Don Ames's Blog (43)

10 Ways to Cool a House Without Air Conditioning

Sleeping on the front porch after a hot summer day was a straight out necessity. The upstairs of the 1940’s farm house had turned into a sauna and sleeping in the upstairs bedrooms was not possible. Even after the sun went down, the upstairs seemed to get hotter. Let's look at some ways to cool a house without air conditioning?

Now that I spend time trying to figure out how a home can be more energy efficient, I think back to those hot summer days and wonder two…

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Added by Don Ames on August 22, 2012 at 8:30pm — 3 Comments

Will the Green Button Report Real Time Power Usage?

When I think about real time power usage data, I am thinking about data that is being made available that very second. Data that is being reported in real time is like watching a football game live. You know that the running back just added 10 yards on to his total because you just saw the run on the T.V. That's real time.

It is being reported that the Green Button program being offered by many power companies allows customers with a Smart Meter to see their power usage in real time,…

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Added by Don Ames on August 9, 2012 at 8:00pm — 6 Comments

Pushing This Green Button Will Lower Your Power Bill

Let's take a closer look at the Green Button and see if it is more than just an adult toy. According to Obama and other government supporters, the Green button is going viral. Ya, right, I don't believe it.

There has been several efforts in previous years to get power companies to "sign on" to programs that allow electric and gas customers to see how much energy they are using right there and then. The theory is that households that have energy usage data readily available will use…

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Added by Don Ames on August 2, 2012 at 8:06pm — 12 Comments

4 Mini-Splits and Heat Pump Efficiency, Will It Work?

Yes, I drive tractors too. Along with the home energy audit work, I’m a farmer at heart. I received a call from a gentlemen that needs some help backfilling and leveling out the dirt around the foundation of his homes new addition.

Now that the ground is dry enough, I load up my 24 horsepower Kabota tractor with bucket, attach the tiller and head over to his place. I find an old original house that was constructed shortly after the wagon trains arrived. Attached to the side is the new…

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Added by Don Ames on July 22, 2012 at 12:32pm — 1 Comment

4 Things to Check Before Installing a New, High Efficient Heating System.

I had just completed a home energy audit and learned that insulation levels and air sealing measures were up-to-speed. After crawling into the attic, performing a duct blaster, checking the temperature of the hot water, and a bunch of other things, I had come to the educated conclusion that this home’s best chance for improved energy efficiency and lower energy bills while heating the house would include replacing the heating source.

The 80% gas furnace is in the garage right next to…

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Added by Don Ames on July 4, 2012 at 10:38pm — 7 Comments

Visually Inspect Your Home For Energy Saving Gold

Whether you are a “do-it-yourself” home energy auditor or a seasoned professional, learning about a home from an initial visual inspection is an important tool during an energy audit of home which can highlight energy saving opportunities. The visual inspection is the first indication…

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Added by Don Ames on July 2, 2012 at 3:47pm — 1 Comment

How To Reduce Energy at Home

9 Steps to a More Energy Efficient Home and Lower Power Bills



How to reduce energy at home has gradually become a household desire as a result of high definition T.V.'s and homes the size of a castle. Throw in a struggling economy and the melt down of a nuclear plant and becoming more energy efficient seems like a great idea.

Our power bills rise as a result of increasing power costs and the need for more and more power to operate are power hungry homes and…

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Added by Don Ames on April 11, 2012 at 7:32pm — 2 Comments

Home Energy Audit 111 Years Old

by Don Ames,   www.detectenergy.com



I gathered up my auditing equipment and headed off to a neighboring community to perform a home energy audit that was constructed in 1901. Before I head out of the office and leave the comfort of my desk computer, I look up the home through County Records to determine about what year the home was constructed, about how big the home is, and if records show any remodel years.

When records indicate…

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Added by Don Ames on April 4, 2012 at 10:33pm — 10 Comments

The Five Disadvantages of Solar Power Again

Does Solar Power Have Disadvantages? How Can Anyone Say This About Renewable Energy?

Posted by Tom Delconte on www.homeenergypros.lbl.gov

Comments by Don Ames, www.detectenergy.com

Tom posted the 5 "disadvantages" listed below. I did not agree with the list so I thought I would post them as Tom did and then add my comments below each one. Be sure and join the discussion by posting…

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Added by Don Ames on March 20, 2012 at 10:30pm — 1 Comment

Energy Audit And Energy Saving Measures For A Big Home

The Energy Audit is Complete: The Homeowner Chooses These Energy Saving Improvements

by Don Ames,   www.detectenergy.com

Now that the 5 year old has put down the foam dart gun and stopped crawling in and out of the blower door, it's time to make some energy saving recommendations to the homeowner. After completing an energy audit of the home, it is usually fairly easy to start the conversation with the owners on what they should…

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Added by Don Ames on March 18, 2012 at 10:20am — 3 Comments

Three Steps to Get You Started on Do-it-Yourself Smart Home Automation.

