Staying warm in winter - Fuelly Forums

Android Users - Coming Soon! - Migrating from aCar 4.8 to 5.0

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 12-06-2006, 07:31 AM   #1
Supporting Member
 
DracoFelis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 265
Country: United States
Staying warm in winter

Since winter is upon us, I figured I would start a thread with good "energy efficient" ways to stay warm. With that said, here are some of the "tricks" I've picked up over the years...

Make sure your windows are well sealed:
It's amazing how much difference in heat retention, just making sure all windows are properly latched (vs closed, but not latched) can make. Other good ideas include (but are not limited to): Checking/replacing the weather stripping in the window; taping the storm windows shut before sealing up the interior window (less air leakage via the storm windows); calking (I like silicone caulk myself, as it's flexible and water tight) around the window frames; and even those temp plastic kits can help a lot.

Caulk is cheap:
Have a calking gun handy, with good all-weather caulk in it (as mentioned above, I like silicone sealer type caulk). Then whenever you find any "draft" (leaking air), put the caulk in. And it doesn't hurt to put a bead around at floor/ceiling seams as well. It's amazing how much heat/energy is lost just due to air drafts, and caulk is amazingly effective at helping this (for very little cost).

When you get the chance, insolate:
It's really hard to have too much insolation, especially with outer walls and/or the roof. Now, in many (most?) cases it can be a PITA to add insolation, but you should almost always take the opportunity to add it when you otherwise have things opened up. For example, when we had to replace all of our exterior siding (due to hail damage), we had the exterior surface of our walls uncovered (because the siding was off). So we spent a few hundred dollars to buy enough "bubble wrap insolation" (this stuff, which I picked up for around $30 per roll at a local hardware store: http://www.reflectixinc.com/technology/products.asp ) to cover our outside walls. We then had the contractor lightly tack this stuff up on the outside walls, before attaching/nailing the siding through the thin reflective insolation layer. Result? For under $1000 added to our siding project (we had to do the siding project anyway, due to the hail damage) virtually all of our exterior walls got an extra layer of insolation (and the heat difference in the house is very noticeable in the winter)!

Don't forget "ad-hock" insolation against exterior walls:
And remember, it can be useful to just put insolation up against walls. There are many places in the house where I have a shelf/desk/etc up against an exterior wall. Putting a sheet of Reflectix (mentioned above) behind those furniture items, does make a small but noticeable difference (i.e. extra insolation on the inside of the wall).

Help retain heat, while in bed:
You don't want to be cold when lying down (which you do for several hours/day, if only to sleep). Blankets are an obvious answer here, but not the only one. For example, I have found that it makes a very noticeable difference to put a sheet of Reflectix (the "bubble wrap insolation", mentioned before) between the box-springs and the mattress. Doing so won't make the bed any more lumpy (as the Reflectix is soft to lie on, and you have a full mattress between you and the insolation anyway), but will reflect a lot of your body heat back upward. The result? The bed isn't exactly "hot" (this is a passive tech, after all), but almost all of the "winter chill" of the bed goes away (as the bed no longer drags your body heat away from you, but now instead bounces it back at you).

Use "waste heat" around the house, when feasible:
This is an old "low tech" trick that people used to know, but many in our modern society forget. Since heat is a by-product of much of what you otherwise usefully do, try to retain some of that "waste heat" to heat the home (instead of using extra power, just to power your furnace to produce heat alone). There are many ideas here, that are easy to do. Some of the ones I do include: 1) Use the main kitchen oven to cook in the winter, thereby getting two uses (cooking your food, and heating your house) out of any gas you use (whereas your furnace uses the gas to only heat your house, and so only gives you one task for the gas used). 2) When taking a bath/shower, consider leaving the water in the tub for an hour or two, instead of draining it right away. After all, you have already paid to heat that water, so why not use that still warm water to heat the room before you drain it away. 3) If you need to heat with electricity anyway (a fairly inefficient way to heat, if other options exist, but...) try not to use a "space heater" if you can help it. Instead, turn on an appliance (TV, computer, a light, etc) that you have some reason why you need to use anyway. Since most electrical appliances turn most of their energy into "waste heat" you have just heated the room and done something else useful with the electricity (a 2-for-1, whereas a space heater only heats with the power it uses).

