I-Know-Nothing wrote: ↑Mon Sep 13, 2021 12:20 pm
I’m sorry if I haven’t answered everyone’s questions individually. There’s lots of great advice here, and I have been taking notes and will be implementing a lot of these ideas. I’ll try and answer a few things:
Everything in the house is electric. Not many people in this area have gas stoves or other appliances (I don’t think it’s available in my city at all), and nobody uses gas heat. Heat is only necessary a few days a year, if that. Everything is electric, which is probably not optimal, but it’s all that’s available.
For your climate, it's fine. The next step up would be a Heat Pump (an AC that can also heat ie run in reverse) which is quite common in US southern states. Gas is cheap but the pipes have to be paid for somehow.
I use the oven every morning to cook breakfast for about 45 minutes. Our oven is a new Samsung that’s supposed to be energy efficient. I usually make dinner in our Instant Pot, which uses minimal energy. I’ve thought about cooking our breakfast on a countertop convection oven that might heat up the house less and use less energy. I’m not sure how much savings this would generate though, and a convection oven probably costs around $200.
None of this will make a huge amount of difference.
I don’t use the dishwasher much, because it’s old and doesn’t do a great job getting stuff off dishes. I hand wash dishes and use the dishwasher as a drying rack.
That's actually less efficient, because of the hot water used, than a modern dishwasher. When it comes time to replace be sure and get an Energy Star one.
Our fridge is an 8-year-old GE. I’ll look up the model later to check it’s energy efficiency. We also have a new chest freezer in the garage. Supposedly it costs $7 a month to operate.
There's nothing in it. An 8 year old GE and a current GE will be within 1-200 kwhr pa in consumption of each other, most likely.
The washer and dryer are in the garage. Theoretically this means that they don’t generate heat in the house. The washer is new and is supposed to be pretty energy efficient . We usually run washes with cold water. The dryer is old and could be inefficient. We’ll have to do some of the testing and analysis recommended here to see if we need to replace it.
Dryers *are* inefficient. Unless they are Heat Pump dryers - which are more expensive, and probably less reliable. Dryers burn c 2-3 kwhr a load (you can probably look the model up on line). You live in a hot humid climate - you need a dryer. But again - 5-6 kwhr per week x 52 weeks = 300-400 kwhr pa.
Even I don't run the clothes in cold water (I live in England). Of course, front loaders are 100% here and they use 1/4-1/2 energy of a top loader (but they don't dry internally 100% & that would be a nightmare in your climate).
After talking to everyone here, I think the insulation in our walls is probably nonexistent or terrible. It’s not easy to to do anything about that though, so we might have to focus on other areas. Adding more insulation in the attic is viable.
The attic is worth looking in to. Again, an energy audit.
It is just not possible (for us) to not run the AC. To be honest, we leave the AC on 95% of the year, though of course it doesn’t always run. I have lived down here 30 years, and experienced AC breaking down during the summer in various apartments. The indoor temperature quickly reaches the 90s, even with windows open. I know some people can deal with this, but we can’t.
We are going to get an energy audit and do some of the other assessments recommended here. We’re also going to get another pool pump.
Tick box on a variable speed pool pump. That sounds like your low-hanging fruit
. People here have reported huge savings.
"Leaving the AC on" probably doesn't matter (except for the "ready" electronics, which shouldn't be much). It only consumes electricity when it is running.
For health reasons alone, you have to have an AC and you have to run it
- as one gets older that is even more important**. You can probably look up the SEER on line, and as long as it is 12 or so, you are doing OK. I mean, if you replaced, it might be worth doing 18 SEER. Old ACs can run 7-8 SEER and so replacing with say 15 SEER is really going to cut your usage. But from 12 to 15 is only by less than a quarter.
Dehumidifiers can be helpful since much of the sensation of "hot" comes from "wet bulb temperature" ie temperature + humidity. However dehumidifiers also burn electricity (lots of, if on 24-7).
The main thing is to try to identify "energy vampires" like cable set top boxes/ DVRs etc. Things were a lot worse 20 years ago, and then President Bush signed an efficiency act, and US consumer electronics got a lot better. But sometimes there are old things around.
That and (maybe) attic insulation. Plus (possibly) some kind of reflective film on the south facing windows.
** too cold (relative to outside) is also bad for health. Things like shopping malls and movie theatres that cool down to 68-70 -- that's too cold. But I am not sure what the "recommended" temperature is, and I am sure you are at or above it.