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Old 12-23-2010, 08:05 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by hondo434 View Post
You can place a shutoff valve on the showerhead. Just start shower, get wet,shut off shower valve,lather up, turn shower back on rinse off.
Great idea, but long showers are something I'm not willing to give up. I probably average 10min each morning, but usually skip a day once a week (Saturday). The reason I'm not willing to give them up is that I dread mornings more than most and really struggle to wake up and get going. I wake up cold and jump into the shower to warm up and regain full consciousness.

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Old 12-23-2010, 09:19 PM   #22 (permalink)
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The thing about roomies, renters... hell, just about everybody, is that the second they aren't paying for something directly out of their pocket ALL CONSERVATION FLIES OUT THE WINDOW. I know for a fact that tenants will open a window in the winter to cool a room down before they'd ever consider turning the thermostat down. And in spite of being shown the math and other data, they'll plug their vehicles in every second they are parked at the house too. They'll run the wash machine and dryer for one article of clothing. They'll let the shower hot water run for 10 minutes before they step in so that everything is nice and toasty; then they'll turn on the vent fan and let that go until the next person comes in to shut it off. They'll forget range burners and ovens on. They'll stand in front of an open fridge forever, and they'll stick hot things in there to cool them down. Basically, people turn into slobs when they don't have to personally fork over for utilities. By that I mean, sure the utilities can be built into the rent, but then the utility costs become "invisible". I'd say, have a base rent charge then clearly present everyone with the utility bills and have everyone pay their share.
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Old 12-23-2010, 10:54 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Lee View Post
The thing about roomies, renters... hell, just about everybody, is that the second they aren't paying for something directly out of their pocket ALL CONSERVATION FLIES OUT THE WINDOW. I know for a fact that tenants will open a window in the winter to cool a room down before they'd ever consider turning the thermostat down. And in spite of being shown the math and other data, they'll plug their vehicles in every second they are parked at the house too. They'll run the wash machine and dryer for one article of clothing. They'll let the shower hot water run for 10 minutes before they step in so that everything is nice and toasty; then they'll turn on the vent fan and let that go until the next person comes in to shut it off. They'll forget range burners and ovens on. They'll stand in front of an open fridge forever, and they'll stick hot things in there to cool them down. Basically, people turn into slobs when they don't have to personally fork over for utilities. By that I mean, sure the utilities can be built into the rent, but then the utility costs become "invisible". I'd say, have a base rent charge then clearly present everyone with the utility bills and have everyone pay their share.
These are all my concerns too, but I simply don't have the patience to round everyone together and go over the utility bill every month and then hound people for money. This is the reason I'm looking for ways that force people to save on the utilities when they do use them. Since I will occupy the house as well, I can evict people for any reason I want. That is an option I would exercise if need be. Either that or raise the abusers rent.

I'll be creative when people are wasting energy. If they want to open the windows in the winter, I'll turn the stat down to 60. I can't complain if they take long showers though, as that is something I indulge in too.
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Old 12-23-2010, 10:58 PM   #24 (permalink)
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You will need a lock box on the stat then, cuz they'll **** with it every 10 seconds when they "think" you aren't looking.

It doesn't take any more time than regular billing. Pin the utility bills on the wall when they are all in, show the math, and say "here's last month's damage, pay up".

Oh, BTW, make a renter mad at you (or not) in the house you are occupying, and 10% of your **** walks out the door with them when they leave.
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Old 12-24-2010, 12:51 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redpoint5 View Post
The pump idea sounds spendy and would waste more heat overall than just allowing the water to go tepid. I would not conserve water at the cost of having to spend more on heating.
The pumps that I've seen just have a push button or a timer, I am thinking about installing one with a button to get the hot water to you as they tend to also have a thermostat so they shut off as soon as they've gotten the hot water to sink.
Other option is if you have a sink that is at the far end of the house from the hot water heater then you can install an under sink hot water heater just for that sink, they tend to be a small 5-6 gallon tank, not enough for a tub or shower but enough for a kitchen sink, giving you hotter water quicker.
But I'm in a similar situation as you, one room mate and one co-home-owner and I was told that my co-home-owner would be happy to pay for half of everything as long as it didn't impede on comfort.
Everyone likes the shower head shut off valve and the dual flush toilet, the low flow (1.5gpm) shower head was an improvement over the quality of the shower spray, I also have a timer on the water heater, it turns on from 6:30am to 8am and from 3pm to 4:30pm, figures it saves around $10 to $15 per month and no one has complained about a lack of hot water in the last 2 years, the idea with the time settings is to heat up the water and turn off before peek use so that you are using what was heated and not reheating as you walk out the door or head to bed.
You can save in other ways too, plug in electric hot water pot is great as it uses 1/4 of the energy to heat stove top and half of what it uses in a microwave with a toaster style switch that trips turning it off when the water boils.
I've also installed a motion sensor switch in the garage so while entering with a bicycle after dark the light comes on and stays on long enough to put things away and close up but it can never be left on if no one is in there, it also helps in seeing who is out in the garage, motion sensor switch's like that are great for basements or even bath rooms for controlling the vent fan, you can also get humidistat's for turning on and off vent fans, but where you live, with the humidity that might not work well.
The idea is, if it's just you then you can have complete control, but if you live with others then well made efficient devices pared with automation with simple sensors and timers can help out alot.
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Old 12-24-2010, 02:00 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Lee View Post
You will need a lock box on the stat then, cuz they'll **** with it every 10 seconds when they "think" you aren't looking.

