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 very well when it comes to energy efficiency and saving power. We have a tendency to upgrade the T.V. but not the home. I see it over and over again on my Energy Audit trips, the home has little insulation in the ceiling but a huge flat screen T.V. in the living room.
Things are changing, energy conservation is beginning to become more important as the world needs more and more energy at an increasing cost. The object is to combine the two worlds.
1. The first thing to do is recognize the old home is in need of a few energy conservation up-grades.
2. Make energy conservation up-grades so your home is no longer living in a time when T.V's were black & white with rabbit ears.
3. Then use the electronics available, like in a modern T.V., to help control the energy efficiency of your home through basic home automation.
Somewhere along the line, we need to start at the beginning. If you or I moved into a multimillion dollar automated home, we just might get lost in the touch screens and microchips. Since most of us had to mortgage the kids to get the flat screen T.V., it is probably a good idea to start out slow - more in the do-it-yourself, advance at a rate allowed by your wallet and credit card, speed.
For under $20 dollars you can purchase a Kill a Watt meter. The Kill a Watt meter will allow you to have some fun testing your appliances and devices to see just exactly how much electricity they use. If you test the pink refrigerator you purchased for $5 at the yard sell and find it is costing you $400 a year to operate, you might decide it would look better at the recycle depot than your garage.
Power Strip and Surge protector. I got mine from my favorite hardware store. Make sure it is the kind that can recognize phantom power use and will turn circuits off completely. Now, when I turn off my T.V., the power strip automatically turns off all power to the satellite receiver, DVD player, game box, surround sound, and the old cassette player needed for old family video's.
If not turned off completely, electronic devices continue to use electricity. This continued use is called phantom power.
You know the bathroom ceiling exhaust fan. The fan you keep reminding your kids to turn on and off. The switch for the fan usually looks just like the light switch. Often times, the light switch and fan switch are placed on the wall side-by-side. To further your connection with home automation and a healthy, more efficient home, replace the fan switch with an electronic timer switch.
Under $20 bucks at the hardware store, the switch can be replaced by the basic do-it-yourselfer by reading the installation instructions that come with the switch. The kids will be more apt to turn the fan on since the switch looks like a video game and the switch will then automatically turn the fan off after a set amount of time. The fan then runs long enough to pull the moisture out of the bathroom, but doesn't run all day until someone wonders what that sound is.
There you have it, my suggestions to get you started on the road to home automation. After all, it would be nice to have a home that performs as well as your 2011 flat screen T.V. - 1950's performance just doesn't cut it any more.
Smart Home automation is growing at a rapid pace and has come along way since the first T.V. remote control. The ability of wireless technology and computers to control products and systems is about to amaze even the most avid gamer. Companies are competing to set the standard for energy conservation through Smart Home automation.
If you had trouble getting accustom to automatic transmissions and cordless phones, you had better hang on to your hat, your home is about to amaze you.
Thanks for stopping by Detect Energy, hope you will stop by again real soon, but I won't leave the light on for you...