Dan, one of our readers from Kansas, graciously provided the information. Thanks go to Dan’s great record keeping and willingness to share his story.
Revision 3 (2000) Summary
- Replacement of washing machine (1999 Amana) (0.235 KWh)
- Replacement of clothes dryer (1999 Amana) (5.0 KWh)
- Replacement of refrigerator (1999 Amana) (0.68 KWh)
- Replacement of microwave oven ( 2000 Amana) (1.8 KWh)
- Replacement of gas stove (magic chef pilot-less burners and oven)
Revision 3 – Description of Work and Results
Appliance upgrades; well it was a matter of I had never owned any new appliances and the washer just crapped out. I went out to the local dent and ding place and got a new one for $225 and while I was there got a new matching dryer for $225 what a deal few scratches and ding here and there what the heck only one of them you could see when it was installed, and they end up getting scratched or dented some time.
They were more efficient than the old 20 year old ones I had. Not really sure how much they save me in energy bills but it did not take as long to do the clothes, so it saved some with less run time.
Within a week the refrigerator froze up again the pipe on the outside was iced over and the refrigerator would not keep milk, Yep it is time to replace it too and since I was doing a lot of computer work on the side I had the money.
Saved money? Not sure went from a 15 cubic foot freezer on top to 25 cubic foot freezer on bottom. Yep you guessed it back to the dent and ding store. Might of saved money if I would have bought the same size I had but couldn’t stop myself. They may both use the same about of energy but one was a lot bigger than the other. And, it would mean fewer trips to the grocery store.
About 2 weeks later the microwave oven died with no warning and since all the other new appliances were Amana and I like the quality, I bought an Amana microwave (since the radar range back in the 70’s surely they knew what they were doing.)
So washer died
and the dryer was not far from it too then the refrigerator freezing up and the
microwave dying better get a stove before it dies off. In the interest of
creating less heat in the summer time I wanted pilot-less range. I don’t need
the heat or the gas bill from them burning and with the improved safety of pilot-less.
Nope it was not a dent and ding special. From listening to my friends talk about how high there gas bills were and how cheap my had been I was not complaining.
Revision 4 (2001) Summary
- Removal of all rafters (ceiling joists not removed)
- Installed 24 per fabricated trusses
- Installed roof sheathing
- 20 # felt paper
- 15 year CertainTeed fiberglass shingles
- Installed R-13 rolled Certain Teed fiberglass insulation over the old blown insulation
- Replacement of central heat unit (Janitorial 96 unit) (3 ton) with 4 ton blower installed (96% efficient)
- Installed high efficiency cooling A-coil and line kit
- Removal of central air compressor but not replaced
- Replacement of gas water heater 30 gallon with electric 40 gallon water heater.
- Installation of R-13 insulation on all north walls
Auxiliary heating unit
- Installed blue flame natural gas heater to living room as supplemental heating. (Does not need electric to run during ice storms and power outages) also helps keep the chill off the room from usage of front door. And keeps the central unit from coming on unnecessary because of fanning front door.
Revision 4 –
Description of work and results
Roof replacement: well this was modular type house that had come from somewhere down south were snow load didn’t mean anything nor insulation. Some of the north and south outer rooms ceiling joist ran north and south but the inter rooms ran east and west and not wanting to replace the ceilings I had took off the rafters and left the ceiling joist. And framed them in and set a new top plate and set the new trusses on that and ending up with only one ridgeline at the top pointing north and south.
I installed one of those fiberglass mesh ridge vents to let the heat out at the peak. (Did it work? I don’t really know.) I added 11 soffit vents on each side of the roof did not know if that was to much or not but the less solar heat buildup the better.
The house has all of the duct work in the attic and it was rusted out. I need to replace 90% of it so why not replace it all. The furnace was about 20 to 25 years old and under sized. Plus it was very inefficient energy wise, and the A-coil drain line had been plugged up and it rusted out the bottom of the furnace so I replaced it with a furnace with a 96 % efficient one.
With all the moving things around the water heater was starting to leak. The gas hot water heater was not too awful old, it was new enough to have an energy sticker on it so my guess was about 4 years old. But, it looked older than that. So a electric one was on the horizon, no pilot light (less waste of gas) and the electric one seem to heat water a lot faster, a lot faster about 15 to 20 minute for hot water to take a shower.