It doesn't take any more time than regular billing. Pin the utility bills on the wall when they are all in, show the math, and say "here's last month's damage, pay up".

Oh, BTW, make a renter mad at you (or not) in the house you are occupying, and 10% of your **** walks out the door with them when they leave.
I'm a slumlord with property in OK. I've had tenants take a hammer to the walls because they were being evicted for not paying their rent for 2 months. I know there are scumbag people out there, but I'll do my best to avoid those. My first tenant has just moved in and she is an Asian school teacher. Don't think I'll have major problems with her.

At any rate, I'm going to rent rooms out month to month, so I can switch things up and have people pay their portion of the utilities if it becomes a problem. Of all the CL ads I've seen, almost nobody is having utilities paid seperately here.

Quote:
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The pumps that I've seen just have a push button or a timer, I am thinking about installing one with a button to get the hot water to you as they tend to also have a thermostat so they shut off as soon as they've gotten the hot water to sink...
Great ideas, I'll implement some of those and I'm sure my strategy will evolve as I learn what bad habits people have.
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Old 01-03-2011, 10:57 AM   #27 (permalink)
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For hot water use, Google "thermosiphon" as another idea (especially if heater is located below any faucets). In the South, hot water heat exchangers used in conjunction with air conditioners has a long track record (longer the A/C season, the faster the payback and the better the A/C performance).

Dual flush toilets sound good. Painless to comply with requested use.

Shut-off valves on showers work great. I like long showers, too, but the shut-off can be incorporated with results that will surprise.

Clothes cleaning is also easy: give everyone a weekday for their own use. Weekend use is by request only.

A per square foot assessment of the house for sharing the rise in utility bills is feasible, but it depends on good previous records (not to mention climate records). Some guy who spend the weekends at his girlfriends is likely to complain, but the only other option is a fixed annual increase (which I would do anyway). If it's my property then I bear the liability, so it's good sense to project all the other costs at the end of five years (or ten, or appliance replacement point, etc) and work backwards to arrive at sensible rent vis-a-vis the local market.

Personally, I wouldn't share it based on being green. It's like being religiuous, only appealing to those in agreement. For all the rest exists contract law and good record-keeping.

Just keep plugging any "profit" into improving the structure and it's systems (and their components). That's the only realistic place for savings, IMO, and for putting up with renters. I know that I would be willing to be creative on landscaping (labor) in exchange for foregoing utility increases. Have a look at "keyline plowing" and other to see where, maybe, the advantage of labor could benefit you both.
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Old 01-03-2011, 12:57 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Hi,

Quote:
Originally Posted by redpoint5 View Post
I will look at my insulation next time I crawl under the house, but the pump idea sounds spendy and would waste more heat overall than just allowing the water to go tepid. I would not conserve water at the cost of having to spend more on heating.
The water is pumped back into the hot water tank; since that is where the water is coming from. You save all the water, and you save as much of the heat as is still "contained" in the tepid water. The cost of a brass pump is the main cost; and the installation is easy, because you are using all existing pipes.

There are commercial systems like this:


(click on image for link)
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Old 01-03-2011, 10:52 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:38 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Have you thought about using one of them demand (or instant) water heaters? I first encountered them when I rented a house in Japan, then another one when I rented an apartment in Italy. They're wonderful because they give heat almost instantly, they never go cool on you, and you're not having to continually heat up 30 or so gallons of water that you may not be using at the moment.

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