Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Ellicott City, MD
Energy efficiency and cheap builders
So far since my wife and I bought our house we have replaced the windows and glass sliders with new low E glass; weather sealed a bunch; new foam core front door; added some extra batt insulation to the attic over the insufficient blown in insulation; Replaced the washing machine, dish washer and refridgerator with energy efficient models; replaced the heat pump with a high efficiency one; and lastly replaced all the lighting with flourescent lighting.
Now the refridgerator was done immediately and the lighting was as well, and also a programable thermostat, so no idea what impact that had on electric bills, but everything else was done basically in the last 18 months. So far all of that has reduced our electric bill by around 20%. Take in to account the refridgerator, lighting and programable thermostat and it is probably more like 30% from what they would have been.
Well this is leading somewhere. I noticed a little while ago that the floor in my house's back bedrooms is colder then the rest of the floor. Well those bedrooms overhang my deck by about 2-3ft. I prey back the vent in the floor slightly and shine a flash light down. NO insulation in the cavity. The rest of the cavities might be insulated, but I doubt it since the entire floor is colder along there in both rooms.
I hate fucking cheap ass builders saving all of $50 in insulation. Damn them to hell.
SOOOO that means not only have I been hemoraging heat through there for awhile (and wondering why the heck the back bedrooms are always so much colder then the rest of the 2nd story), but it also means that to try to beat the HUGE snow storm coming I have to take off half a day of work to run out and get insulation, foam panels and vapor tape to get up there and insulate it all.
The good news is I'd be shocked if that didn't make a world of difference for comfort in those bedrooms and cut down on heating costs a lot (3/4" plywood, carpet pad and carpet together is what, R1? R1.5? Maybe R2? 40 odd sq-ft of uninsulated space).
At least it isn't going to cost much, shouldn't be more then $80 of materials and a couple hours of my time.
Other then this the only other energy efficiency project left on my house is replacing my 16yr old electric hot water heater. Its set on a 'cool' temperature of about 120F at the nearest tap to the heater. It is so past its prime though, some days the water temp is more like 110-115f, other days it is more like 130-140f. I can't even imagine how much money a $450 programable hot water heater is going to save. That's the next big project after the christmas credit card bills are over and done with.
PS So all told with everything I have done that means something like $20-40 a month in electric bill savings and adding a lot of value to the house. The only part I am pissed about is I had to replace my heat pump because it died about 3 months before the 30% tax credit went in to effect (and it wasn't even covered under the old 10%, but it would have been under the 30%. That is about $1,000 I missed out on).
PPS Mike Holmes is my home boy.
PPPS If anyone cares it is probably averaging to around $350 a year in savings and the total cost, when you take in to account the various energy tax credits I have gotten/will get this year, has been around $5,000 not including the $4,500 on the heat pump (which HAD to be replaced). Probably at least that much added to the home value as well since it was replacing old appliances (original to the house), windows, etc. Helps we did all the work except the heat pump ourselves which probably saved $4-5k in labor costs with the windows, doors and sliders.