An important and fascinating post by guest bloggers Shawn Lawrence and Rebecca Otto, at Quiche Moraine.
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If I could crop our power bill by 50% with $2000 worth of insulation, it would pay for itself in a little over a year.
We’re already on efficient computers, lights, a/c cycles off when no one is home, etc. Power is pricy down here, and cooling the house is one of the biggest costs we have.
I’d also like to switch to one of the heat-on-demand water heaters, apparently those are much more efficient than the big tank that is also taking up precious garage space.
Had an idea the other day too, haven’t done the math yet but I will. Once summer kicks in, it’s roasting hot all day long and then pours rain about 5pm almost every evening. Collect up rain water and pump it through a couple sprayers on the roof during the hotter part of the day- take advantage of a little phase change cooling and keep the attic temp down.
We are thinking of doing this too. The suppliers may be ripping us off. In many parts of the world these devices are inexpensive and standard, here they are something lie 300% the cost of a regular water heater, because the evil corporations see the market as …. well, not really including me. Probably you too.
The on demand heaters are nice. The problem is that they are really not usable if you don’t have access to gas. The energy demands for a tankless heater exceeds the ability of most residential electric service (200A max). Also if you have long pipe runs between the heater location and the point of use you may require more than one as the tankless heaters generally supply lower temperatures than tank heaters. Another consideration is the number simultaneous users.
Very likely they are, seems to me it’s mostly a bunch of nichrome wire and insulation, plus some monitoring/electronics that could be handled by cheap microcontrollers. Really there should be a standard small version under every sink so you aren’t heating 50 feet of copper tubing in an effort to warm up a hand washing.
Eric: Thanks, that’s useful. We would probably fit the profile. We have gas, and the distance from the heater to the appliances is very small.
I’m pretty familiar with these from South Africa where they are called Geysers (like at Yellowstone). Which, of course, is pronounced “Geezer” …
So the first time my BFF Lynne told me about the geezer in the shower building at the camp site, I was confused.
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