct influence on the price of basics.
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Old 09-23-2022, 03:29 PM   #62
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Unfortunately elections have a direct influence on the price of basics.
No. They don't
Demand has a direct influence on the basics.

The 2018 EO allowing more LNG to be sent to Europe was capitalism as it normally works.

The shutdown of the 1M b/d of crude refining is capitalism as it normally works.

The scheduled shutdown of the Houston refinery at the end of 2023 will also be capitalism as it normally works.

A price cap... or a price support... that would not be capitalism as it normally works.

Releasing the SPOR was an attempt to avert capitalism... it might be working... but it will only be for a short period of time before it can no longer do so.

The industry has stated we need demand destruction to bring the balance back into line... so far... people have just been working on substitution.
Can't get gasoline... go to electricity... but then the grid can't handle the demand.

Europe is only going to reduce demand so much... and as long as they are willing to pay more for the energy than Americans, we will ship it there until we run out of ships.

I would hate to see this generation to have to deal with the war rationing that our Greatest Generation did.
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Old 09-23-2022, 03:36 PM   #63
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John, I am talking in general not specifically regarding fuel. Hope that helps.
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Old 09-23-2022, 06:13 PM   #64
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John, I am talking in general not specifically regarding fuel. Hope that helps.
This would also be incorrect. As most economists would tell you, the Chairman of the Fed, the war in Ukraine, and worldwide supply chain issues have more impact on inflation than any potential results this November.

Back to the topic at hand--as Sailin and John have pointed out--it's easy to reduce your utility bill without too much pain, and the implications of doing so are great all around.

I'll also add that investments in insulation, solar, heat pumps, etc are a whole lot cheaper with the recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act. Check details with your installer if you're considering these things
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Old 09-23-2022, 06:19 PM   #65
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This would also be incorrect. As most economists would tell you, the Chairman of the Fed, the war in Ukraine, and worldwide supply chain issues have more impact on inflation than any potential results this November.
I am not talking about this November? Please do not bring politics into this discussion.
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Old 09-23-2022, 10:14 PM   #66
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Sailin, what you listed is quite an accomplishment! It took not only a lot of research but also a willingness to alter habits and environment to achieve the goals you were looking for. Nicely done!

I think one of the problems is that the savings of energy and dollars that you are achieving took a lot of work on your part. This shouldn't be so hard. I worry about families that are already overwhelmed with the daily struggles of work and kids and finances that maybe don't have the bandwidth to find these kind of savings. I'd like to see families understanding that it is within reach to save on energy expense.
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Old 09-24-2022, 08:16 AM   #67
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I think one of the problems is that the savings of energy and dollars that you are achieving took a lot of work on your part. This shouldn't be so hard. I worry about families that are already overwhelmed with the daily struggles of work and kids and finances that maybe don't have the bandwidth to find these kind of savings. I'd like to see families understanding that it is within reach to save on energy expense.
I entirely agree with you! The utility companies go out of their way to obfuscate how much you're paying, for what, and what another plan or company would charge. It used to be the case that Fairpoint would outright lie about plan charges to get you to sign up. That appears to have improved. Not everyone has the ability to research all of this and to be assertive with these companies to get better rates. The phone industry has become impossibly complicated.

There should also be more support for helping people reduce their energy usage and downscale their needs for other things. When recycling was still possible (before China rejected our garbage), my town provided recycling bins. That shows that strategies can be implemented town-wide to reduce waste. If a town can buy and deliver recycling bins, it could also buy and deliver rain barrels. If Eversource wants to double its supply charge, the logical response is to teach people to cut their electric usage in half, as I've done. People's smartphone addiction has led to wasteful consumerism for both the phone itself and phone service. We need to move in the opposite direction, toward basic phones and basic phone service. We're aware of severe environmental problems around things like water and we're acutely aware of inflation right now, but we lack imagination in how we counter these problems. Solutions need to be enacted at the national, state, and local level so that everyone, regardless of their education or access to technology, can take simple steps to reduce their usage.
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Old 09-24-2022, 08:48 AM   #68
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I buy a tracfone card every three months for my phone service works out to about $7.48 per month but I don't talk on the phone I just text.
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Old 09-24-2022, 09:34 AM   #69
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I entirely agree with you! The utility companies go out of their way to obfuscate how much you're paying, for what, and what another plan or company would charge. It used to be the case that Fairpoint would outright lie about plan charges to get you to sign up. That appears to have improved. Not everyone has the ability to research all of this and to be assertive with these companies to get better rates. The phone industry has become impossibly complicated.

