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Best energy saving home improvements

 
 
H2O MAN
 
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 07:51 am
What are some of the best modifications a homeowner can invest in
that will reduce energy bills and make the home more comfortable?

Windows & doors?
Insulation?
Foam insulation?
Wood stove?
On the grid solar panels?

My particular home is a large farm home with many 100+ year old windows and doors.
The entire attic space has been converted to living space - no insulation can be added.
Would spray foam insulation in the crawl space help?


Thank you Very Happy
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Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 2,261 • Replies: 15
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farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 09:38 am
@H2O MAN,
We have the same kind of house. Its a large rambling 200+ year old rabbit warren. Ive replaced all the windows with Pellas TDL's 9 over 9's and did an entire insulation retrofit. Weve also convereted to gas hot water and gas "tankless water heating" Gas is preently much cheaper than oil or electricity.

An old home is a bitch to catch up on.
H2O MAN
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 09:54 am
@farmerman,
Farmerman, I appreciate your reply.

How much of a difference did the new windows make in reducing your heating/cooling bills?

My home was moved to its current location a few years ago.
The plumbing, wiring, HVAC and crawl space foundation were modernized at that time.
New batt insulation was installed in the crawl space after the home was moved.
The roof is metal and the wrap around porch does provide some shade to the bottom floor.
The front door faces due south.

Here a picture:

http://www.athenswater.com/images/SNOW-FARM.jpg
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 11:11 am
@H2O MAN,


PS, nice look, I like that skirtaround porch , its got a southern plantation look

We have a similar sitution on the main house (wrapround porch on 2 sides). We have a rolled seam metal roof (used to be 150 year old slate) . The "telescope additions that stick our of the sides without porches are separate wings with their own zones of heating. WE had used oil till last year when the oil guys dumped a load of fule into our basement by inattention (Gee I never knew yore tank could take 400 gallons).

The window replacements with the gas charged panes are great and 10 years later , no problems. IF anything happens, Pella will replace the whole section of window since they are double hung sashes.We dont notice any economies any more but when we replaced the windows 12 years ago (ALL 28 OF THEM) there was a huge difference just in the warmth in rooms (we have a stone house, on top of a barren windy hill surrounded by cornfields and woods). It used to blow air right through and the curtains would dance if it was a windy day.

We are now replacing my wifes studio windows within the next 2 weeks so, even though these leak air now, they wont soon. (When we built the studio addition it was chosen for its huge window design and at the time we could only get Delaware or Anderson (at that time Andersons were not a great quality window so we installed the Delaware windows knowing that theyd be replaced with something better in 20 years. Its been 15 and they are really leaking a lot.

Our fuel use is about 20% less now, mostly because of the tankless water heater (We had some problems at first with the installation). Now we can see the fuel usage drop even with the conversion of Btu values from oil to propane. That, coupled with the fact that propane is waay cheaper now.Propane is a fraction from natural gas as well as oil, and the fact that theres a whole big new gas strike in the US going on, Id really push for gas if your economy minded.
The conversions cost us about 18000 but with the tx credit and the savings we can repay us in about 3 years.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 03:06 pm
Here in Europe, we've got the Directive on the energy performance of buildings : any building built before 1965 must have a "energy passport" when being sold (and anyone who rents a flat/an apartment will certainly ask for one even if the building is newer - so it was done in our condonium, too, a couple of years ago).
However, many home owners had used the service of companies with thermographic cameras already years before (it costs now about $160, including the 'pass') to find 'energy leeks'.


When it's done by a chimney sweeper, it's not only cheaper than by most commercial firms, but you get independent advice and informations.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 03:56 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
hopefully we wont get to that stage over here, but, with all the new standards being proposed for "food safety"(Started in Bush years) it will soon be damn impossible to be anything except a big corporate farm.
0 Replies
 
H2O MAN
 
  0  
Reply Mon 7 Dec, 2009 06:55 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Walter Hinteler wrote:

Here in Europe, we've got the Directive on the energy performance of buildings : any building built before 1965 must have a "energy passport" when being sold (and anyone who rents a flat/an apartment will certainly ask for one even if the building is newer - so it was done in our condonium, too, a couple of years ago).

