As utility companies are inconsistent with their prices and is a rollercoaster of being double price one month and half price the next month- and local taxes making up approximately 50% of the bill- I am looking for way to reduce my dependence and useage on these monopoly companies that do whatever they want.
Wintertime in Beginning of 2014 was astronomically high with "Polar Artic Vortex" costing me alot of money and utility companies overcharging for their fuel and electric and water etc.
So in response to my high winter bills - I super insulated my windows with styrofoam pieces leftover from things I had purchased over the years. Sometimes I would cut the pieces to fit like a jigsaw puzzle. Normally - there is no tape holding it all together - just a snug fit between all of the pieces. But still leaving plenty of small "breathing holes" for the window - so condensation is not an issue. I used some plastic foam sheets which were pink for the lower portion of the window and taped it using packing tape to the inner windowsil - makes it sticky over time - but the cost savings are worth it. Interestingly the pink foam has faded to white over several months of exposure to the sun. It used to be a florescent deep red/pink - now just white.
Click on a photo to make it larger
I have learned that I can use Elmers School glue to glue together styrofoam. I can make a "jigsaw puzzle" out of small styrofoam bits - by gluing it together. Also my new cat (former stray) likes to scratch the styrofoam at the lower portion of the window. She makes a big pile of styrofoam bits as she learns that shes an indoor kitty now. So I leave where she has clawed alone - and even cut that portion out somewhat higher. So Im leaving a portion of the window bare - for the cat. Im writing this just a couple days afterwards - and for 2 days straight - she hasnt dug/clawed at the styrofoam in the window - because I made the lower section styrofoam-less. Interestingly - she had a bit of styrofoam in her tear duct area of her eye - which I managed to get out carefully - which was not easy as she is not tame yet. She was covered in styrofoam - she was like a blender BLBBLBLBL digging at the styrofoam.
Super Insulating Windows
My furnace blower motor was so overworked that it would conk out. Then I would spin the blower just slightly and then it would run for a while and conk out again. See there was a dead spot in the armature. And just be sheer luck (like a roulette wheel - if it landed on that spot - it couldnt start again on its own) SO after a month of nudging it forward - hoping it would make it through the rest of the winter - it died completely. I was lucky that a local installer of heaters sold me a motor - which he says by law he is not supposed to sell me. I was in a jam and I gave hime few extra dollars for his kindness. Otherwise I would have to pay to replace the whole heater. When in fact it only needed a new blower motor.
Incidently - I did plan ahead by buying a big-auction-site motor but the seller send me a random piece of industrial control instead - the seller was not paying attention. When I needed it the most - I would have had no motor - if the local person didnt sell to me.
Also some sellers which I ordered a new capacitor from actually sold me defective - probably saved from a furnace replacement job and then sold as new falsely. When I needed a capcitor the most - the online sellers failed me.
The blower motor project in its entirety is here (copy and paste it or just click on "appliance repair" in my above links)
But my point is that this blower motor is very powerful and in hindsight - I really and truly am saving a TON of money just by everyday use of this powerful 1/2hp blower motor instead of a 1/3hp motor. See my furnace manual states that it can use a 1/3hp motor or 1/2hp motor. The old one even 10 years ago never blew hot air out of the floor vents. It was always lukewarm "room temperature air" This new blower motor is really strong and blows a powerful hot air out of the floor vents. I can honestly say that I was spending money for no reason on heat and electric because for 10+ years. I had a blower motor which was not strong enough and so the heat was going up and out my furnace exhaust pipe and chimney.
My tip for readers is to
1. Buy the most powerful blower motor your furnace can handle - see your manual
2. Make sure your capacitor which goes to the furnace is a good one (many sellers tried to sell me junk- internal leakage/shorts)
My heating bills were drastically lower this year 2015. My electric bill was not higher- it was actually lower because the heater would have to run less often.
My new blower motor allowed the furnace "Rest periods" and was able to keep up - just barely - with the EXTREME COLD in the Chicago area. I also ran 4 electric 1500watt small heaters to help. This made my Gas and electric bills sky high - it took me months to pay back my utility bills. My bills were 2-1/2 times above typical. The utility companies were stating that gas would be a a record low that winter - but they delayed the rate reduction as it didnt help that year at all. 2015 had a rate reduction on my utility bills - but my new blower motor and a mild winter 2015 means I got socked in 2014 with all kinds of high bills when rates were at their peak. They also played with my meter reading skipping a month!! So it forced payment a month early.
The utility companies had a SOCK-IT-TO-ME approach and was very costly. I am looking for ways to do without them or minimize dependance on them. I remember the governor of Illinois declared it a State of Emergency- and what did the utility copanies do about it?
The utility companies Socked it to me as much as possible. This page is about showing you what I did about it. Some things were equipment and building maintenance related. Other things were just plain theft on the part of the utility companies.
This is what a furnace blower motor looks like. Notice the "squirrel cage" style fan. This is the motor/fan which draws air from the furnace and sends it through your house or building.
Click on picture to make it larger.
Also I adjusted the vents throughout all rooms - to compensate for the extra airflow to each room. I reduced the vent opening to some rooms closest to the furnace. Since the new motor has plenty of muscle at 1/2hp it pushes air even to the furthest away room from the furnace. By reducing the airflow to some rooms closest to the furnace - this allows the air to reach the last rooms. By strategically adjusting the openings of the vents - I now have even heating in every room.
I have added a piece of sheetmetal which I custom shaped to fit inside the vent (tin snips and a Harbor Freight sheetmetal punch which I modified to my work benchtop mount - see my CD-ROM "Build a Bottle Jack Punch" at the top of the page which also includes details on how I built this
here is the link to my for sale CD-ROM on how to build / modify several punch styles (copy and past into your web browser or go to the top of this page and click on "Build a Bottle Jack Punch"
This sheetmetal almost blocks the airflow to the first 2 rooms. I added this sheetmetal inside the vent - because even with the vent fully closed - taht room was getting too warm.
Here are 2 photos of the sheetmetal I added inside the floor vent. I punched some holes in the sheetmetal stratigically until
the room had just the right amount of heat. So I punched an increasing amount of holes (or you can drill it) over a couple week period of time. The mess is from my opening and closing the vent. It is an old building built in the 1960s so it has real plaster and crumbles into dust which needs vacuuming etc. That big hole was there before it is interesting what you find when you remove the vent. I now leave the vent fully open as the punched holes regulate the airflow all by itself. The velt is just a cover now. I have done this to 3 rooms closest to the furnace because they were getting too much of the airflow and getting too warm.
Click on the photo to make larger
I have purchased 2ea LED light bulbs from Home Depot and 1ea LED filament type light bulb from big-auction site. Both types are dimmable and I am experiemnting with their replacement for standard edison type tungsten light bulbs. Most of the rest of my lighting is CFL "curly-Q" type light bulbs. There were 3ea bulbs which I didnt replace due to a light fixture with a dimmer which caused a hum or poor operation in CFL - so I just left those to the old style bulbs.
Also one of the three bulbs is in a ceiling fan and only a standard light bulb fits within the glass globe. I couldnt put a cfl in there because it wouldnt fit. I found a big-auction-site listing which showed a new type of LED bulb which has strands of yellow colored LED material. The shape of the bulb looks like a standard edison type light bulb and the dimensions shown in the ad - were just slightly shorter than a standard edison light bulb. So that was the bulb I bought and it fits well with the globe of the ceiling fan's light.
Since my electric utility is playing games with rollercoaster drastic up/down price changes in rate changes month-to-month. I am making an effort once again to reduce my consumption.
I will update this section once I have more experience with my utility bills after the switch to the 3ea LED bulbs.
There are 2ea standard light bulbs still remaining - those in the outside light fixtures. I am hoping the yellow-strand LED type bulb will be reliable as it seems like a good candidate for possible outdoor use within a sealed light fixture. I didnt want to use a CFL bulb there due to moisture and humidity. But in the case of the yellow-filament LED enclosed in a lightbulb clear glass - there doesnt seem to be any electronics inside the yellow-filament light bulb. So it may be simple and sealed enough to make me thing it can be good for this application too.
The 6500k light temperature is like a tube fluourescent bulb color - very white and slightly blu-ish. It is a noticeable difference from a standard filament editson-type bulb in color of light output.
2ea Kitchen bulbs 60 watts each (standard edison tungsten filment) replaced by 2ea LED bulbs from Home Depot at about 15 watts each. The light output is very comparable to a standard lightbulb and is dimmable to a much smaller range but makes no buzzing noise. It is a savings of 90watts.
The ceiling fan had a 60watt standard editison-type tungsten bulb and was replaced by a 9 watt clear glass bulb with several yellow colored LED filaments inside. The light output is totally different from a standard tungsten bulb. It is a bluish light and just slightly dimmer than before. The difference in color makes me think it is brighter than before but I think it is just an illusion as it illuminates things differently. I welcome the cost savings and also I was changing the old edison bulbs in that fixture too often due to fan vibration and being sealed in a glass globe builds up heat. I hope the LED bulb will be cooler and last longer and cheaper to run.
Another reason why I chose a LED rather than CFL - is because the ceiling fan light is just about 4 feet from the top of my head as Im typing this. I spend quite a few hours a week checking email and keeping up to date on my website and seeing the news and youtube. My point is that my EMF meter which measures magnetic fields - goes bonkers when it is anywhere near a TV screen or a CFL bulb or an electric cord (especially a cord which is plugged in a coiled) I dont think a magnetic field is harmful - but just to be absolutely safe - I just never put a CFL bulb where it would be anywhere close. SO until now I just left that ceiling fan with a standard edison tungsten lightbulb. I feel that the yellow-filament LED bulb is a good choice and I will see how things go.
Using these light bulbs will save about $1 dollar of electricity per month. It will actually take a long time to recover the cost of the bulbs. But I actually was expending about 6-7 light bulbs per year in burned out bulbs. So the savings is actually hgher than $1 - with the light bulb cost - it will probably be closer to $3 per month in future real cost savings (taking into account all of the LED bulbs in this batch of bulb conversons).
The 8W filament light bulb was flickering yesterday on/off every minute approx and now today doesnt light at all - the filaments just glow dimly. I estimate that I used this bulb approx 1500 to 2000 hours within a ceiling fan glass globe. It is possible the bulb became hot in an enclosed globe and failed prematurely as it is supposed to have a 25,000 hour life. I purchased a replacement China bulb today for $3.02US including shipping from big-auction-site. There are lots of sellers playing games with the price and when you enter the wattage/voltage/etc specs then the price jumps up. I switched sellers from last time as the price was double and it only lasted a year- so I'll try a different sellers product this time. Regarding my electric savings yes my bills are substantially lower by using LED bulbs and my other cost cutting - lower use/lower watt products etc. The only downside is the light bulb itself is expensive and didnt last too long. It may be that I need to find a ceiling fan globe with air vents so the bulb doesnt destroy itself. Ill post the results next time around after the replacement light bulb fails???
The standard light bulb socket for USA is E27 so while searching on big-auction-site I chose E27 Filament LED bulb and my preferred light color is 6500K which is a bluish - like a flourecent tube color gives off rather than a reddish tint. The 8W bulbs have 8 strands inside and a glass clear globe.
The above shows a 2W bulb wrongly received. I ordered an 8W full-size bulb, so Paypal gave me a "valued customer" $3.10 credit. But even so I will probably find a use for it - whats good about it is - its flickerless and dimmable. 25W equivalent.
I received my LED bulb from international and I phoned Paypal to inform them I got the wrong bulb, They credited me $3.10 back. I didnt get the bulb I needed to replace my defective room light. But I did test it on a watt meter and dimmable lamp - and this 2W miniature bulb didnt flicker and flash. So maybe I will put it in my outdoor light fixture instead - its too wet outside now and I dont want to get electrocuted standing on a chair - screwing n a lightbulb in a puddle of semi-melted snow/slushy snow, This wrongly mailed 2W light bulb was probably a problem for the seller - as I see they pulled their 8W bulb ad. "Listing is no longer available" and paypal just credited me as a "valued customer" so who knows what I'll do with this mini light bulb ... probably good for a refrigerator as it is so small - about the size of a ping-pong ball. 2W is not enough power to light a room- really dim. I have an outdoor light fixture with a 25W regular bulb in there - this 2W bulb may be equal to that. So I got a 2W mini bulb for free. I wasnt looking for free- Paypal did that on their own. Whats strange is the original ad had a drop down menu selection for 4W, 8W 16W etc and 2W wasnt even listed on there. So - lets say I like this light bulb - I wouldnt even be able to buy another. What is good about it - it doesnt flicker when dimmed - some other light bulbs do. Right now I have a bulb in my side door light and that one flickers. Maybe I'll find a use for this wrong bulb - maybe I'll juggle around my existing bulbs between fixtures and see if I can find a fixture in which the flickering bulb - doesnt flicker. And then put the flickerless bulb in the fixture where the fixture requires a flickerless bulb. Ill wait for colder weather - then the water will be gone and wont be a problem.
I installed the filament 8w light bulb in my outdoor light fixture and in-betweeb the screw-in socket and the LED bulb - I put the same dusk-to-dark adapter as before. But as I installed it at approx 5pm yesterday - it was mostly off with a momentary flash every 3 seconds. I removed the dusk-to-dawn white adapter as I feel that this adapter somwhow reduces the electricity but does not comepletely shut off the flow of electricity. I noticed that when I put this LED filament bulb in my kitchen light fixture which has a rotary dimmer knob control - the LED was flashing and not compatible with this dusk-to-dawn screw-in adapter purchased from a home improvement store about 10years ago - it was not made for LED bulbs.
So I just installed the LED bulb all-by-itself in the fixture without a dusk-to-dawn adapter. For now it is powered on 24hgours a day since 2 days ago at 4W draw.
I am looking online for a dusk-to-dawn adapter online intended for LED bulbs and I found on on big-auction-site for approx $7 and will order that sometime soon. In the meanswhile my LED bulb is on continuously - for not other reason than to test it. It is very bright even in the daytime I can see the bright white filaments glowing. At night it gives off a MUCH brighter output than a 25W cadelabra bulb. I plan on upgrading my other 2 outdoor light fixtures with similar LED light bulbs but since those are on motion activated - they are not big wasters of electricity since 99% of the time they are off anyhow.