There should also be more support for helping people reduce their energy usage and downscale their needs for other things. When recycling was still possible (before China rejected our garbage), my town provided recycling bins. That shows that strategies can be implemented town-wide to reduce waste. If a town can buy and deliver recycling bins, it could also buy and deliver rain barrels. If Eversource wants to double its supply charge, the logical response is to teach people to cut their electric usage in half, as I've done. People's smartphone addiction has led to wasteful consumerism for both the phone itself and phone service. We need to move in the opposite direction, toward basic phones and basic phone service. We're aware of severe environmental problems around things like water and we're acutely aware of inflation right now, but we lack imagination in how we counter these problems. Solutions need to be enacted at the national, state, and local level so that everyone, regardless of their education or access to technology, can take simple steps to reduce their usage.
Smart phones are here to stay, only to increase in use, that one is a complete dead end for most people, myself included. From an energy use standpoint it's not a huge user, I think the larger problem is the huge expense to a family to keep say 5 phones and the cell plan, that expense didn't exist 30 years ago.

Imagine if we could say "gee, my expense for eggs and milk and beef and rice have gone way up, so hey Eversource, I'm going to pay you less for energy this month, just deal with it". To me that's what they do to us in reverse, there is no scenario where Eversource can lose money, they just ask for rate hikes and NH PUC rubber stamps them. They were allowed to shut down and write off losses on plants that ratepayers paid hundreds of millions to upgrade just a few years ago, then they tell us that rates have to rise due to demand. It's madness. I agree totally with you that we need to, in return, reduce their revenue by conserving where we can.
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Old 09-24-2022, 10:09 AM   #70
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The Eversource rate hikes are mostly to upgrade the lines.
Can't build all these new homes and not upgrade the lines that supply the electricity.

The actual power hike is due to the increase in natural gas prices.
We used to have to sell to the US... because pipelines don't extend to Europe from here. But with the LNG option, and federal changes to open those markets, we have been building facilities to export.

Eversource gave us plenty of options to curtail this... we just didn't avail ourselves of them.
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Old 09-24-2022, 10:16 AM   #71
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Imagine if we could say "gee, my expense for eggs and milk and beef and rice have gone way up, so hey Eversource, I'm going to pay you less for energy this month, just deal with it". To me that's what they do to us in reverse, there is no scenario where Eversource can lose money, they just ask for rate hikes and NH PUC rubber stamps them. They were allowed to shut down and write off losses on plants that ratepayers paid hundreds of millions to upgrade just a few years ago, then they tell us that rates have to rise due to demand. It's madness. I agree totally with you that we need to, in return, reduce their revenue by conserving where we can.
That's a really important point, LikeLakes. I think it's the same with Consolidated---replacing their aging infrastructure and raising rates to pay for it, with no loss of revenue for them.

I think the most important long-term change that needs to happen is to make environmentally sound energy, water, etc. affordable for everyone. We would all jump at that opportunity. For me personally, the new federal subsidies won't bring solar electric within my financial reach,much as I would love to go solar.
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Old 09-26-2022, 06:17 AM   #72
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Helpful hint: I knew someone years ago who would take his electric meter out, turn it upside down, and plug it back in. The four prongs on the back make that easy to do.

His claim was that he would let his meter run backwards for a week and doing that would take two weeks off of his electric bill. Interesting theory.

My uncle happened to manage the General Electric Meter Division in Dover, NH. Several years later I told him the story. He was very excited to tell me that they had fixed that flaw and if you inverted your meter now it would run twice as fast forward.