(Energy boomer comment: Normally gas water heaters heat up faster than electrics, so the old one must have had a lot of scale and sludge in it.)
In about a month the gas company came and change out my gas meter saying that it was reading slow and I was not paying for all the gas I had to be using. Then they socked me with a $160 dollar gas bill based on the previous year’s usage when I contacted them and told them of the upgrades I had made and now using electric to heat my water they were not impressed and I still had to pay the bill. In the following month, I see about a 50% decrease in my gas bill. Thanks Kansas Gas service for nothing.
That year we had a really bad ice storm and the power was out for over eleven hours. Since I had central heat there was no heat because there was no electric to turn it on and blow it around. After having to camp out at the family’s house for the night, I swore that would not happen again.
That weekend I bought a Blue Flame natural gas heater (vent less type) and installed it in the living room. Worst case we could camp out in the living room, close off the other rooms and still stay warm electric or no electric.
Plus I used it as supplemental heat since it was suppose to be 99% efficient I set it so it would keep the house warm in the winter time while we were gone to work it would keep the house about 65 degrees and when we got home I would turn on the main unit to 72 degrees and turn it back in the morning when we left for work. Also, if the power went out while I was at work I knew the house would still be warm when I got home.
Doing this I was able to save about $40 a month on my heating bill, the house stays warm and the main unit blower (530 watts) was not running though out the day.
Also during this revision we had to steal the siding off of the north end of the house to finish the gable on the south end of the house. Since they don’t make that style siding any more we put on a little different type of the same color but most of the time you don’t see two sides at the same time and from the street you can’t tell they are different. While the siding was off, we installed R-13 rolled insulation on all of the north walls.
Revision 5 (2002) Summary
Window AC units
- Living room (12 x 19) installed 10,000 BTU AC Unit 110v (2002 Fedder) (1100 watts) (energy star compliant)
- Bedroom (10 x 11) installed 5000 BTU AC Unit 110v (2002 LG) (500 watts)
- Computer room (9.5 x 17) installed 600 BTU AC Unit 110v (2002 GE)
- Installed 220 v Intermatic timer for water heater(note: timer is set for 4 hours of run time this cut the daily power usage in the home from 56 KWh daily to 32 KWh)
Revision 5 – Description of Work and Results
I went with the windows units because this is a 3-bedroom house and there are only 2 of us in the house. Window units allow us to cool by zones. Cooler in the bedroom to sleep by and warmer in the living room and cooler in the computer room where we spend most of our time. We closed off the guest room most of the time that shrinks down the cooling area.
All the units are energy star compliant. Since the summer here gets up to 115 degrees and the humidity gets up to 98% it gets pretty sticky here. Plus, to install the new AC compressor and charge it up they wanted $2200.
Being the cheap guy, I opted for the window units, one of them was $115 and the other one was $129 and the last one was only $239 so they are cheaper to buy. This year was the first year we ever had an electric bill over $200.
To avoid heating the house up in the summer time we cook out on the gas grill. That saves heating the house for the ac unit to cool back down.
Also, during the revisions this year I
had bought a 220v timer for the hot water tank, from my research some people told
me I would not save any money and would spend more money heating water. Others
told me that it would save money if there was only 2 of us and if we took our
shower about the same time.
Well the results are in without the timer we used 58 KWh per day and with the timer we use 32 KWh a day. Sometimes we used as much as 38 KWh a day, but a heck of a lot better than 58 KWh.
Also, we started using cold water to wash clothes with except for towels and stuff like that. Hearing horror stories of other people having $400 and $500 electric bills I felt pretty good about that.
I also set the temperature on the hot water heater to 120 degrees and double insulated it with a hot water heater blanket.
Another thing was, I also added a whole house water filter system. The water here is very hard and has a lot of calcium in it. Scale builds up in the bottom of hot water heater tank and since gas heats from the bottom and electric heats in the middle and top and bottom. I have not been having to heat though the lime and calcium scale to heat my water.
There are two more articles in this series so stay tuned for the next one.
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