Crawlspace vent Covers
I have been covering my vents for the last 2 years and I have 2ea pieces of thick black foam (saved from shipping box packing material) which I store in my shed which (in wintertime months) goes in between the cracked tile and the vent. I sandwich the vent with a piece of wood, a piece of foam, a cracked in half ceramic large floor tile and a cinderblock. The vent is also closed during the winter/cold months. I leave one vent without this hoopla on each side of the house. But the rest get this hoopla of cinderblock, wood, foam, tile so it seals extra well against heatloss. I still want the crawlspace to breath so I leave one vent alone - but still closed. I feel that this makes the floor a little warmer and probably saves some on heating costs. As I write this it is August and late summer is here. I have taken a few photos - cobwebs and dried leaves debris - very natural unpretentious photos.
12V Lighting and Motorcycle Battery and Solar Panel
I have been experimenting with the use of 3ea 12V LED lights 9 watt 12 watt and 30 watt LED bulbs purchased from big-auction-site. My total cost for these three bulbs was approx $35 including shipping from China (my local post office charges alot for shipping and this low shipping rate is amazing and impossible to us living/working here in the USA)
The 30Watt bulb is amazingly bright and costed $24 approximately and ther other two were very cheap in comparison. But the 30watt is VERY impressive and actually produces ALOT of light and is VERY bright - exactly the brightness of a 60watt bulb -possibly a little brighter even. And yet it only draws 12V DC at .7 amps
For the last month I have been experimenting with charging a small worn-out motorcycle battery that was only fit for recycling - repurposed for LED lighting.
I have a whole web page devoted to this solar related project here on this page
(copy/paste into your browser to view this - or just go to the top of this page and click on "Solar Panel Power"
Here are a few photos of the LED bulbs and small solar panel. All of this costed approx $162 and I decided to put it to use in providing light just above my kitchen sink. This means there is a mortorcycle battery sitting on my countertop. I will need to find a nice case/enclosure for it - so it is not so ugly. The battery lasts approx one week of LED lighting and the solar panel charges the battery in 2 hours in direct full sun (cloudy day or shade from trees takes much longer time to fully charge).
I carry the solar panel in/out and battery in/out and just attaches with alligator clips for power.
The above photo shows a lit 9 Watt LED 12V hanging bulb which I purchased from big-auction-site for approx $5 and is connected to a 12V motorcycle battery (on the kitchen countertop) which I charge by using a solar panel. The 9 watt LED bulb is the most economic (of the 3ea that I have) and gives off the least amount of light. I am using it today because it has been cloudy/overcast for a few days and so Im conserving my battery power by using the least power hungry light. This bulb consumes .30 amps approx per hour. The battery is a 12V 18Amp battery (unknown current capacity) which is older and is no longer storing power at full capacity - but still ok for lighting purpose. It puts out about as much light in my kitchen as if I were to run the AC overhead light on the Dimmer set to low. If I need more light - I can just connect the 30Watt bulb or all three at once to give about 47watts. But in conserving/maximizing battery power I am using the 9 Watt bulb this evening/night.
Cooking Pot Strategies for Energy Conservation
My small single handle pot wore out on the inside as the teflon is all chewed up from careful use of about 10years. I purchased my new pot at Dollar General local store and was about $10-15. When I got it home I removed the clear packaging and found that both handles had issues - missing a screw and both cracked. I used epoxy and reglued the handles and found a replacement screw in my inventory of misc screws and nuts scavenged over the years.
The new pot is a 4.5quart and the old one was somewhere around 2 quarts. For example on the old pot I could make one package of spaghetti and that was its maxuimum capacity. The new pot fits 2 packages of spaghetti exactly. So my new pot is exactly double the capacity.
I decided to buy a bigger pot because I wanted to cook less often and figured it would free up my time more. But what I found is that it actually takes longer to cook in a bigger pot. Also I have to turn up the gas burner higher to get the water to boil in the same amount of time which is about 14 minutes to boil. Also cooking takes about 1-1/2 times as long.
Maybe there is a small savings in natural gas use - bigger pot/smaller pot? Im not quite sure if it is cheaper to run a big pot and have food for 2 days - or if it is cheaper to cook daily in a smaller pot. I dont know - I have always used a very small pot for cooking.
Another source of wasted energy is when refrigerating the leftovers from the meal. I noticed that I put away food in the refrigerator when it is still hot. I wasnt conscious of this until today. So I left the still hot food - on the OFF stove burner to cool for half an hour. At half an hour it was still hot. So I waited an additional 15 minutes before I put it in the refrigerator (still hot). That is something I will need to practice/refine a bit more. I need to figure out just how long I need to leave food out after it is done cooking. It seems that for a big pot of food - I can leave it out for 45minutes and it is still hot.
Why is this important? Wasting energy is something that I have been doing for decades. I need to improve in this area. See the stove burner heats the pot and contents for a long time and eventually cooks it. The cooked pot of food is an energy storage for heat that continues to give off heat back into the room. If I put this hot pot of food into the refrigerator - the refrigerator expends energy to cool it (running electric motors, fans, electric compressor withcooling fluids/gasses). Also the cooking pots heat is completely wasted.
What I intend to work on is - recycling the heat from a cooking pot meal - by leaving it on the stovetop for at least 45 minutes - then that is XXX number of BTUs of heat put back into the room - naturally with no further expended energy.
There is a certain point of diminishing returns - leaving the food out too long invites bacteria or health issues. I dont think 45 minutes is at that extreme for my own cooking pot (food is covered and still hot). But see I was putting hot food into the refigerator - immediately after serving. And that is certainly counter-productive in terms of refrigerator energy use and heat loss into the room.
Remember Im in Illinois and most of the year (75% is my estimate) is somewhere between cool and cold. With just a few months of summer. Summer seems to pass quickly - mostly cool or cold here in my opinion.
Also another issue with cooking - is draining the water - the water is a storage for heat and dumping the hot water down the drain is a heat loss also - wasted BTUs of heat. In the past I was draining my noodles 2-3 times- and what for? No particular reason - just cooling off the noodles. Today I tried it a different way - just draining the excess and then leaving it hot and adding ingredients and sauce. So my point is draining the water 2-3 times - is a source of wasted room heat and wasted water.
I remember watching cooking shows that mentioned draining your noodles reduces "starch" it is kind of ridiculous because noodles are made of flour and the whole noodle is "starch" and that loose flour water also can clog your drain. So I tried it a different way today and drained the extra and didnt add any cold water to repeat flush/drain. The "starch" is a goo which when drained helps give more defined noodes rather than a flour paste.
I didnt see any difference in the food quality - by just draining the excess water. That excess water is plenty full of flour and is cloudy white. Of course I ran the sink to wash it down - otherwise it is "paper mache" and certainly would clog the drain eventually. My point is that conservation of water, and heat retention back into the room are things I overlooked in the past. The cooking show from years ago about "starch" was a hinderance to me financially wasting energy and resources down the drain.
I dont know if a larger pot or smaller pot is best - but is something to think about - regarding energy conconservation. I will also need to rethink pouring starch down the drain as that is not good for the drain. Sometimes the things one learns needs to be unlearned. I need to think about these ideas to see if I can improve on them - for saving energy and keeping costs down.
I bought a package of chicken legs/thighs for about $5.50 and I just never fry food (hard to clean it and what do you do with all of the leftover oil) - what I do is put the chicken legs in the covered frying pan and put seasoning and put about 2-3 coffee mugs filled with water so it doesnt stick to the pan. I also cut slits in the chicken all over so it cooks faster and thoroughly. So you have to eat it with a fork because of all of the slits as it just falls apart. I usually put in the refrigerator HOT but Im more conscious about energy now. So Im leaving it sit on the stove for awhile to let the room absorb the BTUs of heat. Putting it in the refrigerator hot is a total waste of heat. The kitchen is much warmer after cooking and smells like chicken soup.
So leaving the food out - heats your kitchen, slitting the chicken helps cook faster and more thoroughly, you get the BTUs of heat from it by leaving it out for awhile hot. But not so long as to promote bacteria etc. I find that a neighborhood cat likes to lick the leftover chicken grease.
If I didnt put all those spices on my chicken - this could probably be used as a stinky substitute biodiesel / diesel fuel if the water content was evaporated by continuing to heat the pan after the chicken was removed - which drives off the water more. But I wanted to save energy so I didnt continue to heat afterwards. Its not biodiesel fuel for me - just an organic waste.
Also on the tangent of using chicken fat as a fuel - todays chicken fat and a wick can be used to cook tomorrows meal (so to speak - in theory) - Im just saying that - I wont actually do that as it is too extreme. Im just making an off-tangent off-topic remark. Im just cutting my utility bills - not in all-out survival mode.
I discontinued usining the 4.5quart pot and lid "dutch oven" purchased from a local small corner store. The teflong was flaking off the bottom and the steel underneath was rusting immediately when exposed to water. Junk and I was finding flakes of teflon in my food. Not suitable for using any further. I hae switched to a glass cooking pot with long andle and lid which I had in my cabinet. I didnt use it before and so far I like using this glass cooking pot. I find that my food doesnt stick to it too much and can take the stove's burner flame heat just fine. It is a little smaller capacity than my former 2 pots- maybe around 4 quarts or so estimated. I have been using it about 1-1/2 weeks without any issues.
I have learned to do the following to save water and natural gas while cooking noodles/pasta/spaghetti. I can measure the exact amount of water to boil/cook so that draining is virtually un-necessary because the food itself absorbs the water. Draining excess water - wastes a small amount of water and also can clog your drain overtime. Also more importantly the heatloss in the winter means you spent 1/2 hour heating water only to pour it down the drain. By not pouring it down the drain- letting your food cool off on its own - means you recovered that heat (unknown amount of BTU of heat back into your kitchen and house - this means your big heater/furnace doesnt have to work as much then next time it cycles on. Your food is providing heat to your room as it cools to room temperature. Why waste that heat by pouring it down the drain? Why waste that heat by putting hot foods in the refrigerator?
Another point is that I have learned to shut down the stove heat 5 minutes early. So the noodles/spaghetti/pasta whatever is on the menu for that day - is not quite cooked and slighlty OVERLY ALDENTE x too hard/undercooked so what Im trying to say is the the food is not soft enough and needs about 5 more minutes of cook time. Why shut off the flame 5 minutes early? Ive learned that if I cover the pot completely and the flame is off- The food cooks anyways. The water is hot and the food is hot and it cooks the rest of the way on its own. So - the last 5 minutes of natural gas powered stove heat/cooktime is pointless and gets wasted for no reason at all. A fully covered pot - gets the same results. This technique works for me because I eat cheap foods and who konws if this tecgnique is applicable to other foods. Reader be careful to fully cook your food to avoid undercooking and possible safety issues of eating unsafe undercooked foods.
Some of these techniques are also applicable to Rice - putting just the amount of rice and water leaves no excess water to drain.
Standard Light Bulbs and "Wasted Energy as Heat"
While writing about my cooking pot energy conservation - I remembered the Edison Tungsten filement light bulb and ads and articles concerning the advantages of CFL lighting and LED lighting over the old-style light bulbs.
But still - in Illinois where it is cold and the furnace is turning on/off throughout the day and night to maintain heat. Is a lightbulbs heat "truly wasted" in Illinois? No, I wouldnt consider that lightbulb generated heat wasted at all. But since natural gas heating is considered more cost effective than electric heat- a certain amount of maximizing your dollar still goes to the CFL and LED lights - but still the edison old bulb - didnt waste energy - not in Illinois anyways because that heat was used to warm up a room - 60 watts of heat isnt a whole lot but it contributed to the warmth of a room.
SImilarly - a TV set, computer, appliances such as water heater, washer/dryer, dishwasher, etc - those all generate heat and in the 75% of the year where the outdoor temperature is cool-to-cold - that heat contributes to the BTUs needed for the building to maintain a certain termperature. Heat generated by devices is not "wasted" but may not be the most efficient energy expenditure to produce that heat.
As Im typing this - my furnace is powered off completely as it is late summer (a little cool out and fitting for windbreaker type jacket use) - and I have a desktop PC which certainly generates heat. This room is warm and compared to the adjacent room - is substantially warmer. The PC and CRT monitor serves 2 purposes - computing/internet and heating the room. Is the generated heat wasted? Would I be better off buying a laptop and then simultaneously turning on the heater/furnace? Those are questions to be answered as I delve more into energy savings - I will figure it out. As Im getting more conscious and strategizing about saving energy.
Refrigerator/freezer as an Energy Waster
Refrigerator/freezer as an ICE box
As I experiment with solar panel and charging a motorcycle battery. I have come to realize that the 2 most wasteful energy electrical hogs are
1. The furnace blower motor 750watts typical
2. The Refrigerator/freezer 130-175 watts typical
I have thought of how odd it seems to have a cooling box inside of a warm building - when the outside air is cool. It would seem to be most energy efficient to put the refrigerator/freezer outside during winter months - but that also invites refrigerator damage/motor damage/corrosion etc.
In winter months the heat generated by the refrigerator/freezer actually contributes to the BTUs required by the building and is not truly wasted - although may not be the most effective dollar-wise way to generate that heat.
What I have come up with is
1. During winter months I will put ice blocks into my refrigerator or freezer to relieve some of that workload on the motors and compressor.
2. I will use a thermal imaging camera to look at the refrigerator and identify weak areas in the refrigerator/freezer design
3. I will monitor the refrigerator and look at how much energy is consumes - by using a Killl-a-watt meter
In the olden days (before my time) people didnt have refrigerators - they had ice boxes. The ICE truck would deliver ice blocks and it would keep the household groceries cooled for a time (unknown how long that ice block lasted???) I would imagine the truck would not deliver Ice blocks in winter months in Illinois. It is very possible at that time Ice boxes were kept outside in wintertime - before current laws about removing the door for safety.
I have also read articles where ICE was stored in olden times all year round by making a huge mountain of snow and ice and covering it with a layer of dirt. The ICE trucks would use this to deliver ICE even in hot summer months - and the ice/snow mountain covered with a layer of dirt - acted like a freezer maintaining some ice to be harvested later. Recently in 2015 I read an article where a large city ran out of room to put the snow plowed and the huge piled up mountain of snow lasted through spring and summer months - finally the last of it melted in July. The recent article confirms that this is possible to do. I wont be using this information to keep snow longterm - it is only FYI information which shows how Ice trucks and Ice boxes were used.
So putting a block of ice inside a refrigerator/freezer is very similar. For the 3+ months of cold in Illinois - it is possible to freeze ice packs outside and then reuse that cold inside a refrigerator/freezer simulating an Icebox. I plan on leaving the unit plugged it as there is no need to go totally without power for this experiment. The sealed ice packs have a distinct advantage over water ice - no residual water soaking the food or water spillage.