Take advantage of the "greenhouse effect", by properly opening/closing your window blinds:
Remember, even in the winter, you can passively warm your house by letting the sun in via the windows (assuming your windows are sufficiently insolated, to not have a lot of cold/drafts come in at the same time). This is exactly the same principal a "greenhouse" uses, hence the name "greenhouse effect". Likewise, when the sun goes down, you can help keep heat in by closing your drapes. So simply properly opening/closing your drapes can make a noticeable difference.
__________________

DracoFelis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2006, 10:07 AM   #2
Team OPEC Busters!
 
GasSavers_Brock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 196
Country: United States
Similar to your #2 by leaving the drain closed when taking a shower, then letting it drain out after it ahs cooled, we regularly close the drain on one side of our sink after boiling noodles for example and strain it and let the water stand until it has cooled, there a LOT of heat in near boiling water.

We have a water to water heat exchanger http://gfxtechnology.com/ on our main drain so we rarely let water stand during shower since it preheats both the cold to the shower and the cold feeding the water heater, but when the kids get baths it stays in the tub until it is cool.

We also have an air to air heat exchanger http://www.fantech.net/hrv_erv.htm as well, it passes inside exhaust air across a membrane that in turn heats up fresh outside make up air.

I also vent our electric dryer inside in winter although it runs though quite a bit of filtering first.

We have storm windows on all our windows.

I am an efficiency nut with just about everything.
__________________

GasSavers_Brock is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2006, 08:54 PM   #3
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,978
Country: United States
Dreaming of ERV

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brock
We also have an air to air heat exchanger http://www.fantech.net/hrv_erv.htm as well, it passes inside exhaust air across a membrane that in turn heats up fresh outside make up air.
I've been wanting an ERV for a few years -- is it working as expected, and do you have any allergen concerns in the household? I've actually not met anyone who had one yet. The HVAC tech had no idea what I was talking about at a recent repair...

RH77
__________________
rh77 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2006, 09:32 AM   #4
Supporting Member
 
DracoFelis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 265
Country: United States
Quote:
Originally Posted by rh77
I've been wanting an ERV for a few years -- is it working as expected, and do you have any allergen concerns in the household?
Whenever you bundle up the house, there are allergy concerns of trapping allergens in (speaking as an allergy sufferer). However, there are many surprisingly cheap things you can do to help with allergy matters. And if you do things right, your "interior air" can be cleaner (from an allergy standpoint) than your exterior air. Here is a partial list of various tricks I've learned (some of which were first pointed out to me by an allergist, as it turns out I'm allergic to the waste made by dust-mites):

1) Many allergens affect you when you breath them in. So if you are blowing air around (especially a central air blower of some type), do extra good filtration on that air. For example, if you have a central air system, consider using high-quality air fitlers. For example, the Filtrete Ultra Alergin air filters may run around $16/US each, but they are amazingly effective for getting pollutants out of the air. And really, since you can realistically use them for 2 months (they say up to 3 on the package, but they lose effectiveness in the last month), you are talking only around $8/month for these things (remember, you are already paying the power to push air through the central air):
http://www.3m.com/us/home_leisure/fi...411_ultra.html


2) Don't overlook spot (room size) air cleaners. I have both the traditional HEPA air cleaner units I run occasionally (very effective for a single room, but "expensive" to run due to the higher electrical needs of the unit's fan, and the cost of replacements filters), and some "Ionic Breeze" units from Sharper Image that I run pretty constantly (a minor PITA to wipe clean every week or so, filters air slower then the HEPA units, and expensive to buy initially (but you can often save a little by getting refurbished units from http://www.sharperimage.com/us/en/outlet/ ) because (the basic) Ionic Breeze units only take around 10-15 watts of power to run and no replacement filter costs (so this is cleaner air, with little ongoing cost after buying the unit).

3) Many allergens get on surfaces (especially carpets) to kick up later (where you then breath them in). So vacuum the surfaces in the house (especially the carpets and drapes) with a vacuum that has an anti-alergin (HEPA) filter on the air exhaust. Unless you have no choice, do NOT use a vacuum without a micro-filter on the exhaust, as such vacuums are often "worse than useless", by throwing all the microscopic allergens back into the air! So if you have a real old style vacuum, now is the time to upgrade.

