What else can we do to save energy? Share your tips here!

The Bitz BoysThe Bitz Boys Union CityModerator Posts: 1,017
Some of us have a really hard time with participating in OhmHours and earning points because we're already really efficient with how we use energy. But I know we all want to do our part and hopefully save/earn some money along the way.. So for the greater good, I encourage everyone to share tips to help all of us save more even when there are no OhmHours, maybe even all of the time.

Forewarning: This may make it harder to save energy during OhmHours because your average "forecasted" use will be less. But in the long run, many of us will save more on our bills by taking small, easy steps that save energy all of the time than by only participating in OhmHours. After all, even if OC calls a one-hour OhmHour everyday for a year, that's only 365 hours of potential savings. But if you can take small actions to save all of time, you'll have nearly 9,000 hours in savings, which adds up!


  • The Bitz BoysThe Bitz Boys Union CityModerator Posts: 1,017
    edited September 2016
    As your lights burn out, consider replacing them with LEDs instead of CFLs and incandescent bulbs. They're becoming more affordable, use less energy and typically last longer. When my family moved into another house, one of the1st things we did was change our recessed lights to LEDs. I've actually seen recessed LED lights at Costco for $15. Not bad at all. And you can probably get them for less online.
  • dstjohn99dstjohn99 Member Posts: 371

    LEDs are a good choice and seem to last a long time, unlike the CFLs that were supposed to last thousands of hours but rarely do. They are still expensive but given the long life I think they may be worth it. I have them in all my recessed lighting and they work well - very bright and dimmable. I am also finally using a few LEDs that replace the 4' long fluorescent tube bulbs, but they are still ridiculously expensive at about $15 each. They work very well though. With a total of 42 bulbs in my garage and workshop it will be a looong time before I replace them all with LEDs. Also any refrigerator 10 years or older is likely an energy hog - don't forget to clean the dust from the coils underneath every year or two, that should help. Keep your furnace filter clean as well as washer filter and dryer lint trap. These will all improve the performance of your appliances. Get a water heater blanket if you don't have one. I also have a whole house fan that I turn on in the evening when it gets cooler outside than inside, and an attic vent fan on a thermostat to move hot air out of the attic during hot days. And finally, the ultimate is solar electric, though this is only an option for homeowners in most cases and is definitely expensive. In the long run it should pay for itself. My system is 15 years old and still produces over 95% as when new.

  • Love this discussion post. I have a low baseline (my average is .22 during weekdays). While I can't lower too much, here's what I do:

    • I have all of my devices with remotes on smart plugs so they will turn off
    • My fridge is in a smart device
    • We turn all lights off
  • The Bitz BoysThe Bitz Boys Union CityModerator Posts: 1,017
    HEATING UP LESS WITH IRONING: For those who iron regularly, you may find this tip helpful. My wife and I use to iron our clothes just before we wore them and then we'd turn the iron off until we needed to use it again, usually on a daily basis. As a result, the iron is on without being used, just so the iron can heat up. What a waste of energy! Now we wait until we have a whole rack of clothes to iron (usually every 2 weeks) and we do it all at once. As a result, we save energy by minimizing the time that the iron is on to heat up rather than to do any actual ironing.
  • The Bitz BoysThe Bitz Boys Union CityModerator Posts: 1,017
    USING OCCUPANCY SENSOR IN BATHROOM TO MINIMIZE TIME LIGHTS ARE ON: As I've mentioned in other posts, one reason I have a really low baseline is because I converted 90% of my lights to LED. Everything else are CFLs EXCEPT the master bathroom, which has 6 small 40W incandescent globe light bulbs whose LEDs versions are still rather expensive. And since I plan to remodel the bathroom in the near future, instead of installing a new fixture with LEDs now (which I'll more than likely replace again), I decided to get an occupancy sensor that I can continue to use after the remodel. And since our shower is in a separate room than the vanity, my wife and I often forget to turn off the lights above the vanity before going into the shower room with its own lights. We both take 5-10 min showers, so I set the sensor to turn the lights off after 1 minute to save us energy during the 4-9 min the lights are off while we're showering - that's about 50-100 hours / year of energy savings! Also, I really like being able to go into our bathroom & have the lights automagically turn on!
  • @That Son Of A Bitz I've heard of this product...sounds interesting.

  • Great suggestions, @Don Paul!

  • dstjohn99dstjohn99 Member Posts: 371
    edited October 2016

    So I'm not recommending this since I can't determine the consequences for individual users (computers, sensitive electronics, etc.), and this will not benefit solar generators during daylight hours. But my ultimate, save every watt tip is...throw your main breaker for an hour. It sure would be a lot easier than unplugging a bunch of individual items. The downside is losing your job. You know, when you forget to reset your clock, the alarm doesn't go off and you're late for work the next day. Seriously though, other than resetting all the clocks this would be easy and save a lot of energy. It would also get ALL the family members on board. Anyone tried this yet?

  • The Bitz BoysThe Bitz Boys Union CityModerator Posts: 1,017
    I'm not bold enough to do that. Plus my wife would have a cow if that prevented her from watching The Real Housewives of Orange County or at least keeping the DVR on to record it.

    Have you tried that out? Other than computers, what would you consider sensitive electronics? Any other electric devices or appliances that people should be mindful of when considering your drastic, yet effective suggestion? Finally, any idea if your refrigerator will get damaged or its life reduced from it be turned on and off - at lease in the situation where an OC controlled SmartPlug is connected to it?