Putting a refrigerator outside invites critters, and deterioration of the unit, also village or city ordinances wouldnt allow a refrigerator to be outside - and would invite citations and fine - that would defeat the money savings. Also there are laws which prohibit a refrigerator/freezer being outside unless the door is removed (for safety of someone/something accidently being locked inside). So a refrigerator/freezer cannot be outside - for various reasons.
Department stores sell small plastic boxes filled with a gel that is a sort of reuseable Ice cube intended for picnic and camping food storage "ice packs". I have a few of those already and may seek to buy more for this purpose of creating ice during winter months and transferring that cold inside the refrigerator/freezer to offload the electrical power requirements of the unit. I usually have a tremendous amount of empty space inside my refrigerator and freezer door where these ice packs can go. "Free coldness" produced by nature which then doesnt need to be artificially created.
Natural Gas Furnace Use is My Biggest Energy Cost Annually
The furnace to heat my 1400square foot building is by far the biggest energy expense and costs several thousand dollars each year. I have several other gas appliances (water heater, stove/oven but that accounts for only a small percentage of the natural gas monthly bill. This year I have been paying for natural gas winter bills from Late Winter 2014/Early 2015 even until now (August and still $300 remains) and I still have 2 more months of catchup payments to go.
My strategy for turning on the furnace is changing as the utilities hike the prices in a roller coaster manner. I plan on turning on the furnace later in the fall - later than usual. And I plan on turning off the heater earlier in the springtime.
Here is a drawing of the furnace usage - I drew this with Microsoft Paint. The red areas are times when the outside temp is above freezing and turning off the furnace poses no risk to the building - in terms of freezing water pipes or other damage. In otherwords the red areas are opportunities to shut the furnace off - and choose an alternative heating strategy. Red means furnace is optional and alternative heating methods is what I need to learn during this "red areas"
I am looking into alternative heat such as kerosene or propane. Electric heaters such as my 4ea 1500watt heaters purchased from home improvement stores proves to be too expensive to run. I estimate that each one running all month long would cost $100 in electricity/taxes/fees as I have experience running one full time in previous years in my cats sleeping room - and it adds about $100 when I used it there.
I have always avoided Kerosene use due to fumes and vapors which can be harmful to my health. But the skyhigh utility rates have me thinking about these again. Currently I am looking on Craigslist and big-auction site for a small approx 10,000 btu room heater to experiment with during the "red area of my sketch" time of season where the outside temp is above freezing and this means I dont need to heat the whole building- and section off a portion of living space - to be heated.
As it is getting chilly at night this time of year - Im writing this note to show you how the outside temperature affects indoor temperature. Indoor temperature was approx 72 degrees F with the windows closed and Im currently wearing a fleece jacket similar to a sweatshirt jacket. The outside temperature was probably 5 degrees lower at night than in the daytime. When I opened my windows at approx 10am I watched the indoor temperature go from 72 degrees F to match the outdoor temperature of 73 in just about 15 minutes time. I am using only my digital thermostat, and I have no outdoor thermometer at all. The indoor temp and outdoor temp feels exactly the same now. My point is that opening the windows on days which are warmer than indoor temperature is a way of using nature to heat the indoor temperature. This heat is retained a long time by closing the windows before outdoor temperatures cool down. I have not removed half of my window insulation (several months ago) still from winter- I removed only that portion which prevented me from opening the windows. When it gets too cold to open windows - I will put back all of those "jigsaw puzzle pieces" of foam back in the window. Whats left of the foam in the windows helps me retain heat at night. At that time I will also replace the removeable window screens with removeable glass panels - as I always put this glass in for cold months and put screens in for warmer months.
Earlier this month was about 2-3 days of tremendously hot days and I chose not to turn on my central air conditioner those days. I normally only run the air conditioner only on those very hot days each year. I estimated in each of the previous years that running the air conditioner costs abourt $10 per day. I ran a box fan instead and a small double window fan instead - probably using about 1/10 (my hunch) the electricity of a full size air conditioner. On those hot days I was sweating prfusely as I painted the outside windows and part of the wooden railing and was plenty sun burned - which is now not even a tan.
I have been trying to stay very lean on my utility bills for the last month- the furnace would normally have been turned on at this time of year - but I have left it off to conserve energy/expenses. The sometimes chilly/rainy weather outside has started to change the green tree leaves into brown dried leaves - falltime leaves on the ground have commenced.
I have been using a technique for heating my house which Im going to call "Active Solar Ray Management" which means that I open window shades/blinds when it is a sunny bright day during the hours the sun is directly entering a window. When the sun elevation or location changes later on in the day - a different set of window shades/blinds is opened - and the windows which no longer face the sun - are not closed.
This solar heat is easy to lose - as a window not facing the sun - becomes a heat loss if the shades are not closed. So far I have retained mostly reasonable temperatures at the lowest around 63degrees F. For example - my living room big window blind was drawn open at about 9AM and at that time the inside temperature was 63degrees F. And in a matter of 1 hour to 2 hours the room temperature is approx 66degrees F. At around 10:30 to 11am approximately (depending on the weather outside) I the close the blinds to retain that heat.
This doesnt work on cloudy rainy days - so sometimes it can be in the very low 60s inside and what heats up the living space is cooking - and I have learned to leave the cooking pot on the stove to cool thoroughly and when I dump excess water - the sink drain plug is closed off so I can use that heated water's warmth to increase the inside temp by a degree etc. This method keeps my bills low. It also means that I clean my sink daily.
In a matter of a couple of weeks - the outside temp will get cold enough where supplimental heat from the furnace or a space heater will be needed. But my actively trying to set-back by a month or more - the point where I turn on the furnace - this will help me save a bundle on utility bills.
I should also mention that local weather was very warm and summer like approx Sept 10 to 22 approximately as it rained every 4th day or so then the sun came out and the moisture in the air retained the heat. So it was in the 70s alot of those days outside and cooled off quite a bit at night. I used the outdoor air to heat indoors by strategically opening the windows when it was warmer outdoors than indoors. As Im writing this on October 1st - I can say that the last-minute-summer weather are gone and now it is surely becoming falltime as the winds outside are blowing leaves and trees beginning to shed their leaves.
I was experimenting with my Coleman Catalytic Heater (to find an alternate cheaper heating source) which produces 3000 to 5000BTU and was made in the 1970s. It is primarily used for ice fishing but I occasionally use it in my drafty garage for a short period of time to preheat. I have never taken it inside the house before and I wanted to see how it would perform on this 59degree F day.
I put it outside on the asphalt driveway and filled it up with 1 gallon of Colman fuel (it was completely empty stored) and I put a few drops on top and lit it with a Bic plastic lighter. When the flames dies down until out too abot 8 minutes and I took it inside but after about 5 minutes I saw that it wasnt going so it tried again.
I held the catalytic heater upside down for 3 seconds and then put it on the asphalt driveway and lit the top with a BIC plastic lighter and it had flames for about 10 minutes. This time it ran fine and I let it alone for about 10 more minutes and ten brought it inside.
It put it on my kitchen table and the strong smell at 3000btu made me raise the BTUs to 5000 and that reduced greatly the obnoxious smell. I ran it for about 1 hour and I wanted to see if it was a suitable emergency heating source. I noticed the unit generated ALOT of heat at the top of the unit and so I put two small 120v fans blowing at an angle at a point about 2 ft above the heater. I ran those fans to circulate the heat and also so I wouldnt get a soot spot or overheated ceiling paint.
At about 45 minutes I decided to open an air soure as it was getting VERY smelly and so I opened the pane of glass on my screen door. This allowed fresh air to come in. At 1 hour I ended the experiment as I "cant stand it" the smell was bad and intolerable.
I put the unit outside on the asphalt and covered the catalytic heater with its snuff out cover. I left it there for about 1 hour before bringing it in the garage for storage.
I have come to the conclusion that it makes too strong of a smell to use indoors. I also felt like taking a nap as it was warm but I decided to take it outside as something bad could happen.
As I aired out my house with the screen door pane fully open I saw my temperature gains literally go out the window. Its kind of pointless to heat a room 4 degrees in 1 hour and the have to ventilate thoroughly and after all that only a 1 degree gain in temperature remains. Sheesh.
Temp starting off 59 degrees F
3/4 hour later 64 degrees F
After ventilating 61 degrees.
It didnt seem to have used hardly any Coleman fuel in that hour. The efficiency is fine but the smell is overwhelming and should be used only where there is a large draft. I dont recommend it for indoor use. I didnt like the 3000BTU setting and it makes your eyes burn and water if you are near it - especially above it. The 5000BTU mode runs much more efficiently and my eyes didnt water or burn at the high setting while in close proximity.
Stinky and creates poisonous vapors gas (especially at 3000btu low setting) - not for indoor use.
I ended up turning on the furnace for a day as being without heat for 2 weeks on chilly days like 58degrees takes its toll- So right after the kerosene Coleman heater experiment - I decided to run the furnace and warm up. Its amazing what 5 degrees can do for me and I felt much better after a day of warmth. Then I shut it off again.
Using odds and leftover bits of foam pieces - like a jigsaw puzzle - I made a cover for my kitchen door window pane. The foam bits were taped together using clear packaging tape on both sides of the foam. I taped around this "makeshift foam pilow" to stick it to the window frame. I normally just have a quadruple thick lace curtain - but this yeaqr due to extreme gouging by the utility companies I decided to go all-out and insulate everything that is a heatloss. When the lace curtains are let down (I moved the curtain to the side to snap this photo) and the sunlight shining through - It is a rainbow of colors RED WHITE AND BLUE.
Ironically the big styrofoam sheets are saved from the packing material surrounding my 1ea Kyocera 120watt solar panel which I purchased approx in July of this year from big-auction-site. That solar panel purchase just keeps getting better and better and will save me more money than the $117 I spent on the solar panel. The big styrofoam pieces were mostly clean But It looked like the seller leaned it against some prickly leaf bushes and some spots were muddy. I trimmed off portions of the big styrofoam pieces and picked out by hand all of the prickly spines and put them in the trashcan. About 2 square foot of the styrofoam sheets was too awful to bring indoors and was trimmed away as waste with a utility knife blade. I wasted as little packaging material as possible.
Also about a month and a half ago - I used outside white caulk to seal around my front window as the old caulk was cracking in areas and I didnt want a wasp nest to begin growing inside the cracks. It is now fully re-caulked and looks much better than before. I also applied a coat of paint on top of the paintable caulk. I used white Rustoleum paint for metal as I feel it is a very tough hard paint to paint over the re-caulked window perimeter.
I put 2ea small 13watt 120V fans behind the kerosene heater as the ceiling is about 4 feet above and I dont want to scorch the paint or make soot there. The fans dissipate the heat so well that I can hold my hand above the heater indefinitely and it is just room temperature. When the kerosene heater is on I turn on the fans. When I turn off the heater - the fans are turned off. I heat for 1-2-3-4 hours depending on the coldness of the day. I use the 2ea D size batteries and built-in igniter to start the flame. I find that using the batteries and igniter produces ZERO soot/smoke clean starts. If I use a BIC lighter then a puf of black/gray soot smoke rises. Using the batteries and igniter is the cleanest right way to start this. I have cycled mine off/on throughout the day restarting and relighting and the batteries work great (came with these same batteries from the seller Rayovac Alkaline) and I have personally shutdown and relit my unit several dozen times. Very easy and clean with batteries. I turn the knob all the way clockwise and then push the ignite button and back off the button after 1/2 second. If it didnt light then I push the button again and turn ad hold the spring action knob fully clockwise and look for flame in 1/2 second. Sometimes I double tap the ignite button. I know this sounds more difficult than in real life. It just takes a half second to light it. No big deal. Nice and clean as the chimney covers the flames when you start it. The glass chimney catches the smoke and soot during light up. If you peek under the chimney - you will let the smell and soot out. I jusy leave the chimney where it is supposed to be. I turn it side to side to make sure it is seated correctly. In 2 minutes the chimney and glowing dome cover are red hot and glowing. It doesnt take but 2 minutes to be fully up and running and full efficiency.
Here is the PDF file for owners manual
Size : 868.586 Kb
Type : pdf
The newest addition to my utility saving strategy is the purchase of a used Indoor kerosene heater. It is a "Northern model 3601" 9100BTU with a removable 1 gallon tank. It was rusty and full of bugs and spiderwebs and even some cocoons. I carefully disassembled it outside and cleaned everything with a cloth and green cleaner and toilet paper. The reflector was very rusty and all of the chrome plated steel grille and trim pieces were rusty. I put alot of time and energy to polishing that chrome and surprisingly it all came off. There are microscopic pits where the rust was but the chrome is nice and shiny and is VASTLY improved in appearance over the condition it was in when I bought it. The seller dropped it off and my complete total was $35 for it. It had a small amount of fuel in its sump and was able to test it. I had 2ea 1 gallon cans of k-1 Kerosene from previous years purchase in my shed. I also had a 6 gallon water can which I painted with black spray paint then another layer on top which is blue. So now I have the capacity to store about 8 gallons of k-1 kerosene. At this time I have had this kerosene heater for a couple of weeks and have used about 3 gallons worth of experience.
My observations - 1 gallon lasts about 2 days of on/off/on/off ... use allowing the big LP furnace to run at night and in between times. I get approx 16 hours of use on one gallon and probably because I overfill the tank just slightly whereas the label on the unit says 13hours per gallon.
I went to the local Citco gas station and partially filled up as many containers as I could for approx $25 at $4.29 per gallon. I brought the coleman 1 gallon container with me to the gas station - but I found the the pump nozzle would not fit into the coleman can - so I didnt use it. I partially filled the containers because I learned from my 2ea brand new 1 gallon steel cans - from my storage - that full cans produce spillage. So when I reused those containers - I only partially filled them. I see some kerosene pumps online but at this time I dont own a pump. If I go that route then filling the containers all th eway to the top would make sense as spillage is virtually eliminated with a pump or siphon method.
My observations -
When properly adjusted - the dome on top will glow evenly bright orange/red with no black spots. I have found that I turn my adjustment knob all the way to the right and then back off just a smidgeon to the left about 1/2 inch for best results. The side label shows not to use the heater when flames are too low or too high. If I put it all the way to the right - then I can see a tiny amount of flame beyond the dome. I adjust it so the dome is fully glowing and back off just slightly until no flames are visible past the dome. I am very glad to have a kerosene heater with a glowing dome as it makes adjustment much easier. Newer heaters dont have that and alot of old heaters dont have that. When I was a total newby to kerosene heaters I didnt have any idea about which heaters were better or worse- I just went for the low price and local - in the future I plan on getting one more kerosene heater and I feel very strongly about the importance of having a glowing dome. It resembles a tea collander but is made for my heater and has prongs which fit into grooves on the ring which is part of the glass chimney assembly.