A large restaurant owner in Saugus, MA paid someone to take his meter apart and change the internal gears so that it ran at about 1/3 the correct speed. That went on for many years until he was caught and convicted.

Posted for informational purposes only. Don't try this at home!
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Old 09-26-2022, 06:36 AM   #73
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Helpful hint: I knew someone years ago who would take his electric meter out, turn it upside down, and plug it back in. The four prongs on the back make that easy to do.

His claim was that he would let his meter run backwards for a week and doing that would take two weeks off of his electric bill. Interesting theory.

My uncle happened to manage the General Electric Meter Division in Dover, NH. Several years later I told him the story. He was very excited to tell me that they had fixed that flaw and if you inverted your meter now it would run twice as fast forward.

A large restaurant owner in Saugus, MA paid someone to take his meter apart and change the internal gears so that it ran at about 1/3 the correct speed. That went on for many years until he was caught and convicted.

Posted for informational purposes only. Don't try this at home!
A long time ago I had a neighbor who was an electrician and decided it was a good idea to bypass his electric meter. He got caught, had to go to court, paid thousands in fines and all the electricity he stole plus interest. He was a nice guy, but a crook is still a crook at the end of the day.
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Old 09-30-2022, 03:18 PM   #74
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A long time ago I had a neighbor who was an electrician and decided it was a good idea to bypass his electric meter. He got caught, had to go to court, paid thousands in fines and all the electricity he stole plus interest. He was a nice guy, but a crook is still a crook at the end of the day.
Meters are locked and sealed with a lead disk which has a code pressed into to reveal tampering but in the world of today many places have smart meters that no humans read so tampering might not be discovered but I would guess for those, unplugging it would be detected by the system.

My dad worked for NH co-op for many years and caught a few meter shenanigans
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Old 09-30-2022, 04:01 PM   #75
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We have an empty house and I saw the electric dept there one day so walked over. She said we haven't used any electricity and was wondering why. So I think after a while if you don't use any power they check. Of course you still pay the customer fee and service fee and all that but no KW charge.
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Old 09-30-2022, 06:08 PM   #76
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The tank type electric heater has 2 elements.
Which should be changed on a scheduled basis.
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Old 09-30-2022, 09:15 PM   #77
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Meters are locked and sealed with a lead disk which has a code pressed into to reveal tampering but in the world of today many places have smart meters that no humans read so tampering might not be discovered but I would guess for those, unplugging it would be detected by the system.

My dad worked for NH co-op for many years and caught a few meter shenanigans
The system would quickly detect no load and trigger a response as if your power had gone out.
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Old 09-30-2022, 10:02 PM   #78
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John, you are very knowledgeable in this area and I very much respect that. Maybe I'm wrong about some of what I'm saying, but in my opinion, defending Eversource is not a great position to be in.

The NH PUC, hardworking and trying their best to do what is right for NH residents, have been steamrolled over the years by PSNH/Eversource. Northern pass, thank goodness it was stopped at least for now, was a blatant attempt at a money grab by a public corporation, with massive spending on a PR campaign and legal wrangling.

I do understand the way a public company's finances work, including salary to upper management. It doesn't make it right for the leader to make 280 times the salary of the workers on the lower rungs.

Again in my opinion, when a company has a revenue stream that is set by the PUC in a manner that insures they can't lose money, insures they recoup all investment in infrastructure, there should be some limits to profitability at the expense of ratepayers. Don't we all wish we could run a company that can't lose money, can simply request more revenue and in nearly every case get it?
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Old 09-23-2022, 06:20 PM   #79
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My bill was $91.00 dollars and I have a 30 gallon hot water heater that runs 1 hour a day. So that's 50 cents a day for a hot shower and hot water for dishes. Maybe a smaller hot water heater would work for you?
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Old 09-23-2022, 06:38 PM   #80
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My bill was $91.00 dollars and I have a 30 gallon hot water heater that runs 1 hour a day. So that's 50 cents a day for a hot shower and hot water for dishes. Maybe a smaller hot water heater would work for you?
My bill was $103, and I've got a 50-gallon water heater that runs whenever and four of us in the household.

