Energy consumption reduction opinions sought.

On Thu, 5 Feb 2009 13:29:17 +0000 someone who may be PeterC

I wouldn't be sexist about it, some men are as fussy as some women. However, dummy thermostats are used in many buildings. As long as it clicks when they turn the knob they "know" that they have control over the heating and then are happy.
--
David Hansen, Edinburgh
I will *always* explain revoked encryption keys, unless RIP prevents me
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David Hansen wrote:

It's the same theory Dynamo Dave/Greenpiss apply to all green issues.
What counts is not reducing carbon dioxide, but making people *feel* that they are.
Armed with this astonishing insight, we can see how his reasoning works, when indeed it does at all..

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On Thu, 05 Feb 2009 13:50:39 +0000, David Hansen wrote:

er, wot's sexist? The place was full of wimmin.
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Peter.
You don't understand Newton's Third Law of Motion?
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A bit like the pedestrian crossing buttons on traffic lights in New York. They disconnected them all ~30 years ago to stop pedestrians screwing up the traffic light sequencing, but there was an outcry when they installed some new lights with no buttons. So they fit [disconnected] new buttons on all new installations now.
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Andrew Gabriel
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I first came across this phenomenon about 25 years ago, when I was doing process control for KP. We converted crisp weighing machines from manual controls to computerised. The operators didn't realise that the controls on the machines were disconnected, and continued to use them, remaining utterly convinced that they still worked. We didn't shatter their illusions, since it kept them happy...
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"Please try to understand, the one you call Messiah is a lie."
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Ah - but they were all nuts
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geoff

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*grin* Except that nuts were packed in a different factory...
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"Please try to understand, the one you call Messiah is a lie."
[email me at huge huge (dot) org <dot> uk]
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How? I can see how it would conserve the heat in a room, but not necessarily through the whole house.
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Les

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JDT2Q wrote:

Isn't it a shame we are reduced to this now, the moment we start costing baths, showers, boiling water for coffee, flushing the loo and other every day things the enjoyment goes out of life.
When standby first became popular it enabled us to turn TVs on without leaving the chair, well worth paying for.
Regretfully we all will cut back dramatically but end up paying the same (or more) and the power companies will make the same profits for supplying less of the product.
Geoff Lane
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100mA at 240V would be 24W. You would have smoke from your bell transformer if it was chewing up that much power. It is more likely using an eighth that much power - 3W perhaps, costing a couple of quid a year. Your bills seem to be out by a large factor, so forget these tiny amounts for now.
Check you are not being charged for imperial gas measurements, given a metric meter, or your gas supply is not supplying your neighbours, or something.
-- Jason
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Jason wrote:

You would not.
24W is not much for a metal object to dissipate into reasonable air.
It is more likely using an eighth that much

However that is true. An unloaded bell transformer will have a huge power factor.
Its essentially an inductor straight across the mains..

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Watch and read this:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/watchdog/2009/01/are_you_paying_too_much_for_ga.html
Especially important is the bit at the bottom about checking your meter against your bill.
-- JJ
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Are Kill-A-Watt meters sold there, they are very accurate and good for testing loads over days like refrigerators to see actual usage. They record hours and Kwh used. Of coourse you use Cfls and flourescents not incandesant lights.
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Yes, although that is a US-specific brand name I believe. There seem to be an ever increasing number of different makes/types of these appearing here, and they can be found for well under 10 if you look around.

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Andrew Gabriel
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I've got one of the ones that Maplin sell/sold, though I got it from ebay for about 10. It appears to be a UK version of the Kill-a-watt, looking basically the same.
It seems to be pretty accurate, and can measure and take account of power factor
--
Chris French