I also noticed that alot of sellers online on big-auction-site go to great lengths to cammoflauge the are just above the chimney - it make you wonder - does that unit have a glowing dome or not?
1. Lens flare covers that area
2. Manual layed on top of kerosene heater with edge hiding it
3. Blurry or dark photo
My hunch is that people are SELLING off kerosene heaters without domes - either that model didnt come with it or the dome is missing/misplaced/notg included. I suggest the reader get a kerosene heater with a glowing dome cover.
My electricity use has gone way down as I use my solar charged motorcycle battery and 12v LED light bulb for most but not all of my lighting. I use the laptop computer on standard AC power. The laptop has a decent/still good battery and I can honestly say that I used my laptop for a hour on battery power because I forgot to turn on the ac power strip one time about a week ago. I also flip off the power strip when Im not using the computer - the power strip powers my laptop and AT&T DSL modem. When I want to use the computer or check email - it takes a minute or so to load the operating system and by the time it is all ready for use - the DSL modem has come online also - it also take a minute or so for the DSL modem to fully power up and come online. I see no point in leaving it on all the time when not in use. I have already had to fix the power adapter once so I learned my lesson against leaving it on all the time. If you want to see how I fixed the power adapter see my link at the top of the page "hard problems easy solutions"
I purchased a second used Kerosene heater from Craigslist seller (different seller) and spent yesterday disassembling and cleaning up the heater inside and out. The seller also included a very gunked up 2-1/2 gallon kerosene container missing a spout. The thread is the same as my gas can so I use that cap while cleaning out the kerosene plastic container. I siphoned out most of the old kerosene from the heater and used that to swish inside the grubby kerosene can - which had yellowish tarlike gunk and what looked like leaves and debris (missing a spout and maybe they kept it outdoors) Even after swishing it with kerosene for a long time there is still bits of debris stuck to the inside sides so I will let it soak and then try swish around some more.
The latest kerosene heater is a Kero-sun Radiant 8 and after cleaning that same yellowish gunk which was all over under the metal shroud and mechanisms etc. After cleaning with green cleaner it looks nice and operated smoothly. I removed the top shroud and bottom tray. I didnt remove the wick as I planned on reusing it. The wish was CRUSTY with carbon charr. I was so crusty it was like a dried paint brush with dried paint on it. I siphoned as much out of the tank as I could and then left it outside in a nice open area on my asphalt to burn out the wick. It is mproved ever so slightly but still resembles a dried paint encrusted paintbrush. I decided to fill it with 2 gallons of kerosene and use it inside and maybe by using it - the wick will improve. If it still needs burnout of wick when empty - then Ill do that after the 2 gallons are used up.
As I write this I have used this second heater for about 6 hours total - some yesterday and some today. It seems to be getting slightly better with use.
Im making a wild guess - that the seller used some oddball fuel and not the right fuel - thats probably what the yellow gunk was - some additive or residue from incorrect fuel. The wick was horrible and still is. But Im hoping to try and save the wick and restore it.
After the 1st burnout of the wick with zero fuel left (I did this yesterday) I put some Kingsford charcoal lighter on my wick (just a little all around the top of the wick) and cleaned any drippings with a tissue. Then I lit it and let it burn out once more. I noticed a very slight improvement in the wick after 2 burnouts but the difference before and after was just somwhat - so I decided at that point to try and run 2 gallons of general use.
Before I did the burnouts I had a hard time lighting the wick and when it did light the flame would not spread all around and would just stay in one spot without coaxing. After the burnouts the flame spread by itself but it was slow to spread. My other heater spreads the flame quickly around the ring.
I noticed after 6 hours of use and starting and stopping ... normal use over 2 days that it lights better and the flame spreads by itself. I see an improvement- still not as good as my other units better condition wick but good enough for now ... The fault is not the unit itself but the crusty wick that really should be changed out - but Im trying to make do with what I have as I spent $75 for it and another $15 for a brand new wick is not what I want to do right now.
I put to use the 2-1/2 gallon gas can which I cleaned out today. I strapped the 6 gallon container and 2-1/2 gallon container to a dolly and walked to my local CITCO and purchased 8 gallons at $4.29. I filled the removeable 1 gallon tank from the Northern 3601 outside and also took my Kero-Sun Radiant 8 outside to fill the 2 gallon tank. It was drizzling rain so I wiped down all steel parts with a towel to prevent rust.
I should also mention that since the 2-1/2 gallon can was missing the cap - I made use of a 5 gallon cap and spout from an empty gasoline can which was the same size. I didnt want to push my luck by filling all the way to the top and then waste some on the way home while strapped to the dolly. I filled the containers minus 1/4 gallon approx in each container to avoid mishaps. This time at the gas station a car was parked right in front of the kerosene pump and so I pumped fuel in the drizzle rain due to that. I also didnt flip the pump off inbetween filling each container - by having both cans ready to go and then removing the nozzle from a can as I monitored the gallons pumped so far on the CITCO Kerosene pumps LCD display. 8 Gallons per trip is much better to have this extra 2-1/2 gallon container. If I double the number of containers it would mean less walking trips in the winter months. My dolly probably could use some kind of welded add-on to allow for extra containers - I will have to put some thought into transport/storage of larger quantities of Kerosene. For now Im pleased to have on hand 8 gallons.
I pushed in the removeable 1 gallon tank's cap with a small screwdriver to release the vacuum/pressure as this makes removing the cap easier.
Similar to opening a pickle or other jar - releasing the vacuum before you attempt to unscrew it is much easier (I pry a butter knife slightly just under the pickle jar metal lid - until you hear Woosh) Similarly I released the vacuum in tha kerosene removeable tank cap as last time I was fighting to remove the cap. I pushed in the small round automatic stopper so I didnt damage it. I pressed the screwdriver in the exact center as there is a detent there and the screwdriver didnt mar or scratch anything on the cap as I was very very careful.
I am running just the Northern 3601 on warmer days and both heaters on chilly days. My opinion is that the Northern 3601 runs much more efficiently and seems to consume less fuel. The wick on this unit is in much better condition and probably why it lights faster and heats up faster and seems to consume less fuel (Im not sure of the consumes more fuel part as I have to keep track of hours of use for this unit to determine the runtime per 2 gallon tank)
When I ran the Kerosun Radiant 8 out of fuel completely in its burnout (did not do this today due to drizzle rain) last time - I notice the fuel gauge was pegged all the way to the Right when empty. When I fill it I watch the gauge until the needle is between the RED square and the F. I will need to add exactly 2 gallons someday in the future - right after burnout in order to see exactly where the needle is supposed to be at full 2 gallons. But the gauge does help in estimating how much is left in the tank. The other unit does not have a Empty to Full gauge - the other unit only shows when you are down to your last few hours left of runtime. I somtimes write down the number of hours running on a scratch paper as I turn off/on the heater throughout the day in order to estimate how much is used/left in the tank.
My out of pocket Kerosene Fuel Cost/gallons used for October 2015
2 gallons of K-1 from my several years old storage I paid approx $11ea per steel 1 gallon can from hardware store (used up)
$23 worth of Citco Kerosene from pump at $4.29 (5.4 gallons used up)
$34 worth of Citco Kerosene from pump at $4.29 (7.9 gallons just got it today 10/28/15 and Ill keep track of the gallons and add here later)
(I keep my big guzzler furnace on standby by setting the temp at 60degrees F but run the Kerosene heaters at a higher temp- the big heater was only used for 2-3 days this month - versus full time furnace use in previous years)
My cat's fur got too hot laying in front of the kerosene heater
I noticed that my cat likes the heat an lays down in front of the Northern 3601 heater and her fur was getting really hot and so I moved the heat so that the heater is at the edge of the thick desk/table so she cant get in front of it. She loved the high heat but I didnt want my cat to hurt herself by that much heat. I repositioned the fans and the heater so there is no standing/sleeping room there for my cat. I dont want to put the heater on the floor as it can get kicked over - so the sturdy table desk is much better and very solid sturdy. It is my hunch that my cat doesnt sense the high temps in her back and doesnt have common sense to move. Or she doesnt have the temperature sensors in her back and so doesnt realize it is hot. So as a pet owner who cares about my pets health - I prevented her from burning herself by orienting the heater so she cannot get alongside the grille or in front of the heater.
I cut a hole in the door to one of my rooms so the heat circulates better from room to room. I cut the hole rather than just opening the door because my pet stay there and would bother my other pet. Sometime you have to separate pets from one another as they fight or mate. Rather than have a hold room I decided to cut a hole in the door and will put a screen there. It needs work so I will take a photo when it looks better and I have dressed it up. Right now it is a hole and I can tell that some heat gets circulated as indicated by the increase in temperature since cutting the hole.
When using an indoor kerosene heater - the doors to rooms not in use should be closed (wont heat with a closed door) and that is fine for most rooms except for sleeping rooms for pets. People rooms can be kept open to circulate air but pet rooms are closed for a reason - pet not behaving or keeping them apart so they dont fight or mate. My hole-in-the-door idea is unique and I just used a pencil to make an outline of where the cuts should go. Then I drilled a couple of holes adjacent to each other so I can fit a jigsaw in those holes. I then cut with a jigsaw as cleanly as I could following the pencil lines. I will need to make some kind of insert to dress up the hole since indoor doors are just 1/8" plywood with cardboard cross members. So right now it is just a hole. I have to still figure out how to dress up the hole. But I can see a difference already in the temperature to the pets room as it is equalizing to the rest of the temps as air circulates naturally from room-to-room.
With the big furnace running (big power hungry guzzler) room to room circulation is not a problem as the big blower motor (750watts) blows air up through the floor vents. but when using 2ea portable kerosene heaters - I CHOOSE NOT TO run the blower motor - the whole point is to save money. If I wanted to run the blower motor I could just flip the switch on the thermostat to FAN mode and the fan would run continuosly circulating the air within the house through each room.
Instead I decided to cut a hole in the door- and will put a vent there. So warm air flows naturally - yet the door with the vent keep the pet inside his room and out of trouble. Dopnt worry he takes turns and visits while the other pet goes in his room. I switch them back and forth thoughout the day - they are never in the same room otherwise nothing but problems between them.
This photo shows the hole I cut out in my door. See the 1/8" plywood? See the cheap cardboard strip sandwiched? There is nothing inside of a door - except air and a few pieces of corrugated cardboard. Cutting it out wasnt difficult - I used a pencil and ruler to make a trace of where I should cut. The air vent helps warm air flow to this room - when I do not run my big guzzler furnace. Now that I have this vent - I can use my kerosene heaters in a central location. I am saving the cutout as a "cork" so I can put it back (under the vent) as needed. This cutout fits right back where it was and is a snug fit. The jigsaw blade which cut it out is very thin.
This is a single package of styrofoam sheets which I purchased from a local hardware home improvement store for $8. I bought two of these but only one is pictured. I used one package to insulate the side-by-side standard windows in the garage and also in my bedroom. The hardware store had quite a selection of styrofoam sheets and some sheets even had a silver side - but I decided to buy the prepackage one as shown as it was cheaper and much easier to transport. Even so I feel like I wasted my money because styrofoam is worth no where near $8 and I normally just reuse styrofoam I get when I order some product as it usually comes free as packing material. But I ran out of scavenged styrofoam and so I wasted some money at the hardware store. Isnt it amazing how little you have to show for your money when you visit a hardware store? I spent $26 on 2ea vents and $15 on styrofoam. $50 and not much to show for my money. Hopefully it will help cut down on my utility bills as the big utility companies are socking-it-to-me and I need to do something to reduce that drain on my wallet.
The edges of one door was letting light in- this indicated that the wood door was
slightly bowed. I made a homemade aluminum L-bracket and punched two
holes for screws. The bracket holds the door tight against its frame
so over-time the bowing will straighten out. After door straightening - the temporary bracket will be removed.
Yesterday I purchased a used (dirty rusty non-working awful condition)- but ad said it was working a beautiful and perfect - from local Craigslist ad - Robeson CONV 20,000 Kerosene heater (tower style) and I have spent a whole day repairing and cleaning it.
The main problem with this heater was the mechanism which makes the wick go up and down was damaged. The previous owner obviously used it for decades and abused the safety mechanism
The safety mechanism button is for emergency use - not for routine daily turning off your heater.
When I disassembled the mechanism I found that the teeth were chewed up and I rebuilt those teeth and reassembled followed by spotwelding the sections back together.
Summary of How I fixed it.
2. Disassembled the round/cylinder section of the burner
a. Used a hammer and small steel rod to straighten the dimples which hold the sections together
b. Used several small flat jewelers type mini screwdrivers to pry the sections apart without damage
c. Rebuilt the teeth which were mangled and worn due to excessive use of emergency shutoff
d. Used visegrip plier to hold the sections in place while testing the mechanism for correct operation
e. Adjusted the fit of the sections until the mechanism worked reliably
f. Used a small 120V spot welder to weld the sections back together - approx same spots as the original dimples were.
4. Installed old BADLY charred and abused wick higher than before
5. Trimmed off the charred area by using a mini flush cutter/diagonal cutter which I use for electronnic repair while making sure the height adjustment knob was not all the way up and still even after the trimming has plenty of height to reach the igniter
6. Used a small flat screwdriver to scrape off corrosion from battery box terminals
7. Started up outdoors and for about 15minutes made ALOT of smoke as crud and oil and residue burned off.
8. After seeing it work reliable and clean outdoors I let it cool completely and took indoors.
9. I found a screw in my junk parts containers which has the correct thread to secure the base to one foot (only requires 1 screw to secure the entire twist-on base)
I sure did receive a can-of-worms from a dishonest Craigslist seller elderly man and delivered in his brand new red pickup and he was a cheater type. But I have a working heater now and Im writing this after repair/running it indoors for a few hours and I know it works.
Here are some photos of the mechanism repair. Im sure if your mechanism doesnt work - most people would scrap/junk the heater - but I was determined to get a working heater for winter. Sometimes necessity is the driving force to my inventions and solution I come up with.
Im proud of my skillset and my workshop. I can fix and build and create almost anything. I dont know of anyone else who has performed this repair. I may be the only one who has solved this problem.
I suggest the reader NEVER use the emergency shutoff for daily use. Otherwise it will wear out your teeth inside the mechanism. The proper way to shutdown is to simply turn the wick adjustment knob all the way to the left/counter-clockwise and the flames will still sputter for a minute or so but will go out. Turning the knob to the left will lower the wick all the way and starve the flame of oxygen.