Unless actually using a lot of hot water, I don't think the water heater is much of a draw.

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Old 09-23-2022, 07:21 PM   #81
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My bill was $103, and I've got a 50-gallon water heater that runs whenever and four of us in the household. Unless actually using a lot of hot water, I don't think the water heater is much of a draw
It's hard to tell how much electricity the water heater is using unless you have it on a timer. Mine is 4000 watts, which is a lot. What were your August and September kWh uses?
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Old 09-23-2022, 07:56 PM   #82
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While it is hard to determine from the bill rather than a smart meter that would give you a fairly reliable reading of the appliance usage... I think once the low hanging fruit is taken... it is all going to be about the small trickles.
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Old 09-24-2022, 04:37 AM   #83
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It's hard to tell how much electricity the water heater is using unless you have it on a timer. Mine is 4000 watts, which is a lot. What were your August and September kWh uses?
The $103 was my August/September bill (read date of 9/18). Summer months aren't a fair gauge of power for us because we're up at camp most of the time.

The biggest electric cost for me is electric baseboard heating. We haven't changed that for a myriad of reasons, but are beginning to look at options again. I haven't ever paid for wood—and I just scored 2.5 cords or so of free 3-year-seasoned hardwood, for a total of about 5 year's worth in my rack—so that helps a lot.

What I did and what I think of the outcome:
* Water heater to vacation mode when away. I think this is negligible as when we'd return home after a week, the water would still be warm enough to shower and the elements wouldn't run very long to catch up.

* Dehumidifier setting. A dehumidifier is essentially a refrigerator, so turning this up 5% certainly had it running less. I couldn't go any higher, though, as it would begin to smell musty.

* New refrigerator. We had replaced our 20+ year-old refrigerator in spring with an Energy Saver model, and it definitely runs much less than the old one. I'm sure I'm saving here.

* Increasing AC from 72 to 75 when home and to 85 when away. I think this is the absolute biggest saver. I'm actually weirded out to think we'd only raise it a couple degrees when we were away and that we'd use blankets at 72.

* Washer/Dryer: I began setting my Speed Queen washer to heavy duty. This doesn't use any more water, which we run cold anyway, but has a much more powerful spin dry to where the clothes are almost dry. This runs the dryer for a much shorter period of time, which I'm sure helps.

* Dishwasher: I noticed that my dishes tended to be dry as soon as the cycle was done, so we shut off the heating element option. I gotta think this saves a few bucks as we run it two to three times a week.

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Old 09-24-2022, 06:07 AM   #84
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Moving your AC up... that actually should have helped with the water heater not losing its temperature as fast.

When you cooled the house down to 72... the heat loss would be greater from the warmer water to the cooler ambient air... and the water heater would need to run to compensate for that.

It is why we must think in broader terms of usage to get those smaller, but generally less capital intensive, savings.

I know they want to upgrade the grid... but the backlash at transmission projects is pretty intense in the areas that it is going to happen.
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Old 09-25-2022, 09:12 AM   #85
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The $103 was my August/September bill (read date of 9/18). Summer months aren't a fair gauge of power for us because we're up at camp most of the time.

The biggest electric cost for me is electric baseboard heating. We haven't changed that for a myriad of reasons, but are beginning to look at options again. I haven't ever paid for wood—and I just scored 2.5 cords or so of free 3-year-seasoned hardwood, for a total of about 5 year's worth in my rack—so that helps a lot.

What I did and what I think of the outcome:
* Water heater to vacation mode when away. I think this is negligible as when we'd return home after a week, the water would still be warm enough to shower and the elements wouldn't run very long to catch up.

* Dehumidifier setting. A dehumidifier is essentially a refrigerator, so turning this up 5% certainly had it running less. I couldn't go any higher, though, as it would begin to smell musty.

* New refrigerator. We had replaced our 20+ year-old refrigerator in spring with an Energy Saver model, and it definitely runs much less than the old one. I'm sure I'm saving here.

