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Old 01-23-2011, 09:39 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by mnmarcus View Post
I've thought about installing a radiant barrier but couldn't decide which way to put it.... Cold winters here! So both sides reflect kinda makes sense but... Why use it at all then? In the winter I'd want any heat to get down but in the summer I'd want the opposite. I suppose if it works off the temperature differential that could still work but is that how radiant heat works?
Sorry I forgot to include the link in the previous post Texas Heat Management — Store Home

The barrier will work in the summer and winter, because radiant heat always transfers from the hot environment to the colder, so the double sided reflective barrier reflects your heat back into your house and the cold away in the winter keeping it warmer instead of letting it go through the roof and in the summer it reflects the heat away from the house and reflects the cool air back into the house keeping it cooler.

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Old 01-23-2011, 09:57 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by RobertSmalls View Post
Set it up for winter. In Buffalo, which is much milder than MN, there are about 15 times as many Heating Degree Days as Cooling Degree Days.

I like Frank's idea, too.

I don't plan to include radiant barriers in any of my designs (except in high-temperature gadgets), because I'd rather have a fiberglass batt than a radiant barrier and an air gap.
You can use radiant barriers with batt insulation which is what I'm thinking about doing in my garage, then the radiant barrier reflects heat that radiates through the batt insulation. The exterior of the garage is going to be metal, then I was thinking about putting batt insulation in the walls and covering it with the barrier. It will still do it's job because the air in the interior of the garage will act as the needed air space. You don't have to have an air space on both sides of the barrier. I used a double aluminum sided foam insulation (1/4" foam) in my garage at the house I have in NC and it made the garage warmer in the winter and much cooler in the summer without using heat or a/c. It made enough difference in the summer that it was actually cooler feeling in the garage than it was outdoors most of the time. I used the barrier/insulation on the bottom of the trusses and on the interior walls without any other insulation, so I had about an average of 1' air space above the insulation and 3 1/2" air space between the exterior wall and barrier/insulation. I never checked the temperature in the garage prior to or after the installation, but my guess is that it lowered the interior temperature at least 20* in the summer and I've worked on cars in there at night in the winter when the temperatures would be in the 20's and 30's without any heat other than what 3 40 watt light bulbs put out.
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Old 01-23-2011, 11:38 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Another thing I realized was how crazy it is to make the water hotter than we want it to be, and then cool it back down by mixing cold and hot together.
That reminds me I still need to adjust the thermostat in the water heater in the home I just moved into and wrap it with radiant barrier too. I've found that for most of our use 120*-125* works out pretty well. My guess is that the water heater here is set at about 140*-150*. I guess I need to put that on my list of things to do tomorrow.
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Old 01-24-2011, 12:07 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I kept turning down the setting on my gas water heater until I found the lukewarm showers on full hot objectionable (a nice hot shower of more than adequate time is a luxury I'm not willing to give up) then I put it back up a skosh from that. Turns out, that's also the "vacation" setting, LOL. Mine has a blanket on it too.
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Old 01-24-2011, 12:39 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Electric tea kettles that turn off on their own are amazing, from tests that I've seen they use 1/4 of the energy that stove top water heating uses, half of what it takes to boil water in a microwave and about half of what a tank style water heater uses, they also get the water up to temp then turn off so that you never waste energy, just like a toaster pops when the toast is done.
LED lights are coming along quickly, what is avalible in stores are impressive and cheap.
I also like automation, the light in the garage turns on via a motion sensor, the light next to the front door is a solar charged LED motion sensor light, my water heater is on a timer, all of the cell phone chargers in the house are switching power supply chargers that pretty much turn off once the device is charged, everyone in the house uses their cell phone as an alarm clock, all of the flash lights are LED so the number of rechargeable batteries need along with the number of chartings needed are cut back and for most of the lesser used LED flashlights I use disposable batteries because they last 5 years or so in the flash light where rechargeable batteries only hold a charge for 6 months or so.
I did notice the jump in electrical use when we got a desk top computer, my lap top/net book uses 15-25 watts depending on how it's being used where a desk top seems to use 100 watts or more.
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Old 01-24-2011, 12:48 AM   #16 (permalink)
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The way my electric coop keeps raising rates and fees are gonna drive me to go off the grid altogether. Used to have a $10 "Monthly Facilities Charge" which has quickly morphed into a $19 charge, and yesterday's coop newsletter says they'll jack it to $24 in April AND we've gone to 9 cents/kwh from 8 too. My wise fellow Minnesotans voted an increased sales tax upon us a few years back and everything on our electric bills is subject to MN sales tax, so the tax bite is higher. There is also a renewable energy surcharge which I don't mind so much if that helps expand the wind farms.

The funny part is, in one part of the coop newsletter they say the recession has caused reduced electricity consumption by businesses; for that reason they must raise the rates. Then in another part of the newsletter they say increased consumer electricity consumption is causing them to have to buy more power; for that reason they must raise the rates. OK. Color me confused.
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Old 01-24-2011, 02:57 PM   #17 (permalink)
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The way my electric coop keeps raising rates and fees are gonna drive me to go off the grid altogether. Used to have a $10 "Monthly Facilities Charge" which has quickly morphed into a $19 charge, and yesterday's coop newsletter says they'll jack it to $24 in April AND we've gone to 9 cents/kwh from 8 too. My wise fellow Minnesotans voted an increased sales tax upon us a few years back and everything on our electric bills is subject to MN sales tax, so the tax bite is higher. There is also a renewable energy surcharge which I don't mind so much if that helps expand the wind farms.

The funny part is, in one part of the coop newsletter they say the recession has caused reduced electricity consumption by businesses; for that reason they must raise the rates. Then in another part of the newsletter they say increased consumer electricity consumption is causing them to have to buy more power; for that reason they must raise the rates. OK. Color me confused.
We are still paying $9.77 per month electric bill on our house in NC just for having the power on, nothing at all plugged in, but I need to leave the power on until I get a chance to get back up there and finish some work before putting the place up for sale.
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Old 01-25-2011, 06:08 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Frank Lee View Post
a nice hot shower of more than adequate time is a luxury I'm not willing to give up
Me too.
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A few months ago I returned home just as my neighbor pulled into his driveway. It was cold (around freezing) with some rain and sleet, and he yells to me: You rode your bike? In this weather?!?

So the other day we both returned home at the same time again, only now the weather is warm, sunny, with no wind. And I yell to him: You took the car? In this weather?!?
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Old 01-25-2011, 01:38 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I got my 3 rolls of radiant barrier yesterday, now if only the weather would cooperate so the garage could be built and the new roof put on the house, maybe I could start saving some energy.
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:55 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Ford Man View Post
We are still paying $9.77 per month electric bill on our house in NC just for having the power on, nothing at all plugged in...
Yeah, but did you ever think about how much it costs to e.g. fix all the lines that get blown down every time a hurricane blows through? Or someone runs off the road at 10 pm & takes out the power pole that carries all the neighborhood service - which actually happened to me a few months ago.

This seems a pretty reasonable way of arranging things: you pay $X to cover the cost of line maintenance, then so much per kWh for whatever electricity you actually use.

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