Three Devices That Will Get You Closer to Saving Energy Through Smart Home Automation

by Don Ames,   www.detectenergy.com

I have been enjoying the advertisement on the radio that goes something like this, "If your home was built in the 1950's, why would you expect it to perform better than a T.V. built in the 1950's?"

The point is well taken if you are interested in energy conservation. Homes built in the 1950's do not perform…

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Added by Don Ames on March 10, 2012 at 8:15pm — No Comments

Energy Audit: Hot tubs and Shortcut Return Air Ducts

Energy Audit: Now Recommendations for Energy Saving Up-dates

by Don Ames,   www.detectenergy.com

Now that we have the hot tub and the hole-in-the-wall under control, it is time to go ahead…

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Added by Don Ames on March 6, 2012 at 1:33pm — 4 Comments

Home Energy Audit With a Hole in the Wall

Why is there a heating register 4 feet up on the wall?

by Don Ames,   www.detectenergy.com

In my last article, I spoke about a home energy audit and the hot tub on the back deck. Remember, it was a manufactured home with a great deck overlooking a roaring hillside stream. Next door, the neighbors were the countryside recyclers, at least I suppose that's what they might call themselves.

Personally, I think I would call them by a…

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Added by Don Ames on March 1, 2012 at 11:30pm — No Comments

Energy Audit and 5 Hot Tub Energy Saving Tips For Winter

Hot Tub's Ready to Go, Using Power All Winter

by Don Ames,   www.detectenergy.com

Finding a new address can be a little rough out here in the country. It doesn't help when the Google Map misses the important fact that a road is actually a dead end and it doesn't connect with another road like Google thinks. So I find two dead end roads instead of a nice continuous loop. And, as is always the case, I am on the wrong dead end. Oh well,…

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Added by Don Ames on February 20, 2012 at 3:21pm — 4 Comments

Is There a Smart Home in Your Future?

iPhone to Home: It's All About Communication and Home Automation.

by Don Ames,  www.detectenergy.com

Right now, it's more of a joke than a reality. For some reason, even with an iPhone or Tablet in our hands, we fail to realize the fact that someday, in the near future, we will all be living in a Smart Home. Yes, for a while, it will probably be like coming to terms with our first…

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Added by Don Ames on February 18, 2012 at 4:45pm — No Comments

EcoDog: Part Three: The Bottom Line on FIDO Energy Monitor

FIDO Says, "I will show you where to save energy."

by Don Ames,   www.detectenergy.com

I have been spreading the news about a home energy monitoring system called FIDO by EcoDog Energy Monitoring. This is part three of a three article series. You may be interested in backtracking a little and checking out part one, 13 strong points to …

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Added by Don Ames on February 10, 2012 at 11:28am — No Comments

5 Things You Want in a Shower Head, 3 Things You Do Not

by Don Ames,   www.detectenergy.com

When I am at a residence in the middle of a Home Energy Audit and it is time to clock the flow of water at the shower nozzle in the master bathroom, I always feel like I am getting a little too personal. Have the people found what is the best shower head or are they using a gully washer of an energy waster. Have these people ever asked themselves, What is…

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Added by Don Ames on February 4, 2012 at 8:13am — 1 Comment

How to Insulate Windows for Energy Efficiency and Peace of Mind

One of the reasons we have windows in our house is for mental health. Can you imagine what it would be like to live in a house with solid walls and no windows. I saw a similar living arrangement on T.V., they called it - being put in the hole - it was a movie about a prison.

When it comes to natural light and being able to see what is happening outside, windows would be hard to live without. When it comes to energy efficiency and…

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Added by Don Ames on January 29, 2012 at 10:30pm — 2 Comments

What is Air Sealing

What is Air Sealing and How can it Save Energy?

by Don Ames, www.detectenergy.com

Air sealing is important because air leaks through the walls, floor, and ceiling of your home. Air leaks out of your home when the air pressure inside the home is greater than the air pressure outside the home. Air also travels from hot to cold. The bigger the hole and the greater the pressure or temperature difference, the more air…

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Added by Don Ames on January 23, 2012 at 12:01am — 1 Comment

Heat transfer: How Heat Gets Out of Your Home and Costs You Money.

by Don Ames,  www.detectenergy.com

Heat flows out of your home in two ways, transmission and air leakage. Transmission and air leakage occur through all surfaces of the home - walls, floor, roof, windows and doors.

The amount of heat transfer depends on two factors: thermal resistance and surface area. Thermal resistance has to do with the quality and quantity of the material in the walls, floor, roof, windows, and…

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Added by Don Ames on January 10, 2012 at 10:00pm — No Comments

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