I see several youtube videos where the NEWBY kerosene heater user is making a video demonstrating the lighting and wick changing on their heater. I have seen videos where they routinely use the emergency shutdown button to turn off heater. That is a bad idea.
If you use the emergency shutdown - you will hear a ratchet violent sound and that RASP SOUND is your teeth being worn away slightly. If you do this alot - your teeth will wear out and the wick will have difficulty going up and down and may have a deadspot where it cant grab anymore. That is what was wrong with my heater. I created new teeth where the teeth were worn down to a nub. Now it works fine. The seller lied to me about the condition. I tested it and saw it didnt work and I saw all of the rust and decrepit condition. But I bought it anyways as I knew I had the special skills to repair it.
I received some BAD ADVICE from my own brother and saw the same BAD ADVICE on youtube from people claiming that you can use Diesel fuel in a kerosene heater. DONT DO IT.
I was running my Robeson CONV20000 kerosene heater just fine and worked ok. Then I ran out of fuel and had only a few bucks left and decided to follow the advice to just use Diesel. I went to CITCO local gas station and bought 2 gallons of Diesel fuel for about 2.50 per gallon and poured it all into my Robeson heater. I wanted to test it on that heater as it is the worst of all three of my heaters and I consider it expendable.
Well it actuallu worked pretty well - for about the first gallon and then worse and worse and worse. About 1/2 gallon left and it barely had any flame at all and was very smokey and strong smell. The wick was getting more and more clogged causing the flame to be smaller and smaller.
I decided to pour out the last of the Diesel fuel into a container (about 3/4 of a gallon) which I have in my shed. I then poured in 2 gallons of clean K1-Kerosene hoping the flame would be higher. But the clog damage was already done and the clean fuel burned no better.
The flame would grow higher if I tilted the chimney assembly for a second - so I decided to make some Kerosene Heater Shims. I made a picturial of this but since my cat threw up ojn my laptop - I am currently typing on a much older laptop which has an older browser not fully compatible with Yola website and doesnt allow me to upload due to diffrences in web browser coding.
I will upload those pictures when I am using a more current laptop. For now my description is here- later I will add those photos.
The basic idea of the shims is to put an air gap in between the kerosene heaters chimney so the flame gets more airflow. I started off my cutting a tuna can and catfood can lid leftover from a can opener - and into strips. I put 4 strips under the kerosene heater chimney to raise it slightly. I played with bending those strips so I could add about a 1/4" approx gap. That airgap gave the flames sufficient height so the heater wouldnt smoke and ran fairly clean.
I am hoping that the flames will self-clean the wick and the kerosene itself will act as a cleaner for the wick over time. It may or may not. But changing out a $10-15 wick is not in my budget and for now having a 20,000btu heater that runs at 10,000btu estimated is better than nothing. I still have 2 more 8,000-10,000btu heaters so having a total of approx 30,000btus of heat on hand is probably good enough.
I kick myself for even trying diesel fuel. The DUMB advice given is astonishing.
Diesel Fuel is light green and looks like anti-freeze. My hunch is that they put antifreeze into diesel fuel in the winter months. Even when my wick was 5 minutes into using Winterized diesel - I noticed the flame was about 80% as tall as when I used straight K1 Kerosene. The diesel fuel for winter should absolutely never be used on a Robeson CONV20000 heater I can tell you that with 100% absolute certainty.
Im hoping to restore the function of my wick somwhat by useage and through use of 4ea shims. I only ran 1 gallon of diesel and I have ruined my wick. The people that gave advice to use diesel have NEVER ran their heater for very long and are eager to proclaim their success. I caution you the reader to never try it as it will ruin your wick. Also what is worse is that you may be depending on that heater for emergency heat - 1 gallon into your emergency heat and you may not have any heat. So that truly is a bad advice.
Since I do not own any diesel powered items (no diesel car or truck here) I really do not have any use for diesel fuel and no where to get rid of the leftover diesel green winterized fuel. It is taking up space in my shed right now.c
I have been researching replacement wicks for my Robeson CONV20000 heater and have begun making a list of replacement wicks. I have a few screenshots but again- since my laptop is an oldie - upload function doesnt work as the websites require certain versions of browsers as a minimum.
Summary of replacement Wicks for Robeson CONV20000 kerosene Heater
21st Century #129
more not listed yet - Im still learning
Note make sure that it has "no pins"
Beware of WAP, AP, AW and so forth numbers are not interchangeable for example #25 and #8 have various AP and AW number and make sure it is an exact match for the above. Also CONV20000 and CV20000 are not the same heater and have different wicks. Ask the seller to make sure it will work with your heater first because they may not return it. My above list is subject to errors and typos. Im doing my best to compile correct info - dont get mad at me if there is a mistake. When searching online you may need to play with the number a bit as 20000 or 20,000 or conv separate or scrunched together as websites have in it all combinations of spellings.
I personally own the Robeson CONV20000 heater and have not changed the wick yet
This is a very common heater to find on big-auction-site and Craigslist. It is normally advertised as a shop heater or garage heater as it gives off a fuel smell and in an emergency is not terrible but for day-to-day use - you are much better off using 2 smaller heaters which have a mesh screen glow dome and glowing coil as that removes smell and fumes. This Robeson CONV20000 does not have a glowing coil and it does not have a glowing mesh- so it has a smell even when working properly. It is not a terrible smell but nonetheless it does have a smell when running. What is good about this heater is it gives off as much heat as two smaller heaters. It needs to be lugged outdoors for refilling. When lit - it gives off smoke and soot for about 3-5 minutes so I put it next to a screen door with a fan pointing outdoors for 3-5 minutes when I first light it. Once it is good and hot - it doesnt make soot or smoke.
There is alot of these style "tower - type" kerosene heaters for sale on the used market. I dont recommend it for daily use due to it not having a glow dome or glow coil and producing smoke and soot on startup. But for emergency heat - works well and may save your life in an emergency. Never use Diesel fuel (mine clogged up my wick after 1 gallon of winterized green color diesel fuel - only use clean fresh water clear K-1 Kerosene)
Summary of replacement Wicks for Sunbeam 3602 and Northern 3601 Kerosene Heater
more not listed yet - Im still learning
Beware of WAP, AP, AW and so forth numbers are not interchangeable for example #2 and #13 have various AP and AW number and make sure it is an exact match for the above. Ask the seller to make sure it will work with your heater first because they may not return it. My above list is subject to errors and typos. Im doing my best to compile correct info - dont get mad at me if there is a mistake.
I personally own the Northern 3601 heater and havent changed the wick yet. This is my favorite kerosene heater as it heats up quickly and glowdome gets up to temp quicker and gives off less smell than my two other heaters. The downside is taking that darned cap off the tank can be a real bear sometimes as I tend to tighten it just to be sure it wont leak- which it never does. But then I have to struggle to unscrew it. The heater works SO WELL that this is a minor thing.
My Northern 3601 heater has developed a problem over the last 2 months gradually losing the wick efficiency. The Glowing dome would be LESS bright on the right side and When igniting the wick with the built-in batteries/igniter system which I always use. When first lit there would be a tall flame on the left side - a very tall thin smokey flame and so I would rotate the glass chimney assembly so that the thin tall flame wouldnt overheat the glass or mesh dome. So by turning the chimney I can get it to glow on the whole thing - you know golw one area, turn the chimney - glow another area - then over the course of about 2 minutes of doing that 0 then I could get the whole chimney to glow properly and then the sputtering putt-putt-putt-sound would diminish. Even after the glowing dome and through glass glowing of the perforated sheetmetal within glowing as it should - or as close to it as I could get it. I noticed that the glowing mesh dome was brighter on the left side (puting back the chimney back to "home" position facing front.
The problem I later discovered as the issue became more and more pronounced/noticeable - There was a crusty area at the 1 o'clock area of the wick where it was a snag-point when lowering and highering the wick to light/extinguish. So this crusty snag-point area creates drag (resembles a dried up paint brush) and doesnt let the wick go up/down smoothly. This crusty small spot (about 1/2") is a charcoal-like crusty area of the wick and doesnt allow the with on the right side to go to full height. So the left side of the wick is slightly taller than the right side. This means that the wick is BAD and either I should change-it-out for a new one OR I can trim off the bad top section and push the wick up further and use that. See wicks are meant to be used Several TIMES - meaning the bad top is trimmed and then wick manually pushed up.
Right now its cold and rainy and I choose to just use my other heater as this one is out-of-commision / out-of-order until I fix the wick. I personally used this wick for 1-3/4 seasons. Who knows how many times the previous owner used this wick? For me it didnt make it through the entire second season and I didnt get a good clean burning for the last month of use. So there is some truth to "change out your wick every season" but I will CURB that by saying that if the wick isnt too bad you can probably get one or more RE-USES out of your wick by trimming (its not a jerry-rig look at a new wick and there is a dotted or solid line which shows where you trim off etc) Ive been shopping online for a wick and seems like it is approx $10-20 for a new wick. Ill try to RE-USE mine - and will wait for good weather to do that job. The nice thing about having multiple heaters is in mild weather of Late-Fall and Early-Spring - I only need one low-power heater at that time. Good to have multiple small heaters. My other heater is working fine and it noticeable cleaner air now by using that one instead. I actually like this one (the bad wick one) more as it runs cleaner - but wth a bad wick - now it runs worse than my other one.
Heres a photo of the Bad Glowing due to a bad spot on the wick (crusty spot which interferes with wick up/down travel)
Its Overdue Time to fix the wick. The camera makes the bad wick brighter than in real life. A good wick is ACTUALLY this bright in real life. My bad wick is actually in real life alot dimmer - even on the good-side which is the left side is not as bright as this. The glowing dome eliminates fumes and by NOT GLOWING well then you have slight smell - and who wants smell - nobody does.
Summary of Replacement Wicks for Kero-Sun Radiant 8 Kerosene Heater
"Can Man Cartoon" Wick #8
Dura Heat DH-200
more not listed yet - Im still learning
Toyostove RS-8 and some Fanco models looks identical or nearly
identical in apearance to my Kero-sun heater with the exception of the
dome or chimney differences. The main unit looks the same or very
similar. I personally prefer a unit with a mesh glow dome and have not
personally tried those other models.
Beware of WAP, AP, AW and so forth numbers are not interchangeable for example #8 have various AP and AW number and make sure it is an exact match for the above. Ask the seller to make sure it will work with your heater first because they may not return it. My above list is subject to errors and typos. Im doing my best to compile correct info - dont get mad at me if there is a mistake.
I dont know the brand name of "cartoon can man" so I will describe the picture logo on the package - it looks like a 50gallon drum with arms and legs and human head with a baseball cap.
When I upgrade my older laptop - I will post a photo. Right now my older browser doesnt allow uploading this photo sorry.
personally own the Kero-Sun Radiant8 heater and have not changed out
the wick. This my second best favorite heater as it gets up to temp
second-best and once it is up to glowing the dome it gives off very
little to no smell. I also like its variable temp knob. I also like its
1.9gallon tank which runs for a long time without refilling. Lugging it
outdoors is not as convenient as a removable tank but has the advantage
of increased reliability against tanks that drip or leak.
After about a 2 week unseasonably warm trend - the weather is all of a sudden getting mighty cold(as it should be here in Illinois) and I noticed my big guzzler furnace shows it was running for 7 hours and it is only 10:30AM. I left off using my small kerosene heaters for lack of money to buy more fuel. I ran out of fuel about 1 week ago and saved the last gallon as a backup in case the power went out.
Today Im using that last gallon as I have a payment which has come in and I plan on buying more kerosene at the gas station later today.
I kept my big guzzler furnace useage very low for the past 2 weeks by setting the thermostat to 60degrees F and using FLeece jacket and knit cap and fuzzy house shoes. 60degrees is mighty chilly and winter 60degrees and summer 60degrees are not the same at all.
I turned on my kerosene heater (one of them) as I need to work on a project and I need it warmer so my hands arent so cold.
I also inquired about a Craigslist ad in which the seller has a K1 Kerosene drum for sale new and unused. The drum is rusty but he says in his ad the drum is sealed. I hope to buy that and I left him an email and voice message. Will see if that pans out. (Update - no response from seller at all and after a short period of tome that ad was gone)
I looked at my electric useage and natural gas useage and is astonishingly low for the last several months
Factors which lowered my utility Bills
1. Strategic use of Kerosene Heaters and Gas Station K1 Kerosene at $4+ per gallon
2. Setting my big guzzler furnace to a (very nearly full time setting) low full time of 59-60degrees F
3. Occasional unseasonably warmer weather 35...47...52 degree days sometimes for a week here and there in Nov and Oct
4. My own vigilence in monitoring and doing something about it
5. Living in a much colder indoor temp for much of the time
6. Strategically sealing and insulating heat loss areas
7. Improving airflow
8. Using frozen water to help refrigerator
9. Using cooked/cooking items contribute to indoor temps
10. Using solar to power an indoor light through battery storage
11. Using low wattage fans where possible
12. Using low wattage light bulbs
13. Unplugging applicances when not in use (even microwave and stove as the clock uses up wattage)
14. Using the sun for heat through strategic window shades/blinds open/close.
(Downside is when I go to someones house they say I "smell like kerosene" and breathing in kerosene smell is probably not good for my health- I attribute that mostly to my big "tower style" heater which gives off profoundly more smell than the other two smaller units)
I took my empty kerosene containers to the local CITCO gas station and paid $40.65 for 9.5 gallons approximately of K-1 Kerosene and lugged it home 1/4mile with a dolly and plastic cans strapped with ratchet straps to secure. I filled up all three of my Kerosene heaters and am currently supplimenting my big guzzler furnace with intermittant changes in the thermostat temp settings and running my kerosene heaters for a few hours at a time. I monitor the furthest point in my house (the garage) with a wall thermometer and when I see it drops too much - then I switch on the big heater. So I am alternating between the portable heaters and my big furnace and sometimes simultaneous running.
One of my biggest concerns is not to freeze my pipes in the garage and under the crawlspace. If I dont monitor the garage (furthest point away from the thermostat) Then the temps could go down to 30s or 40s and same goes for the crawlspace. So when I see the garage has reached 48degrees - then that tells me it is time to turn on the big guzzler heater so it can normalize. Typically when the big guzzler is running the garage is at 55 to 60 degrees F. Going down to 48 is the lowest I have seen it so far - as I monitor it every hour or two hours. It is busy work but otherwise I will have a disaster on my hands with frozen pipes Or I will have high bills - the sweet spot is in between as that saves me money.