4) You spend several hours a day in bed, so make your sleeping experience a pleasant one. Since allergens can get trapped in your bedding, and you head is right up next to that bedding, you have potential problems. However, there are covers you can get for mattresses, pillows, etc, that you can put over the bedding (before you put the sheets/etc over them. I recommend the micro-woven barrier cloth (essentially a cotton/polyester cloth with very fine/tiny weaves) as (because it "breaths" like any other cloth) its much more comfortable/natural to sleep on than the older anti-alergin techs (for example, vinyl sheets/pillowcases are just as effective, and even cheaper, but vinyl makes you feel like you are sleeping on balloon). You can even get the better (barrier cloth) anti-allergin pillow covers (put your pillow case over the zipped up cover) for under $15/each (make sure you get the micro-weave cloth variety, as they are noticeably more comfortable than the cheaper varieties). And if you don't find what you are looking for at a local store, there are many online stores that specialize in mail-ordering items useful for allergy suffers (for example, while I got most of the pillow covers locally, I had to mail-order my king-size bed covers and my full-sized comforter who's outer layer was comfortable anti-alergin barrier cloth)...

5) Some nasal sprays are amazingly effective (although others cause problems if/when you over-use them) at helping you resist any airborne allergens you do encounter. One amazingly effective "over the counter" (that my allergist clued me into) is called NasalCrom (which you can usually pick up in any drug store, I pick up mine at Walmart most of the time). According to multiple doctors I've talked to (the allergist wasn't the only one giving the OK to this stuff), most people can safely use NasalCrom up to 4-6 times a day, every day of your life, if it helps (it's that "mild" of stuff). And my personal experience is that using NasalCrom at least once or twice a day, goes a very long way towards making your nasal passages resistant to allergens (thereby lowering the severity of any allergen exposure that still remains).
http://www.drugdigest.org/DD/Compari...0122-1,00.html

6) And don't forget that the occasional antihistamine can be used to lower your body's reaction if/when the allergy levels still manage to get high enough for your body to react. I find the old-style "Benedril" type antihistamines to be the most effective, but they also really make you drowsy (often an advantage when going to bed, but otherwise a disadvantage). Also the older style antihistamines need to be taken every 4 hours (i.e. a hassle). For slightly less protection, but protection that lasts "all day" with few side-effects, the generic versions of the "Claritin" medicine are a good choice (read the active ingredient on the package, as the generics are much cheaper put can't legally use the "Claritin" trade-mark).

And finally, remember what my allergist told me, that allergy exposures are cumulative over the day, and everyone has a different threshold below which their body doesn't adversely react to the allergens they are facing. So if you can lower your overall exposure below your personal threshold, you will be fine. And even if you can't manage that low of exposure (because you are forced to be in areas with high allergens, or you have a very low threshold), you can still make yourself more comfortable (and lower your need for antihistamines or other meds) by lowering what exposures you are in control of. And since it is cumulative, fixing those things in your control (such as your several hours a day sleeping in your bed) will actually make you more resistant to such problems during the day...

General disclaimer:
I'm not an allergist, or any other type of doctor, so the above shouldn't be considered medical advice. I'm just someone who does suffer from allergies, so those are some of the things I've learned both "on my own" and from the doctors I've seen about my allergy problems. So if you have any doubt, by all means check with your doctor about this info...
DracoFelis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2006, 03:51 PM   #5
Team OPEC Busters!
 
GasSavers_Brock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 196
Country: United States
Quote:
Originally Posted by rh77
I've been wanting an ERV for a few years -- is it working as expected, and do you have any allergen concerns in the household? I've actually not met anyone who had one yet. The HVAC tech had no idea what I was talking about at a recent repair...RH77
When we built (99) I asked about them and our HVAC guy hadn't heard of them either, when I explained what it was he thought it was a waste of money. Fortunately I did get them to plumb and 6 inch duct for both intake and output when we built so adding it was pretty easy.

The Fantech has a decent filter, but we added a 3M filterete, you can buy it in sheets and I just cut it to the size of the pre-filter in the HRV. Also the output of the unit runs to the furnace return air before the whole house filter so it gets filtered again after the HRV.

