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Are there cheap DIY methods for producing solar power?
#11
hi the first thing you should do is  do an energy audit to determine where the power is going. The space heaters seem to be the biggest items
Many utility companys will take infrared  snapshot of the house to determine if heated air is escaping  and may have programs to insulate,fix air leaks, windows  for low cost.
How old is the house? Type of construction? About the size of my house  - the addition. All electric? I have gas heat which saves me about $50-$100 a month dec-feb/march.
Inexpensive stuff that can really add u weather stripping doors/windows, can of spray foam for cracks. When I lived in Montana my parents had storm windows which went over the regular windows sorta like a dual pane window. I have a friend outside of Spokane, WA who applys clear heavy plastic on the inside of the windows, again sorta like dual pane.

 later floyd
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#12
(06-08-2020, 09:36 PM)floydR Wrote: hi the first thing you should do is  do an energy audit to determine where the power is going. The space heaters seem to be the biggest items
Many utility companys will take infrared  snapshot of the house to determine if heated air is escaping  and may have programs to insulate,fix air leaks, windows  for low cost.
How old is the house? Type of construction? About the size of my house  - the addition. All electric? I have gas heat which saves me about $50-$100 a month dec-feb/march.
Inexpensive stuff that can really add u weather stripping doors/windows, can of spray foam for cracks. When I lived in Montana my parents had storm windows which went over the regular windows sorta like a dual pane window. I have a friend outside of Spokane, WA who applys clear heavy plastic on the inside of the windows, again sorta like dual pane.

 later floyd

Energy audit is always good idea. I was asking about air source heat pump and was told I need energy efficiency certificate. In UK, if you install heat pump, the government pays renewal heat incentive which equates to the cost of the system installed after 7-10 years.

If the surface temperature is below freezing for big chunk of winter, I would suggest looking at Ground source heat pump rather than air source as ground is typically warmer even in winter.
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#13
Having a $300 electric bill for a small 900sqft means there's a lot of inefficiencies elsewhere.

Michigan is cold and has high snowfalls. It's a challenge for solar during winters when panels are covered by the sun and have cloudy short winter months. I use a 12000btu mini-split heat pump that costs around $900 (self-installed), and it replaced electric baseboards. Works great on temps 40F and above. But if it goes below 30F, especially 20F it barely turns any heat at all yet using a lot of energy. At that point it will use the same energy as a space heater. Otherwise at 40F or above it's about twice as efficient. Natural gas heating is the most efficient.

I second all the above comments about insulating. Double insulate your attic. This is the easiest thing to do. Caulk or great-stuff any holes. Lower your thermostat. Most houses are comfortable at 70F. Also if you're quite DIY and have a basement, possible looking at radiant floor heating using hot water tubing under the floors like the living room and bedroom. Hot air rises so most of the time the room is hot at the ceiling but when you are low on the couch or bed, you feel cold because the heat is above you.

Bottom line is solar will not magically bring your electric bills down by just throwing a few panels and hook it up to a space heater. In fact, even with DIY, the return on the investment is measured in years (unless of course you get the materials for free!).
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#14
(06-09-2020, 12:09 PM)not2bme Wrote: Hot air rises so most of the time the room is hot at the ceiling but when you are low on the couch or bed, you feel cold because the heat is above you.

Totally recommend putting a circulator fan in every cold corner of the house. Put it on the floor, as low as possible, and point it up towards the ceiling. Get big ones and run them in the slowest(quietest) setting 24/7. The cold air blanketing the floor will get blown up and mixes with the hot air collecting at the ceiling. The rooms will feel MUCH warmer, allowing you to lower the thermostat by several degrees... and that saves much more electricity than the fans consume.
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