All of this monitoring and switching heaters on an off is done manually and does save money but is a reduction in free time and work time. Also my cooking time also helps contributes heat. I feel that buying kerosene is an investment that helps my monthly heating expenses take a less deep chunk out of my wallet. It helps my heating expendatures stretch days or weeks further. In addition it helps to have a reserve amount of fuel in case of a power outage.
Today the temperature dropped drastically and the outside air was very cold and people were walking with scarfs on yet visually the outdoors looked like falltime or springtime. The change in temperature froze the puddles of water leftover from the drizzling rain a couple of days ago.
Although I did fill up the Robeson CONV20000 big tower heater - I didnt fire it up due to the smoke/soot it produces. I ran the other two radiant heaters because they are more clean running and I can switch them on/off without ill consequences to the indoor air quality. For a long continuous run - then I will use the big tower kerosene heater and hopefully clean the wick a little with use.
My observations of Kerosene Heater Use mid 1st use Winter
1. I was hoping to find the gas station selling for $3.50 per gallon as I have checked the past several years online and saw that somewhere in Jan the price of kerosene drops from approx over $4 to the lower level in Jan and then jumps up shortly after - it would be a good time to stockpile a few extra gallons at the cheaper price - but alas I have no big container anyways and I havent seen that low price - but still hoping to see that lower price???
2. In cold month of January I use approx 1 gallon per day to assist my big heater
3. In cold months of previous years my heater could sometimes average 12-14 hours of runtime per day
4. While using the kerosene heaters my big furnace runtime can sometimes be as low as 6-7 hours per day if I babysit the heaters and manually turn off and on while monitoring the extremities of my building to make sure doesnt dip too low.
5. November heating bill was extremely low and I ran kerosene heaters almost soley with occasional days of big furnace use.
6. My kerosene heaters already saved the day for me this year during a power outage - my 3 kerosene heaters working together were enough to maintain heat.
7. I worry about crawlspace getting enough heat so every once in a while I turn on the big guzzler furnace even if the temp indoors is reasonble- I still like to use the big guzzler furnace because I know the heat from the ductwork heats the crawlspace and that way I dont risk freezing pipe damage.
8. I am monitoring the garage thermometer and seems to stay at approx 50degrees F with only big guzzl furnacer use, when I use the kerosene heater it will hover approx just at 40degrees F. I monitor this often and when I feel the garage is getting too low then I turn on the big Guzzler furnace so I dont risk my pipes freezing.
9. It seems to be a money saver despite the $4.29 price per gallon cost - somehow the utility companies use a multiplier and other type service/delivery/tax and connection fees to "boat anchor" my expenses. Use of kerosene heater to suppliment heat reduces that "boat anchor" multiplier-type effect which is a heavy load on my expenses.
10. At $4.29 per gallon I fill up 2 containers totaling 8.5 gallons and lasts a day or 2 beyond 1 week. So roughly $36-$40 per week x 4 weeks is $160 per month in kerosene cost.
11. My winter bills seem dreadfully high with only the Guzzler furnace used and sometimes costs me thousands of dollars per year in heating cost - so this $160 per month kerosene heater use experiment seems to reduce that boat anchor multiplier effect quite a bit.
Today was a power outage day for approx 3-4 hours and I used my motorcycle battery and smallest 3W LED 12V light on/off as needed during that time. I have been occasioanlly charging/maintaining the battery by using a homemade 12V wall type power adapter in which I cut off the connector and soldered on 2ea alligator clips Red/Black and then conncting directly to the battery and charging for an hour at a time while setting an alarm clock to go off for 1 hour. This occasional charging has maintained the battery at approx 12.1volts and is still useful for occasional power outage - which happens 1-3 times on average per year.
The weather last night was like a hurricane with fierce winds and torrential rain. A piece of siding was ripped from the side of my roof. I was drenched as I walked home from errands. This was most likely the cold air in the atmosphere changing over to springtime weather is a big drastic changeover. Today the weather was sunny and springlike visually with extremely windy bursts. The power outage may have been from falling tree limbs on power lines etc - from elsewhere in the county? I need to hire a tree trimmer this year (as finances allow) so that the neighbors tree doesnt severe my power lines during one of these extreme windy days. There is 1 dangerous tree left and it is hanging directly over my power line. I was occasionally going outside to check on the status of the tree limbs today- as I was worried.
I also turned off my furnace yesterday (thank goodness) because of the seemingly stable indoor temperature of 60degrees F for the last week and a half. Running the furnace was still adding about 5-6 hours of runtime of the furnace and this is baffling me as the temps maintain itself- so why is the furnace running that much - Im figuring it out as I go.
For the first week of February Illinois had a severe cold spell and was at that time using the Kerosene heater (let run for 13 hours daytime) and the furnace also. This reduced my furnace consumption quite a bit. Mostly saving on electric costs rather than fuel costs.
The weather forecast for the upcoming week has some low 30degrees F nights so I may have some more nights where I run kerosene or furnace. But the main cold of winter is mostly over.
I am glad I turned off the furnace yesterday as the power outage of today had some occasional flickering of power coming on for a split second here and there. This is enough to blow out furnace boards and other sensistive electronics - so I unplugged and disconnected everything plugged into the wall sockets. My furnace was already powered off when this happened.
There is a story of groundhog seeing its shadow and then having a few more weeks of winter - I dont think that scenario happened this year but nonetheless Illinois had an extra few weeks of winter this year and end of Feb and Early March had some severe winter weeks where it even snowed and then melted etc. While walking I used a facemask/pullover mask as the wind was very cold. The hat/mask is something I should have bought a long time ago and I sometimes use that hat indoors in combination with fleece pullover jacket as I try to keep my costs down. Sometimes at 58degrees indoor temps I can see my breath after a hot meal etc.
I have been going without any furnace heat for approx 1-1/2 weeks as the indoor temperature maintains approx 59 degrees without any supplimental heat.
Just 5 hours ago I turned up the thermostat to 63degrees F just for a good nights sleep. I couldnt sleep much and I noticed the furnace running quite often so I looked at the thermostat and shows 3 hours of furnace runtime. With the outdoor temp being so close to the indoor temp - it seems strange that the furnace would have to work that often.
This is my observation:
As the difference between outdoor temperature and indoor temperature decreases - the efficiency of the supplimental heat decreases.
This could be caused by insulation properties, outside air sucking away the heat more in the springtime than the winter, lack of snow on the roof as an insulating blanket, ineffective blower motor runtime in relation to heat time?
Also just a couple of days ago I opened up all of my crawlspace vents so that the moist ground (due to the rainy season) has a chance to evaporate. This may also be a big reason why the heat is not maintained- I may be losing the heat through the crawlspace vents.
I can only speculate at this point why my thermostat says 3 hours runtime - it is possible that the blower motor being on rather than the furnace flame - but still that is alot of electricity used for such a spring-temp day.
I shut off the furnace before it runs up a large runtime (and increases my utility bill(s) for no reason at all.
I may have discovered how my bills drain me of my resources in months where it is relatively warm- I know how and when this happens now - but still have to figure out why.
Running my furnace in mild weather is a power hog. My furnace's only purpose is to run in the harsh cold conditions.
I just read an online article about kerosene prices and home heating fuel-oil prices and see some graphs and charts about prices this winter averaging $2.75 to $2.25 per gallon in Maine and other states. I can definitely say that I have seen ABSOLUTELY NO DECLINE IN KEROSENE K-1 Price at the pump in Northern Illinois. It stayed absolutely solid at $4.29 per gallon. I was hoping to get a break on fuel prices for heating - but I received only high prices and I can see that pump K-1 Kerosene really should have been sold at a much lower price. I was shorted about $1.50 per gallon or approx 1/3 too high prices. I spent several hundred dollars worth of pump K-1 Kerosene and at least one hundred bucks of that was lost in just local dealer price gouging. I dont have any local source for cheap fuel.
Even so, knowing the gouging prices of utility companies, local gas station price gouging, and my guzzler furnace efficiency quirks ... I have better taken control of my finances and expences. I have drastically reduced my winter bills. There is a pattern that is emerging of when to use the furnace exclusively, when to use the furnace in combination with Kerosene heater for supplimentary heat, and when to use the kerosene heater exclusively, and when to do without supplimental heat and just use nature's heat. I have a rough estimate of this and this webpage chronicles my experiments and observations.
Yesterday I turned on the big furnace again and put back 4 of the 6 crawlspace covers as the outside temperature was dropping rapidly and even some flecks of snow. Today the tornado alarm went off around noon and today is a bright sunny day and chilly. The strange arctic cold weather is really running my heater alot 10 hours runtime in 12 hours and I have used 2 gallons of kerosene in 1-1/2 days. Freak occurrance day caused me to backtrack on vent covers and shutting dpwn the furnace. My bet is that in a week the springtime weather will be back.
I have had my crawlspace vents open for several weeks now. This contrubutes to the cold floor but the crawlspace needs airflow.
Spring came very late this year and have had cold days even to the point of having visitors say things like I cant believe its this cold in May - speaking about the weather. Well for the last 3 days it has been around 60degrees in the daytime and SO my kerosene heater has been off most evenings but still occasionally I will run it in the evening to keep out the chill. I plan on putting together all of my kerosene receipts and electric and gas bills to this page. I feel that my bills are so low that even teh electric company sent me a letter stating that in the next few weeks they wil be installing a smart meter. Im cutting costs fair and square - by using LED bulbs.
I purchased another 4Watt filament bulb to go in my can light above the sink. I keep that one lit when it is dark as a nightlight and also as it is visible from outside my window - so outdoors it is apparent someone is present- avoids intruders.
I waited almost a month for this $3.65 approx 4watt LED bulb from overseas and it was worth the wait. When I measured it with my Kilowatt meter - it measures 3 watts. I calculated leaving it on all month long continuously and here is the math
4watts x 24hours = 96 watts per day x7 days in a week = 672 watts per week x 52weeks in a year = 34,944 watts per year
So that means 2912 watts per month and roughly 30 cents per Kilowatt (including taxes and fees etc) - so it uses about a dollar worth of electricity.
It is replacing a 13watt compact flourecent bulb (small curly que style) and so is using approx 1/4 of the electricity as the old bulb. So the bulb pays for itself in one months time.
I also have been careful to unplug my stove and microwave when not in use which saved about 6watts each continuous drain just from the built-in clocks. I also unplug my TV set, VCR, etc when not in use. So my continuous drain is very low.
I mostly unplug the appliance from the wall socket or flip the switch from the outlet strip. But after searching for a single switch online- I have found a small single outlet switch which I am considering purchasing for my stove. The cost of the switch is approx 6 bucks and so it would pay for itself in 6 months. I havent decided on the purchase of this small switch so I have been manually unplugging my stove to avoid that 6watts of continuous electric use.
I see some General Electric and Levitron switches sold online but at $13 bucks each it would take a whole year to pay for itself. It wouldnt really be saving anything as I already unplug my appliances. From a convenience standpoint it is easier to flip a switch thean unplug a cord - and less wear to the cord by flexing. It would be nice if the stove itself had a switch on the backside. Same for the microwave - the mfg should have put a power switch on the unit itself. I remember purchasing a used NEC rear projection TV that the newspaper ad said "non-working" and I bought it for $50 and was a high end modern TV at that time. The only thing wrong with the TV was that the "vacation switch" was flipped and so the TV refused to power on. I took a chance on that TV and was a good deal for me- I didnt realize it at the time I bought it and the owners didnt realize it either. I fully expected to have to repair that TV and put money into it. It is possible that mfgs dont put power switches on items for that reason - people would return the item simply because the "vacation switch" was off - thinking that it was defective. That is my hunch. But this has caused alot of wasted energy and extra bills - which I use power strips for most things.
For my stove, I prefer to not install a switch myself. I also prefer not to use a power strip. I would like to buy just a little profession made switch - without any mods to the outlet or the appliance itself.
I see some no-name import 2-prong single outlet switches at the price of about $4 each but these only have 2 prongs and my microwave and stove both have 3-prong cords - son it wont work. I hope that these items get cheaper in price.
LED bulbs are expensive and these electricity saving gadgets are expensive too. Hopefully the price comes down as replacing all lightbulbs, adding switches is expensive cummulatively speaking. I have been replacing bulbs one at a time over the span of a long period of time.
I can think of 2 more CFL (curly que style) bulbs which I use daily for 5 hours a day in my living room - which I would like to replace with LED bulbs and save half the cost of the electricity by switching to 8 watt LED rather than 13 watt CFL each. The light output is the same in my opinion. I have been saving CFL bulbs that dont work anymore and putting the word "BAD" in magic marker on them. I have a whole big jar of them and they didnt last anywhere near 14years. I hope LED bulbs last longer than CFL. I remember taking one of my burned out CFL bulbs back to the big-chain-home-improvement store and explaining to them (in the initial year of CFL bulbs) that it was advertized as being a 14 year bulb but it only lasted less that one year - they had a whole bunch behind the customer service desk and the woman just exchanged it right there for a new CFL bulb.
I think LED bulbs run better in closed lighting fixtures as they dont produce much heat and so they dont cook themselves to death. CFL bulbs get hot in a closed lighting fixture and burn out by cooking themselves as they contain an electronic circuit board with small capacitors and transistors etc - same as a TV or radio etc. I havent had any LED filament failures or Cree 4-flow LED bulb failures. I would like to put 2ea Cree 4-flow LED bulbs in my living room to replace the CFL bulbs currently in my 2ea can lights. The $12 approx expense is something that is cost prohibitive right now as I just paid bills etc and I see that I have to buy paint for my fence etc and all of that small expenses add up to hundreds of bucks.
Regarding the electric power meter change - it is a no-win scenario for me as a consumer.
My options in response to the meter switch letter
1. I could call to complain that I dont want a new meter - then I get the same old meter but they tack on a extra fee on my bill (free money for them)
2. Maybe they wont install the meter and by calling I would be making that happen?
3. With the smart meter costs may go up in certain times of the day/evening/weekend/holiday/seasons etc which I have no control over with a new meter or my old meter. I lose either way.
4. Some people online are anti new smart meters for "radiation" and feel it is harmful. I dont know- maybe it is or isnt. Im already surrounded by Wifi, Cellphone towers, radiowaves, satelllite signals etc. Who knows if it is harmful or not?
5. I like the idea of not having a meter reader coming unannounced once a month.
I have decided to just take some photos of my old meter. If they change it - then so be it. At least I will have some photos of vintage electric meter versus the new style.
Im not going to fight a new meter change. If they want to change it - go ahead. Im just going to keep cutting my costs by switching over to more efficient appliances and unplug things that I am not using.