* Increasing AC from 72 to 75 when home and to 85 when away. I think this is the absolute biggest saver. I'm actually weirded out to think we'd only raise it a couple degrees when we were away and that we'd use blankets at 72.

* Washer/Dryer: I began setting my Speed Queen washer to heavy duty. This doesn't use any more water, which we run cold anyway, but has a much more powerful spin dry to where the clothes are almost dry. This runs the dryer for a much shorter period of time, which I'm sure helps.

* Dishwasher: I noticed that my dishes tended to be dry as soon as the cycle was done, so we shut off the heating element option. I gotta think this saves a few bucks as we run it two to three times a week.

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Thanks for sharing your results, Think! Fun, eh? Some questions and comments:

Wood: How did you "score 2.5 cords of free wood"?

Dehumidifier: I have one in the basement and one upstairs. For the one upstairs I noticed that if it smells musty, turning on the dehumidifier for one hour gets rid of that, so I've been able to run it one hour a couple of times a week. Dehumidifying the basement down to 50% takes several hours. Again, it only needs to be done once or twice a week. Also, I think it was John Mercier who said that if you dehumidify the basement that will lower the humidity in the house so I've been mindful of that. The ridge vents I installed with the roof replacement last year seem to have improved the humidity problem, which was previously severe.

Washing machine: What determines the capacity to remove water from the clothes? Is it the "power" of the spin dry or the length of the spinning? I tried spinning it twice today and it did seem drier. By the way, if you hang "wetter" clothes in the house in the winter you will appreciate the increased humidity. Perhaps not something you want to do with a family.
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Old 09-25-2022, 09:59 AM   #86
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Thanks for sharing your results, Think! Fun, eh? Some questions and comments:

Wood: How did you "score 2.5 cords of free wood"?

Dehumidifier: I have one in the basement and one upstairs. For the one upstairs I noticed that if it smells musty, turning on the dehumidifier for one hour gets rid of that, so I've been able to run it one hour a couple of times a week. Dehumidifying the basement down to 50% takes several hours. Again, it only needs to be done once or twice a week. Also, I think it was John Mercier who said that if you dehumidify the basement that will lower the humidity in the house so I've been mindful of that. The ridge vents I installed with the roof replacement last year seem to have improved the humidity problem, which was previously severe.

Washing machine: What determines the capacity to remove water from the clothes? Is it the "power" of the spin dry or the length of the spinning? I tried spinning it twice today and it did seem drier. By the way, if you hang "wetter" clothes in the house in the winter you will appreciate the increased humidity. Perhaps not something you want to do with a family.
Wood: I posted on my community forum a few years ago asking if anyone had down trees I could have. Because I took pine, I got a reputation as the "go-to guy" and people now connect with me first. This most recent offer is a bunch of wood that's been in a lean-to since the people moved in—they can't burn wood because their son has allergies.

Dehumidifier: 60 was too high, 50 is good. I have it on auto to just run. I could probably save a couple bucks just running it for an hour or two a day, but there's some things that just aren't worth dealing with.

Washer: I'm not sure if it spins longer or harder, but the clothes are definitely drier and I have nowhere to hang them—with 4 people, it's a LOT of laundry and, again, some things aren't worth jumping through hoops for. That being said, my drier has a sensor that ends up with the clothes just dry—I'm fairly confident it doesn't run longer than it needs to.