For example yesterday it was in taking outside air at 9F (-12C), exhausting house air at 72F (22C). The fresh air coming in to the house was 55F (12C) so it recovers a huge amount of heat from the outgoing air. The really odd thing is the exhaust air from the unit is almost always lower then the fresh air to the house. In this case the stale exhaust air out was at 45F (7C).
GasSavers_Brock is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2007, 09:10 AM   #6
Registered Member
 
jwxr7's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 291
Country: United States
Quote:
and even those temp plastic kits can help a lot.
I tried some of these for the first time, and am very impressed with how well they work. They are also pretty much invisible after you shrink fit with the hair dryer.
Quote:
I keep it so cold in here that the cats always want to sit on my lap- nice 'n' warm, they are.
I keep my t-stats low too, when we want it warmer we burn wood in the familyroom using a Lopi fireplace insert. Doing this I can go a full year on about 350 gallons of propane (that's in Michigan with a 30yr old 2500sqft house).
Quote:
I also vent our electric dryer inside in winter although it runs though quite a bit of filtering first.
I do too, but not with good enough filtration.
Zone heating can save too. Even with an electric heater. Like if you are showering, you can warm just that room to stay comfy when you get out, instead of turning up a t-stat. That way you can maintain a lower temp in the rest of the house.
I also installed an automatic flue damper on my boiler unit that heats my house and water. It sits idle for long periods of time even in the winter due to all of the above, and it used to just let warm air rise outside thru the 6" flue.
__________________
Best tank= 81.23 mpg on july 1st 2008
SAVE SOME GAS, SAVE THE WORLD!

jwxr7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2007, 11:44 PM   #7
Registered Member
 
GasSavers_Ryland's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,325
Country: United States
Send a message via AIM to GasSavers_Ryland
if your windows are drafty enough that you notice cold air moving when you are close to them, then it can make sence to pop off the trim around the window, and fill the gap with expanding foam, GreatStuff makes a door and window foam that I have been extreamly impressed with, it doesn't get hard like their normal expanding foam, preventing your doors and windows from becoming bowed, I also like the normal great stuff foam for sealing other cracks around gas and water pipes that go thru walls, behind outlets that are drafty, simply turn off the outlet, pop the cover off, and fill around/behind the box if you feel a draft, the foam's biggest enemy is sunlight, so if you do have to seal it in an area that it's not covered by trim, a thin layer of flexable calk, like laytex, or polyurithane will extend the foams life by many years.
GasSavers_Ryland is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2007, 09:24 AM   #8
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 358
Country: United States
I think that I'm one of the only people here whose home gets greener in the winter. After Thanksgiving I typically turn the AC off, open the windows and leave them open until March.
repete86 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-20-2007, 06:29 AM   #9
Registered Member
 
jwxr7's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 291
Country: United States
edit: Not really a winter tip but an energy saver anyways.

Another energy saving device is a shower head that you can vary the flow on. Unless you are rinsing you can turn the flow way down. We use this technique at our house all the time. This turned out to be a significant energy saver when I told my friend to try it. His girlfriend liked to take really long showers while shaving her legs. After changing the shower head and varying the flow thier energy bills dropped noticeably .
__________________
Best tank= 81.23 mpg on july 1st 2008
SAVE SOME GAS, SAVE THE WORLD!

jwxr7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-24-2007, 11:59 AM   #10
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 113
Country: United States
Don't go too cold or you'll freeze the pipes, especially ones on the outside walls. Obviously, this isn't a concern when it's above freezing out, but it's a good argument for _raising_ the interior temperature when it's really cold out because the temperature inside the wall is going to be slightly above the average of the interior and exterior temperatures. I don't go below 55?F if it's around 0?F out, and even then I'm pretty scared of what can happen. 60?F is widely regarded as the minimum "safe" temperature to guard against pipes freezing.

Our heating system has a lot of thermal mass (slab foundation) and the furnace is also the water heater, so I've been practicing pulse and glide on the house as well...bring it up to 68-70 when I'm home for the weekend or having company, then shut the furnace/water heater off at the breaker and leave it off for a few days until it hits 53-55, then turn it on at that temperature. Normally, we go through 500 gallons of #2 in a year; since July, I've only had one 101 gallon fillup. I'm saving a lot more fuel at home than in my car.
__________________

__________________
GasSavers_Bruce is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Is it possible to see basic stats in metric? alexg Fuelly Web Support and Community News 3 01-17-2010 10:44 PM
Need way to indicate a missed fuel-up entry exists silente Fuelly Web Support and Community News 7 08-20-2008 08:46 AM
FFI GasSavers_MPGmaker Introduce Yourself - New member Welcome 39 05-30-2006 04:31 PM
Intake Manifold Polishing Theory SVOboy General Fuel Topics 32 04-11-2006 09:44 AM
A tidbit about IAT temps and resistance SVOboy General Fuel Topics 9 02-05-2006 01:06 PM

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:20 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.