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CPC have been selling the UK Kill-a-watt look-a-like for 4.95 on and off. (that would be +VAT)
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Andrew Gabriel
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WOW! Thanks for all the replies.
I've read them all and some good points are made.
BTW the elec:gas ratio is elec 172 : gas 288
Re our loft insulation. The insulation is only the depth of the ceiling joists as the loft is boarded onto the joists. For storage use only - heat not required up there. The front and rear dormers ( full house width ) flat roof insulation depth is not known - there may be none as the house was built in 1968. I think this would be difficult to remedy unless anyone has suggestions. Could Kingspan the ceilings I guess but have full wall height fitted furniture so an alternative would be preferred. This has also made me think about the small triangular lofts that form part of the ceiling for some downstairs rooms and part of the lower walls for some 1st floor rooms. They are small though and I have had difficulty even crawling into the space in years past.
All our rads have TRV's except the one in the room where the stat is. We don't like or need warm bedrooms so the heat there is just background and doors are shut during the day. The programmable room stat is set at its lowest setting ( 5 deg C ) overnight ( from 10 pm weekdays ) so effectively the heating is off overnight. During the daytime heating needs are mixed as the 3 members of the family have varying work/university hours on different days. The stat is set for just about comfortable in the later morning/afternoon with a temperature boost for the evening when it's certain that one or more will be home.
The tumble drier was new 12 months ago and is A energy rated and it is used on its humidity sensing setting. IE when the clothes are dry and the exhaust contains no/negligible moisture it switches itself off. I now remember why we bought it 12 months ago and it was because of our energy bills last winter - our 20 yrs old tumble drier was still working OK at the time. The link to a drying cabinet/room with a dehumidifier is very interesting - wish I'd seen it 12 months ago.
Re cooking. Our 5 yr old range cooker is 1m wide and has only one oven cavity which is full width. The electric oven has developed a problem this past month or so in that it is intermittent in operation. Turns out that it is a common fault with this manufacturer on this range cooker. My wife is pressing for its repair but I think I might delay so that she gets into the habit of using an alternative where possible. It's a big oven to heat for small items like potatoes or pasties. We have a new but unused electric steam cooker that has been in the loft for about 3 yrs since it was bought as a present for us. Should be good for several veg at once as opposed to 3 or 4 gas rings burning. We have a pressure cooker that the wife doesn't use as much as she used to. It, of course, can cook several veg on just one gas ring. Our freezer is about 18 months old, can't remember the energy rating offhand but I chose one with thicker than usual sides assuming insulation there. Our fridge is about 20 yrs old and maybe needs an assessment on its consumption.
The washing machine and dishwasher have both been replaced in the past 4 years or so. Don't know their energy ratings though - should get the handbooks out if I can find them. In the washing machine my wife does hotish washes, don't know what temperature will have to ask and asses.
Hmm - on looking at the assumed ( guessed and still to be measured ) 100mA consumption for the bell transformer I guess I was a bit pessimistic. 24 W of iron loss - it would definitely run hot.
Lots to consider.
My AC current meter is RMS BTW.
TTFN - JD
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I'd say this is the source of a lot of your heat loss. Due to a leak I had to replace the ceiling over one flat-roofed bedroom, I took the opportunity to replace both and insulated between the joists with 60mm Celotex leaving - I forget now - maybe 20mm air space above. These rooms are now warm all of the time with the TRVs at 4 rather than cold with the TRVs at 6. A noticeable improvement.
Only three ways to retrofit to a flat roof AFAIK:
1. Wait 'til it needs replacing and do it externally then (going from cold roof to warm roof, probably) 2. Tear down ceiling, insulate with Celotex/Kingspan between joists, reboard & replaster. Messy, expensive. Need at least 60mm Celotex to be worthwhile: building regs probably require at least 100mm maybe 150 in new builds, anything over 100mm is probably overkill in our lifetime for a retrofit. 3. Fix new joists to existing ceiling (transverse to existing for ease of fitting) insulate tight to ceiling, board and plaster. Less messy, but reduces ceiling height by 75 - 125mm, expensive.
No grants available for flat roof insulation, despite it being greater source of heatloss than walls or loft: indicates how poor the cost/benefit ratio is. However, in your situation it may be a disproportionately high contributor to heatloss giving you a much better payback: with me it's marginal. It would be more comfortable with insulation (fewer cold spots) but I'm not putting a monetary value on comfort.
BTW: If it's snowed with you today keep an eye on your roof and your neighbours' to see where the snow goes first - that's a good indicator of poor insulation. If a neighbour with a similar property keeps their some much longer, ask them what insulation they have. Or maybe they're away skiing.
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If you've got no insulation, even 25mm of celotex will make an enormous difference. Each increase in thickness is a tiny gain compared with going from nothing to the first inch. You don't need 60mm to be worthwhile. In this scenario, I would install a thickness which is the ceiling joist height minus 2 - 3" to allow for ventilation above (capped at whetever current building regs require). Cut and fit with the bottom level with the bottom of the joists (so the gap is above the celotex, not below). Seal all the joins below with aluminium tape (including between the celotex and joists) and refit with foil backed plasterboard.
BTW, it's quite easy to tell if you have any insulation up there. Buy an infra-red digital thermometer (a great toy to have anyway). Use it to measure the ceiling temperature on a cold night. If the ceiling is significantly colder than the body of the room, then there's little or no insulation in it.
You can repeat that around all the external walls/ceiling/floors of the living accomodation in the house to see where you are losing heat, i.e. where you would benefit from more insulation.
You can also do it the other way around. On a cold day when you have the heating on, walk around the outside of the house looking for the warmer outside surfaces. This is also where you are losing heat. (Might be difficult to get a measurement from the top of a flat roof unless you can oversee it some how, or get a ladder up there.)
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Andrew Gabriel
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     snipped-for-privacy@cucumber.demon.co.uk (Andrew Gabriel) writes:

Another varient particularly apt at the moment -- how quickly does the snow melt on your roof compared with other roofs around you (and even compared with different parts of the roof)?
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Andrew Gabriel
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