Cooked a chicken leg on my Kerosene Heater on Low
Yesterday when I was running my kerosene heater for a few hours between 6PM and 10PM to reduce the room chill- I decided to put my frying pan on top of the heater to defrost a single chicken leg which was in my freezer. I put a cup of water in the pan and the chicken leg and covered with a good sealing frying pan glass lid. I checked on it every half hour. My intention was to defrost it (was frozen solid from my freezer) but instead I saw the water bubbling and boiling so I actually let it fully cook in 1 hour 45 minutes (not flipping over the meat at all and undisturbed lid). I normally slice slits in my meat but this time I didnt put any slits. It was thoroughly cooked and was very good. I didnt use any natural gas and so the same heat for my living space was used to cook my food. The heat energy went double duty.
The room temp started out at 59degrees and ended up at 70degrees at 10PM on lowest setting on my Kerosun Radiant8 which has a BTU of 8200 maximum and I probably had it running at 6000btu lowest with minimal slight glowing of the mesh dome and 2ea small ac fans 13watts each) blowing across over the heater top and frying pan. The kerosene gas-gauge moved about 1/4 so probably about $1 of fuel cost.
I see a drastic low useage of my water, natural gas, electric bills just because I have cut my use way way way down.
Telephone line reduction
For several years I have had 2 phone lines and 1 DSL with AT&T and on June 14 2016 I phoned AT&T and told them to disconnect one of my numbers and that I wanted to keep one phone line and 1 DSL internet.
To make a very long story short - it was an ordeal - as of 6/28/16 it looks like my 1 phoneline & DSL are working. I dont know if the bill will be correct or have errors - We'll see.
My observations about this change
1. Phone line 1 and 2 are known to AT&T as "Primary line" and "Aux or Auxillary Line"
2. "Switch to Aux" is done by Backdoor Team
3. The automated voice was always right and "How can I help you" and my speaking the words "ORDER STATUS" makes the robotic voice say things like "CXXXXX number is a connection of DSL service scheduled to take place on ..."
No one person at AT&T that I spoke to could find any of these C XXXXX or D XXXX numbers or any reference to them as spoken by the computerized voice. This information was not on any of their screens. One human being explained to me that she knows what the C and D numbers mean and my reading back those number to her was helpful and she recognized what it meant.
4. The real person agents are practically useless and give wrong information - a couple of real people here and there are helpful but most are bumbling and screw things up or act liek they are helping but are actually just waiting for the system screen to do something and then take the credit for work - but actually they did nothing to help
5. Lag between July 14 to July 21 I saw no change in my 2 phone lines and DSL and I called to speak to a live person who I ordered to disconnect my phone line - which they did immediately within minutes.
6. My primary line became the same number as my secondary line - which meant they needed to "rebuild at the mainframe" and my acount number was closed. And a new account number was opened which bears the number of my only line.
7. All of the hoopla of AUX to MAIN and rebuild at the mainframe. Confused alont of operators there and one person said "Ive been at AT&T for 15 years and never heard of that before"
8. I was told over and over and over again about U-verse this and that and that it was impossible to keep my DSL line because it is not offered anymore. FALSE
9 TO MAKE A LONG STORY SHORTER - yes I have DSL and I was able to retain it. It is much cheaper than any U-verse package.
10. No matter how many times I said "NO" to the memorized paragraph "your permission to discuss AT&T products... your decision will not affect..." THEY STILL HOUNDED me about U-verse this and that. I always say NO.
This reduction in 2 phones to just 1 one should save $20 per month off my bill. AT&Ts bills are always ever increasing and was becoming an increasing burden.
Again my DSL is bundled with my phone line and if I ever remove my phone line I may have the same horrible time trying to keep my DSL. I see that on the back of my DSL welcome page - it states that DSL is offered as a standalone.
Ultimately I would like to have an online phone service which works through the internet - possibly magicjack or similar service and it is much cheaper than a AT&T landline phone line. My phone line is approx $28 plus taxes and fees per month. Magicjack is approx $80 per year. That is a $200 difference per year.
At this time I only removed one of my phone lines. They were supposed to give an onlin message "changed to _____ my new phone line" as a recorded message. But instead it only says "disconncted or no longer in service"
Lots of bumbling by the phone company - too numerous to list.
I purchased my DSL modem from goodwill store for $3.99 about 3 years ago and then found another same box at the same goodwill for $5. So I have a spare.
I repaired my power transformer and documented it here on another webpage
I received my Magicjack Go yesterday and completed the online activation and paid extra fees etc so it is all setup and supposed to work for 1 year. I paid $27 plus $6.50 shipping from Dutch seller (only took a week to arrive - very fast) and was NIB sealed new. I have had it plugged in for 24 hours so far and the unit gets warm so a better design is to have some cooling holes - I may mod it in the future. The dial tone sounds good. I plan on calling with it today. It works as exected. Some things I didnt expect were additional fees $20 for porting a phone number plus $10 for 911 fee. Also after looking at forums in which people complained that ordering the 5 year plan eliminates the 1 year included - also the device itself lasts 1-2 years so having a 5 year plan makes no sense as some people on forums complained that MJ refused to apply their remaining time when their unit dies (after 2 years) to a new device. So my point is Ill use for a year and make that decision at the last month before time runs out. Buying early is no advantage - according to the complaints I have read about. Also this unit gets warm with no cooling vents so - I cant honestly see it lasting 5 years getting warm like that - I should cut slots in it or holes with my laser engraver - that would look clean and professional. Otherwise the internal components will have a shorter life.
Also the MagicJack Go has a power adapter that uses power - Ill measure that later - so it does eat some money over the course of a year in watts. Also the Internet router/DSL modem has to be on so that uses electricity. Plus having something plugged in all the time reduces that devices lifespan
equipment cost divided by the lifespan in months = equipment cost per month
I have been looking for a good used spare kerosene tank for awhile on big-auction-site and this one hopefully will be a perfect match for my Northern 3601 kerosene heater. I measured my original and compared it to the ad 14" L and 6" width but ad had no other dimension. I made a $15 offer for it plus $10 shipping. The picture looks in nice condition. There is another ad with a rusty dented scratched up- too risky to use that one as I dont want a leak.
Also I purchased a Magicjack Go on big-auction site and seller says new sealed. It is coming from Germany soit will take awhile. I hope to dump the phone company and attached DSL for a cheaper local internet which is point-to-point type wireless for $35 per month and only about 500mbs speed so hopefully the magicjack can work at that slow of a internet connection. I want to decrease my monthly bills and the phone company continuously gouges me and bills are wrong and I have to spend a couple of days each month fighting over incorrect bills. They switch my plans without my consent and perform all kinds of illegal add-ons and attempt to gouge me incessantly. It is intolerable and Im in the process of finding an alternative to the evil landline phone company and their blatent excessive charges and robbery in their utility bills.
Im so glad my kerosene heater tank arrived and is a perfect match for my original. Even the instructions printed on the side are the same. Non-rusty very condition - when I press the tip the air rushes out sssssshhhhhh and has a good seal. I will be able to switch it over and not have to fo fill it up as often. The Northern 3601 has a nice cleaner low-smell and Im so glad to have a spare tank now.
I have been using my 2ea Kerosene heaters and the 1 extra tank purchased. This allows me to have 4 gallons avail between fillups. So far this year I have not turned on my big furnace. I have been running exclusively on kerosene for a little over a month. The past few weeks were increasingly colder. Daytime temps were mild for most days and so the heaters were off in the day and on at night. I monitored the thermometer and turned on/off the heater to regulate the indoor temp between 65deg F and 70deg F. I have only run one heater at a time so far this year because the severe weather is not yet here.
From past experience with electric and gas bills I would say that my bills would be at least twice as high with the utility company. And since the bills come after you used that - it comes as a shock that useage and price was What???!!! With buy as you go and fill up the tank - I can better monitor and control my use. Plus the big guzzler furnace has a big electric blower motor which would run the electric meter way up in no time.
One thing I have learned is to make the glow dome glow as brightly as possible as a bright glow produces cleaner air than dimming down the glow- produces a slight smell. By running the glow dome as bright as possible - this means that the knob is turned all the way right and not backed off at all. I remember last year I would back it off just a smidgeon- but this year I leave it all the way to the right. I ont know if that is beacuse the wick is slightly weaker now or ??? But somehow it seems perfect all the way clockwise- in its present condition.
I adopted a local stray cat. She is not tame yet and would run outside and get lost in a heartbeat. So I use a backdoor when filling up my kerosene tanks. As I have a closed off room leading to the backdoor- this greatly reduces the chance of my cat getting out. Shes becoming more tame daily- but even so - she knows only being outside and hunting for food and hiding under cars for shelter. She finally came inside - I was trying to adopt her for months. A side effet is that - using the back door rather than the side door is a good way to retain warm air inside- rather than the other door which is a central location and lets out more warm air with each open/close door.
I trimmed off the tattered destroyed styrofoam window bottom (my new cat scratched/dug/tore it) and retaped and glued as best as I could - reusing the major pieces of styrofoam. The bottom section has no styrofoam as my new cat needs to look outside- otherwise she digs and digs and digs... at the styrofoam. Making a mess of herself and the floor.
My cat hasnt scratched at the styrofoam since then. She feels more comfortable and at home now. I dont even see her checking through the styrofoam anymore to look outside. I didnt plug up the styrofoam "porthole" because it is a minimal heatloss - and my cat needed it there to feel comfortable. My cat sleeps in an ALDI potat chip big box which I put shiny reflective bubblewrap as a mattress. Then on top of the mattress I put an old Tshirt. She likes sleeping there and alternates between the box and the sofa for sleeping. I think the shiny bubblewrap acts like a "space blanket" reflecting her body heat. Without the shiny bubblewrap she would have a wet nose and "sniffles" after 1 day. Day 2 I added the shiny bubblewrap and tshirt. She seems pretty healthy and happy now.
Also for a week now - I have been monitoring my RH% humidity (bought a RH% meter on big-auction-site for $1.49 including shipping and included batteries too) which hovers between 46% and 55% typically. I find that boiling a pan of water for food will raise the RH% about 2%. The day this new meter came from international seller - it read 65% and was probably water logged from shipping. And steadily - it has been dropping to its present state of 46%-55% which is the real numbers. The relative humidity outdoors on the news/onlline is about 85%. The colder it is outside - the lower the RH% indoors - as displayed by my meter.
The big guzzler furnace is turned on now for about an hour and a half total per day - over a few sessions. And the Kerosene heater is on continuously all day. I find that the Kerosene heater is a wet heat. The big guzzler furnace is a dry heat. I find that my normal cycling of heaters maintains about 50 to 55% humidity indoors. The indoor temperature is normally at 65deg F but - when it drops over about 4 hours - then the big guzzler furnace is manually set to 70deg F and raises the temp throughout in just a few minutes- then turned off. Then the kerosene heater can maintain that for a long period of time on its own - dropping one deg per hour approx - for this time of year.
I have been monitoring my Electric Company outside digital meter and been maintaining an average of 120KWH use per month. So far I have maintained summer each month for 5 months. So the 2ea fans powering my kerosene heater isnt contributing much to my electric useage. My intermittant use of the big guzzler furnace for 1-1/2 hours per day doesnt add much electric cost. BUT if I ONLY heated with the big guzzler furnace - the it would have a runtime of 14 hours per day and ever increasing as winter gets colder.
As the last few days have gotten colder all-of-a-sudden Ive watched my thermostats hours meter go from 1.5 hours run time to 2.5hours run time to todays close to 5 hours run-time. And this is with a single kerosene heater running continuously 24hours per day. So I can imaging that I would have hit 14hours runtime on the big Guzzler furnace - if it was working alone.
Also as I monitor the indoor temps keeping it at 65deg F for the most part - I see the RH% at its lowest so far since Ive owned in in the last couple of weeks. Today I see 41% RH% and my skin is dry and my cat is straching her ear from dryness - also she sleeps by the floor vent and big furnace air is dry - which dries out her ear. I put ointment in her ear which is a vet product. I didnt know how low the RH% gets - this is my first experiences with a moisture meter. I wonder if it will go even dryer still? See I was worried that the kerosene heater would add too much moisture in the air - but I dont find that to be the case at all. Creating too much moisture doesnt seem to be a symptom of kerosene heaters. Also I have been cooking at least one meal onmy stove daily for the last week - including boiling a pan of water almost daily - so that doesnt seem to overwhelm the humidity either. So this moisture meter really answers alot of questions for me.
Exactly 5 months to the day 7/7/16 (see installation man sticker) to today 12/8/16 is 580 KWH of actual cummulative total use. I estimate that starting with this month December 2016 my use of the BIG Guzzler Furnace will increase dramatically - so this is a good marker for what I was able to accomplish- economizing. And also a good marker to monitor how much the Big Guzzler Furnace will contribute to my electric bill during severe winter months. Until now I did power on the Big Guzzler furnace a few times daily - keeping it short and anly to boost the small temp drop every 4 hours - for the past week. While my Kerosene heater (1ea) runs continuously using about 1-3/4 gallon of kerosene daily (now) and 2 small fans blowing across it (13watts each) and 2 more small fans blowing the heat strategically into 2 more rooms (13wats each).
I made a trip to the local Goodwill store and found 2 interesting items - a mini refrigerator for $5 and a bundled bag containing two AT&T cordless phones which I purchased and will be using with the Magicjack. The mini fridge runs on 12V 35watts DC and I ordered the missing cigarette lighter cord from big-auction-site China seller for $2.99 including shipping. I hear something rattling inside the mini fridge so i will need to disassemble before powering it up. I hope it will work with my solar panel as 35 watts is roughly 12V 1.75 amps. I have no real use for this mini fridge but is a nice solar panel accessory/toy to play around with.
I have dumped my landline phone company. The BIG-BAD-Phone-Company was playing games and trying to charge me hundreds of dollars by illegally switching my long distance carrier without my approval and credit backs finally have come in but there is still a measely $16 additional charge that they snuck in there. I still have to call them and take care of this but the $200 problem is now resolved with them. I dumped them for that reason and also phone bill/internet too costly. Magicjack Go is only $45 for 1 year including the device itself. I switched to Cable internet and introductary rate is $20 per month for 1 year. I plan on using this for 2 years (the rep by phone says they are often willing to go an extra year at intro rate price??? And then Ping-Pong back and forth between Big-Bad-Phone-Company internet introductary rate and Cable Internet introductary rate- every other year. There isnt any alternatives in my area. It is a 2-headed monopoly. By having an internet based phone, it saves me from the bundling and the unfairness that results from it. I just have 1 internet and thats all basically. It has been working really well for a month and a half now. Im glad I switched. The Big-Bad-Phone-Company was playing games and trying to wring me like a sponge to get every last cent and dollar possible. Even though I despise their tactics - I plan on signing up for their introductary rate in one or 2 years. So Ill be back - but for low dollars next time. I need to purchase a modem as my old DSL modem works but they no longer offer DSL to new customers. So I have to factor in the cost of the cost of a modem in all of this Ping-Pong betwen internet service providers.