Europe is way, way ahead of the US when it comes to energy efficient homes.
The windows and doors you use are extremely efficient as are your water heaters.
PrezBO could have stimulated and grown our economy had he just offered homeowners large
tax breaks to those that upgrade windows, doors and water heaters, but that didn't happen.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Dec, 2009 06:52 am
@H2O MAN,
In Pa we have the 30% Fed credit for energy independence and energy savings and the additional (Fed supported) 30% credit for anything thats renewable (or fits in the renewable/energy saving category).
These are all up to a maximum.

The savings on solar PV are 30 and 15 up to 15K for installation and engineering. Were thinking of a PV setup but I dont want to be the first guy on the block since these installers arent certified by anything other than some industry "standard" (Almost like the bullshit ISO crap)
H2O MAN
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Dec, 2009 11:20 am
@farmerman,
Two PV units have been installed on my street and the owners seem to be happy.
I am currently looking into being the third guy on my street to do this.
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Dec, 2009 11:31 am
@H2O MAN,
not much to say on the subject

so i'll say this, that's a mighty nice house
H2O MAN
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Dec, 2009 11:46 am
@djjd62,
Thank you.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 07:14 pm
@H2O MAN,
What are your heating degree days? What's your location? Are you more concerned with heating or cooling?
H2O MAN
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 08:20 pm
@JTT,
Northeast Georgia, near Athens. Equally concerned with heating and cooling.

http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/histGraphNormals?ID=KAHN&records=on&normals=on&lastyear=off
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Dec, 2009 02:31 pm
@H2O MAN,
I'd recommend having an energy audit done by a specialist, H2OMan.

Often there are direct government/energy supply company grants associated with making changes to the energy consumption profile of your house. They can tell you the best ones to make, the ones that'll give you the biggest bang for the buck.

Are your windows double-hungs? Marvin Windows makes a retrofit kit if the existing jambs/frames are still in good condition. Go to,

http://www.marvin.com/?page=window-of-opportunity-replacement

and scroll down to the "Tilt Pac Double Hung Sash Replacement System"
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Dec, 2009 02:55 pm
@H2O MAN,
you are one of the best candidates for a geothermal (closed loop) system. For a house your size (Im assuming its about 3K sq ft. Youd need about 9 tons in your area. (Biggest draw is gonna be cooling). The rule of thumb is about 200 ft of well for each ton so youd use 5 400 ft wells or 9 200 fters. Id go a little more cause drilling can be by the day or by the foot. A closed loop system like that would cost about 2500$ per hole around here and then the heat exchange and blowers.
Ground water (geothermal) heat pumps make best sense in areas that are neither extreme hot or exterme cold. In SC Pa, its a margianl system cause the heating never feels really warm. The air is always blowinbg at about 72 degrees and that can feel actually cold in a house in our area. As you go farther north geothermal makes even less sense. But you are in an area trhat winters arent as severe but youll use every BTU is cooling.
H2O MAN
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Dec, 2009 03:02 pm
@farmerman,
farmerman wrote:

you are one of the best candidates for a geothermal (closed loop) system. For a house your size (Im assuming its about 3K sq ft. Youd need about 9 tons in your area. (Biggest draw is gonna be cooling). The rule of thumb is about 200 ft of well for each ton so youd use 5 400 ft wells or 9 200 fters.


Sounds great, but I have 5 dry holes on the property - all of them are over 200 feet deep.
The one well with water crapped out last year and the town ran water a half mile to my driveway so I could hook up to city water.





JTT, I have had 2 audits. One by Georgia power and one by the local EMC.
Energy efficient replacement windows and doors are on the list of things to do.
0 Replies
 
 

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