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Old 09-23-2022, 07:14 PM   #87
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My bill was $91.00 dollars and I have a 30 gallon hot water heater that runs 1 hour a day. So that's 50 cents a day for a hot shower and hot water for dishes. Maybe a smaller hot water heater would work for you?
Yes, this is one of the options I'm considering, as well as an on-demand heater. Just have not had time to research these thoroughly due to having to prepare wood for the winter. I would certainly pay 50 cents for a hot shower right about now . . .
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Old 09-23-2022, 07:10 PM   #88
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Back to the topic at hand--as Sailin and John have pointed out--it's easy to reduce your utility bill without too much pain, and the implications of doing so are great all around.
Yes, that was my message, although there will be a period with some pain while you study different options and put changes in place. The "pain" will especially be in the fall and winter around heat and hot water. It takes time to do all this, but you can make a few changes at a time, starting with the ones that would result in the biggest savings and/or can be done immediately.
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Old 09-23-2022, 03:02 PM   #89
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This is a serious thread for people who are struggling to afford the basics. Please don't hijack it to make a political statement.
I made no such political statement. I simply said to think very carefully about how you vote. As a matter of fact, I’ll say it again. Think very carefully about how you vote. Perhaps if people vote a certain way (I’m not suggesting which party they should vote for), their “struggles to afford the basics” may improve. You can stick your head in the sand all you want, but facts are facts.
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Old 09-23-2022, 05:48 PM   #90
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I made no such political statement. I simply said to think very carefully about how you vote. As a matter of fact, I’ll say it again. Think very carefully about how you vote. Perhaps if people vote a certain way (I’m not suggesting which party they should vote for), their “struggles to afford the basics” may improve. You can stick your head in the sand all you want, but facts are facts.
Most things in life relate to politics one way or another. But not every thread is about politics. How about you open your own political thread so you can post your facts? This one is about how individuals can save money on utilities today.
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Old 09-23-2022, 01:39 PM   #91
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I just got my Eversource bill. Compared to September last year, I've reduced my electricity usage by 67%! The bill was $76 for 199 kWh. The August bill was $134 for 454 kWh. This is before I switched to Direct Energy as my cheaper supplier, which should be reflected in my next bill.

In August I (like many Americans and especially here in New Hampshire) suddenly became aware of the full meaning of inflation and I brainstormed and studied all the ways I could find to reduce expenses with electricity, telephone, internet, gasoline, heat, water, and home maintenance. I calculated the kWh of each electrical appliance in my home. I tracked my money-saving actions each day, which added up to 48 actions in one month. A sample:
  1. Turned off the 53-gallon family-sized water heater
  2. Lowered phone and internet bill from $1500 a year to $627 by dropping the Consolidated Communications landline, signing up for two years of unlimited Tracfone for $199 a year, and talking Consolidated into giving me their new-customer rate of $36 a month including fees for internet-only service
  3. Reduced use of air conditioning and dehumidifier sunstantially
  4. Changed lightbulbs to LED
  5. Recycled water from the dehumidifier
  6. Collected rainwater from the roof
  7. Negotiated a discount of about $300 for car tires
  8. Obtained wood from my property
  9. Used Gas Buddy to find cheapest gas in the area
  10. Eliminated some trickle charges
  11. Bought a new electric lawnmower, snowblower, and other yard gadgets (brush blade for the string trimmer) so I am no longer dependent on expensive and unreliable workers
  12. Dry the laundry outdoors and put in it the dryer for 10 minutes to get the wrinkles out

I still have quite a few things left to do, like finding the best way to get hot water for the shower, changing my Medicare advantage plan, and finding someone to split a recalcitrant maple tree.

I realized that I was living as if I had unlimited cheap resources, with no real mindfulness about how much I was using, even though I'm normally frugal. That's not wise environmentally or financially. Simply becoming more aware of what I'm using and how much it costs has made a big difference in my expenses.

Utility companies make if so difficult to reduce costs that probably most of us can't face the amount of time it takes to do the research and negotiate with the companies. By the way, thanks a million to Thinkxingu for doing the research on energy suppliers and sending me to Direct Energy. It sure feels good to be depriving Eversource and Consolidated of their exorbitant increases.
Draft dogs at door and windows - also check the weather stripping for replacement. Make sure you lock the units.
Both interior and exterior storm windows... and window quilts.

4-H taught us a lot in the 70s.
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Old 09-23-2022, 03:44 PM   #92
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Well said JM. A lot of people would like to believe it is politics that cause high prices but forget that business is world wide. Just like they want wage increases but don’t expect consumer prices to go up when people are paid more.


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