    Perhaps @Brooks B knows the answer to the last question...
  • dstjohn99dstjohn99 Member Posts: 371
    Lol, I had to move a smart plug last night so the DVD didn't miss my wife's show at 8pm. My fridge has been on a smart plug for 3 to 6 months, no issues. My computer has a ups also for my modem, router and voip phone. I mean, who hasn't had a power outage before where everything turns off, then back on. It is a risk, but I grade it as a low risk. Mostly concerned with a power surge which might happen from an outage situation, but very unlikely from flipping a switch. I might try it in the near future, plus I have generator power so we could still watch TV and surf the web. Heaven forbid we should visit the neighbors or read a book by candlelight.
  • @That Son Of A Bitz I haven't seen any evidence or research indicating that turning your fridge on and off with a smart plug (or unplugging it manually) will damage the fridge itself. I think the main concern is food safety, and the FDA reports that a refrigerator will keep food cold for 4 hours without power as long as the door is kept closed: http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm076881.htm (scroll down to "Power Outages: During and After")

  • Don PaulDon Paul Member Posts: 13
    edited December 2016

    Not sure if any of these are new but here are some of our #OhmHour strategies:

    • turn UP the thermostat on our SubZero refrigerator / freezer 5ºF... which typically turns both refrigerator AND freezer compressors OFF during the #OhmHour... and we simply turn them back down 5ºF to "normal" (30ºF refrigerator & 0ºF freezer) when the #OhmHour ends
    • turn our outside patio Viking & Kenmore "beverage" refrigerators OFF
    • turn our hot water heater recirculation pump OFF
    • turn off my 24" external LCD monitor and only use the built-in LCD display on my MacBook Pro
    • unplug my MacBook Pro from its 90W AC adaptor so it only runs off its built-in lithium ion battery
    • turn off the power strips powering all the AC adapters, cooling fan, external HDs,
    • have OhmConnect automatically turn OFF our 6 Wiser Smart Switches before each #OhmHour
    • postpone watching TV by letting our shows record to our TiVo and watching them after the #OhmHour is over... or watch our shows during the #OhmHour on my iPad using it's built-in lithium ion battery instead of our high current Denon receiver, 65" Panasonic plasma HDTV, and 7.1 channel Martin Logan speakers & subwoofer
    • grill dinner on the BBQ instead of cooking with electric. Yes I know it probably isn't as green but you can't beat the flavor of Alaskan sockeye salmon smoked on a cedar plank... and it lasts for DAYS meaning no additional energy is expended
    • go for a MTB ride (if its light) or a walk (if its dark)
    • stop work early since #OhmHours usually occur at 5:00 or 6:00 which is earlier than us self employed people usually stop working 8-)

  • laurelrpatton-comlaurelrpatton-com Member Posts: 21

    We have turned off the circuit breakers for more than the past 20 OhmHours, so we've used 0 kw. But report says we have averaged 32% savings. If this is true, how is it every possible to reach 40% savings? We can't lower it more than 0 kw! Is this an error?

  • John KJohn K Lake Forest - Hikers and Bikers TeamMember Posts: 585
    edited July 2018

    @laurelrpatton-com said:
    We have turned off the circuit breakers for more than the past 20 OhmHours, so we've used 0 kw. But report says we have averaged 32% savings. If this is true, how is it every possible to reach 40% savings? We can't lower it more than 0 kw! Is this an error?

    Do you by any chance have solar? If so, your percentage-saved calculation for status determination is "special". The methodology is detailed in the FAQs section.

  • PQ_savePQ_save Member Posts: 1
    All of California has had a very hot summer. I often hear my neighbors A/C running all night when the temps drop to 70 or below. Getting a whole house fan is a great way to pull in the cool air from outside and can save a dramatic amount on energy usage. This works because the hot attic air is displaced allowing more efficient heat transfer cooling the roof, walls, etc which maintain heat from radiation heat transfer during the day.

    I keep tabs on the outside weather temperature with weather underground which tells me the local temperature closest to my home. As soon as the outside air drops below my 78F A/C set point, I open windows and use fans to cool the home
  • laurelrpatton-comlaurelrpatton-com Member Posts: 21

    We are solar users, and we've been turning off our circuit breakers every OhmHour. So far so good, but I know that some time our forecast is going to be in the negative range, like -.01, from generating power. We can't use less than 0, so our streak of 33 will be broken, and I guess we'll lose our Platinum status.We'll use tokens to get the StreakSaver when we have enough. Is there anything else we can do? It takes quite a while to get 8500 tokens. Any tips?

  • John KJohn K Lake Forest - Hikers and Bikers TeamMember Posts: 585

    @laurelrpatton-com, set your availability hours in your SETTINGS to only include hours when generation is zero or almost zero. Then you will never have a forecast below zero. Otherwise, as you say, you will inevitably lose your streak.

  • cwiedcwied San MateoMember Posts: 141

    @laurelrpatton-com - if you flip all your breakers except your solar breaker, you can still get negative usage. Of course, the shortening days are not helping you with this, so the advice to exclude hours where you have a negative baseline is a better one.

  • laurelrpatton-comlaurelrpatton-com Member Posts: 21

    Thank you John K and cwohmcon. We will check if we are still producing energy through solar after 6 pm. Currently, we have our settings set to 6 pm-7 am. Are you saying that as the days shorten, we should be setting our OhmHours to begin later? Or do the OhmHours automatically begin later as the days get shorter? Thanks!

  • cwiedcwied San MateoMember Posts: 141

    My main reason for mentioning the shortening days is because your baseline is set from the past 10 weekdays' usage. If you had more solar in the past 10 days, your baseline may be harder to achieve because the difference in solar production will work against you. I have my hours set to 7-10pm to avoid the hours where I have significant solar production (and negative baselines).

Sign In or Register to comment.