DIY energy-saving gadgets in the home

Originally published at: DIY energy-saving gadgets in the home | Boing Boing


I have adjusted the flow rate on my combi boiler. Haven’t noticed an improvement in the bill yet but the heating is not in use, the hot water is still hot.


DIY energy-saving gadgets in the home?

For those of us who only have access to big ol’ water heaters with tanks (not the wise on-demand Euro water heaters):


I got a Kill-A-Watt several years ago.

You’d be stunned at how much power otherwise innocuous devices pull. Sure, it may only be 10 watts for that little network switch, but it’s on all the time. It adds up.


When we had an old 30 gallon hot water heater, we put a timer on it; it was set to turn on the water heater at 5 a.m., and turn it off at 8 at night. Paid for itself in 2 months. We also shut it off completely when we went on vacation for 2 weeks, which saved another big chunk. 2 years ago, we replaced it with a tankless on demand water heater, and haven’t looked back.


Just installed today. Really bad placement on that heater - in the doorway pointing to the wall three feet away.


We had a gas tankless heater in our last house. I miss that thing.

Our current house is all electric and built in 1975. There are no spare openings for the three 60-amp 240v circuits that an electric tankless would need, and it would cost big bucks to get an electrician out to upgrade it.

Also, we’re looking to relocate out of Texas because we have daughters, so not really wanting to put that much in.


Kill-a-Watt sure beats the Wack-an-Ohm

We put in a secondary breaker panel which also controls the solar array and the EV charger when we upgraded the drop from the main. While LEDs draw less power than standard bulbs, the house overall is still using more power than when it was built.

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Efficient if it’s running on natural gas. Our subdivision has restrictive covenants that forbid propane and natural gas here.

When it’s an electricity-based on-demand, it’s kind of a wash. (Heh. Heh…) Our electricity provider (Pedernales Electric Cooperative) has astonishingly high rates because TEXAS and yes I am shouting. We had the dang snow-pocalypse here and our electricity rates were increased even more than the before. (“Co-op” here doesn’t really sound like what it should–the PEC board of directors has had corruption problems for decades.)

Our only other option would be solar (heater or booster). Haven’t pursued it. Not going to try. We’re planning on makin’ tracks outta here pretty soon and the ROI is farther out on the timeline than our launch date.

I have friends in Austin proper who had tankless (on-demand) natural gas water heaters. Those mostly exploded in the big freeze. They were waiting up to 6 months to get a replacement of like for like. They took a lot of cold showers. Or went to the gym to get a hot shower.

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Restrictive covenants and HOAs are, as ever, a sign of Satan.

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