A 3-month ordeal is finally over - my telephone bill had a long distance carrier "USBI"I and was unauthorized by me and was charging close to $200 in ridicuous "slamming" where this company attached itself to my bill. Even as I disconnected a month ago - another $16.50 charge was added - even on my final bill which only purpose was to inform me that the close to $200 in slamming charges were credited as "adjustments". After alot of runaround - explaing to many people and finally reaching someone capable of helping. This person was a "Midwest" Accounting person at the big-bad-phone company and kindly credited me $16.50 as he said I was with them since 1999 - even before then. Ive never had any other phone company. So he credited me the slamming charge. Thats over with. If he did it another way - by making a claim - then the following month - it would attach itself again onto my bill - never ending. Now it is over. I have internet and voip phone and works pretty good - no complaints. My bill is $20/month for one year introductary rate - the lowest Ive ever had.
My Heater Use Strategy
As the outside temperature starts to cool off - especially night time temps - my strategy will be to delay use of my furnace as late as possible this year. I plan on using passive heating - like using sun/opening closing windows/insulating strategically. And when cools off sufficiently I will use Kerosene heat to both heat a room and cookmeals on the kerosense heater. After awhile multiple heaters in combination with my big furnace for the heart of cold weather winter.
Use of smaller kerosene heaters most apparently saves on electricity as the big-furnace-blower motor is 750watts and due to electric company pricing restructure on their bills - it is top heavy on connection fees and "boat anchor charges" so using appliances which contain no electricity-hog big electric motors has a dramatic effect on electric bill. Use of portable kerosene heaters saves on electric gouging and also heating one room rather than an entire building saves on the gouging of the natural gas company. At a certain point the big furnace IS needed as in the coldest winter - using the big is necessary and also cheaper per BTU. Finding the sweet-spot use of a combination of kerosene heaters and later on the Big furnace takespractice to get just right to minimize costs. Im still learning but I already noticed a huge savings last winter as it was my first try doing this.
I finally decided to buy this GE 25511 AC power switch as I see a seller on big-auction-site selling 2-packs for $14.99 with free shipping. I have been avoiding that purchase for months because I cant see any $dollar$ return on the money sent as I already unplug my appliances - but I figure having a switch saves wear and tear on the corn and plug and outlet. Also it is a reputable mfg General Electric - so I figured - Im just going for it. It will be used onmy stove/oven and the second one will go on my microwave. I cerntainly dont need to burn electricity on a 4watt clock on every appliance. I dont need clocks everywhere.
Spending money to save money - Makes no sense.
But I do it anyways. Keeping it to a minimum.
I sold my vacant lot and used the money to pay off Paypal Credit Debt and loans - This saves me $330 in interest from the $8086 creditline which was NEVER going down substantially. It was just years and years of interest. So this lucky break of selling off my empty lot- allowed me to actually save $330 x 12 months = $3960 per year. Its the 2nd largest decrease in my reduction in expenses.
I cut my heating costs (kerosene & insulating & etc)
I cut my automotive epenses (license & insurance & fees & repairs etc)
I cut my loans & interest
I just feel like a heavy burden is MUCH lighter now.
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I really use rechargeable batteries everywhere I can - except in a smoke alarm. My very favorite rechargeable is the WHITE color Radio Shack brand made in the middle 2000s as they are "precharged" meaning that they retain a charge for about a year and after a year on non-use they still have about 80% of the charge left. That is a remarkable battery!!!! As other brands models of batteries that I have used are self-depleting meaning that they drain all-by-themselves in a much shrter time. These WHITE Radio Shack batteries are SO GOOD it is amazing. I bought 2ea packs of 4 at the Radio Shack store in the mid 2000s and were on clearance and was HANDS_DOWN so much better that I wished I could buy more. Over the years I search on big-auction-site for these and every once in a while I see a pack for sale - I have managed to buy enough for remotes, digital camera, welder face mask, electronic equipment etc and amazingly when I go to us the device - the battery is still holding a charge from 6 months or even a year ago. I even use 2ea AA in my digital thermostat. It has al of the benefits of a "real battery" and none of the downsides of rechargeables.
I have been using rechargeables for several decades and even with the self-depleting types - the cost savings over regular batteries is enormous. I hardly ever buy regular batteries. For my smoke alarm - yes I do buy regular batteries for that.
I just feel like rechargeable batteries are such a money saver.
At this time I have not tried my kerosene heaters using D size rechargeables as Im still using the batteries they came with.
November and mild weather - is very unusual and I remember in decades past that the temps in end of Oct/Nove are often freezing and sometimes even snow. Right now it is "springlike" in the daytime and this evening very mild. A few nights back it was pretty cold. But in general - the weather for this time of year is pretty mild. I have not had any reason to run the big furnace - not even one time.
Im running purely on 1 kerosene heater. Some nights were difficult for my 8200btu kerosene heater (Kerosun Radiant8)- so instead I switched to my 9000btu kerosene heater (Northern 3601) instead. It is good to have a lower power and higher power unit as some days it is cooler and warmer and I can better match the heater on the appropriate day- matching the heater to the weather/time of year. Soon I will be needing BOTH at the same time turning off/on to manually control the indoor temp. Eventually I will use the big furnace - but keeping it to a minimum or in conjunction with one/both smaller heaters- during severe weather months- soon approaching.
Crawlspace vents almost done
I have just this past couple of days - worked on improving my insulation on my crawlspace vents (2 left to do) and insulated my big front window and 2 smaller windows. I can tell right away the heater has an easier time keeping up.
Low utility company bills
Im never shocked by my electric or gas bill anymore as I dont use my furnace- then my bills are just basically 5-10 use plus their own line/delivery/service - thats about as basic as it gets. I just felt like they were socking it to me. Now I feel like I have some control over my utilities - even at the current $4.30per gallon kerosene sold at local gas station (price hasnt changed for years) the price is skyhigh - but even so is cheaper than the utility company rate.
Solar charged Motorcycle battery as a backup
I havent used my motorcycle battery, solar panel, led light as my electric bill is SO LOW that using traditional LED lights doesnt add much to my costs. Plus my battery is severely weak (good enough to last a day or 2 in a power outage) so basically I just charge it every week, but I dont run it at all - just for backup - in case of a power outtage.
Water heater up a notch
During the summer I put my water heater on low (lowest) and is just above room temp. Right now that LOW setting feels like an ice bucket , so I turned the water heater up 2 lines before HIGH. Which is still not hot. When I shower the knob fully counterclockwise and just barely war enough water comes out. Still cold where I hurry to take quick shower. That saves money, colder months like now - it is necessary to turn up the dial slightly - otherwise water temp is too cold and intolerable.
Not draining cooking water immediately into the sink / clean shower water wasted
When I boil eggs, I leave the hot water in the pot to naturally cool off. Pouring it down the drain wastes water and heat. Leaving it sit there until cool - allows the heat to dissipate into the room. The clean water can be used fro other things - which I havent tried yet. So I do waste the water and pour it down the drain. I have to collect this clean "egg boiling water" and also "clean shower water"- running while the water gets up to temp at the shower head. I have thought of collecting this clean water in a 5-gallon bucket or other larger container. This clean shower water (not exposed to human or soap or anything) is just running down the drain while the water gets warm enough to enter the shower. How many gallons per month are wasted this way. Can this clean unused water - be used to flush the toilet a couple of times instead?
Paper covers styrofoam window insulation
I tried something new when putting styrfoam sheets in the windows - I put taped together white-copy-paper directly on the glass. As the sun yellows the stystyrofoam and makes it ugly for the next year. I am tryiing to put paper first as a UV shield and also to hide the ugly yellow styrofoam from last year. I am concerned about moisture droplets and the paper. Therefore I only did a portion that way. It is possible the paper would attract mold or become warped and wrinkled due to condensation. Ill see how it goes.
I have personally figured out that ALOT of the youtube video reviews of the BIG 18K to 23K cannister type kerosene heaters - where the person is using it indoors are FALSE in some manner as told by a person who is a beginner.
I have a big job of cleaning the ceiling soot.
1. Luckily I painted with semi-gloss white paint
2. I used generic Green household cleaner spray bottle and paper towel to clean some - so far
3. After some scrubbing it gets clean - Ive only cleaned 5sq ft and will leave the rest for spring - too big of a job standing on a chair when I cant open windows to air out/drying.
4. Bucket with Green generic cleaning liquid and rag is needed - multiple cleaning passes
I estimate about 30 sq feet that I need to clean. Yikes I listened to BAD ONLINE ADVICE. People with ZERO experience making videos. I vividly remember people showing how to light cannister style kerosene heater - while on a wooden floor and talking about how they leave the door open while running the heater - absolute NONSENSE. I can tell by the utter cleanliness in their fancy house - that they have not used this for even 1 season. Leaving the door open even an inch NEGATES any heat created by the heater.
I made the mistake of listening to advice from non-sense video creators. I know now which heaters are good/bad for daily use. For emergency use all of them work - some soot is better than freezing pipes etc.
2ea 10K metal box style Heaters with glowing coil spring and dome ( A better choice ) producing Practically NO SOOT produces the same heat as 1ea SMOKEY/Smelly cannister style heater ( not a good choice for daily use ). The average home in the coldest part/middle of average Chicago winter - needs 60K to 100K BTU - so multiple smaller box style heaters is much better and can be used daily AND for emergency - rather than just stored away.
I dont feel that my 8k to 10K Metal box style heaters caused this soot.
I ran out of kerosene yesterday evening and the above photo shows at close to midnight the over 14 hours runtime of the big guzzler furnace 100% heating indoor to 65deg F. This thermostat has a 24hours memory and erases back to zero at midnight. The thermostat runs on 2ea AA rechargeable batteries and the RH% meter runs on 2ea disposable watch batteries. The clock runs on 1ea rechargeable AA battery.
Outdoor temp 10 deg F and snow on the ground and on my roof about 4 inches.
This is a photo of my runtime on 12/18/16 on a full day of 17deg F outside temp and colder at night. An equal weather comparison to the above picture. On 12/18/16 I ran 1ea 9000BTU kerosene heater all day and in addition I set the big guzzler heater to 65deg F thermostat to come on whenever the small heater couldnt keep up. So the Big guzzler heater ran for about 4 hours cycling on occasionally to boost the internal temp to 65deg F.
In summary - my small 9000btu heater provides approx as much power running all day long as 10 hours of big guzzler furnace heat on a medium cold winter day. Approx 1.75gallons of K-1 kerosene ($4.30 per gallon purcha from local Citco gas station outdoor pump)
So far I have been buying 10 to 11 gallons of K-1 kerosene at-a-time and lasts approx 14 days in November and about a week in December. I cycle the kerosene heater on/off manually as needed until eventually - I keep it running continuously. Severe winter ramps up in Illinois from Dec 8 to Dec 20 substantially- freezing lakes and ponds enough where I see some people ice fishing where just 2 weeks ago a nearby lake was not frozen at all.
I run the big guzzler heater ONLY when the little heater is insufficient or I run out of fuel. I buy fuel at the pump as weather, time, and money permits.
I went to buy 11 gallons of kerosene from local Citco gas station at $4.30 per gallon. I snapped a photo of my hand dolly and ratchet straps used to hold the 1ea 5 gallon and 1ea 6 gallon containers. I walk about a 1/4 mile each time. Today was a slushy snow and Im pretty tired from sometimes dragging it and sometimes pushing it along the way.
The past 3 days have been unusually warmer (slightly below freezing) and my kerosene heater ran continuously and my Big Guzzler Furnace only ran for 1/2 hour total over three days.
I snapped a photo of my thermostat hours runtime today at 6:40pm as a coincidence the time and the furnace hours is exactly the same. My point is that the 1ea full time kerosene heater is assisting the big guzzler furnace. Otherwise the bog guzzler furnace would be around 16hours runtime as it is very cold outside approx 4deg F for the past week. The middle of Jan is usually the coldest of winter.
I made a snapshot of my Electric meter today at approx 7pm showing a cummulative total of 805Kwh since this electric meter was installed on 6/7/16. Since last month I have added 225Kwh (805 - 580 = 225) and my Kerosene heater 9000BTU is almost always running 24 hours a day to assist the furnace and keep my electric bills down. I compare that to previous years useage and it is astonishingly much lower electric use than before.
The weather is SO COLD that I only go outdoors for 5-10 minutes at a time and I have a few days of Kerosene remaining. There is almost no snow on the ground (melted a couple of weeks ago) but the air temps are very cold and almost no wind. A couple of days ago I attempted to fill my Kerosene tanks from the 5 gallon jug and went back inside 3 times to warm up. It usually just takes a few minutes to do daily - but the bitter cold was a severe issue on those few days. I did manage to fill up but its easy to get frostbite in that extreme cold.
I have made a conscious decision to LET THE BIG GUZZLER FURNACE RUN in the coldest of winter because the ducts go under my house and heat the pipes. Im not fully convinced that the kerosene heaters alone would heat the pipes underneath. Next year I plan on adding some kind of thermometer under the house to monitor temps there. For right now, Im playing it safe and letting the big guzzler operate at a minimal level for safety of my pipes.
32% Relative humidity indoors is the LOWEST I have seen so far (in the few months Ive owned this digital meter). As the outside temps get colder and colder - it seems to rob the air of humidity. Im cooking and this adds humidity to the air. My kerosene heater adds humidity to the air- but still it shows 33% today. Outside is bitterly cold - the online news calls it "Chicago Arctic Blast"
2 days ago I noticed that my interior lights were flickering for a couple of seconds (just as I was about to leave to run errands). I turned on my extra kerosene heater and let 2 heaters run while I was away for a couple of hours. When I came back, I noticed that my 2 outside lights were on. Due to the motion sensors built-in to the outside lights, this means that someone walked by recently?
But when I thought about it - what had happened is the automatic/intelligent features built-in to the light were disabled by the power brownout/flickering electricity for a few seconds. See when I flick the switch to the outside light ONCE then it is lit CONTINUOUSLY. If I flick the light switch TWICE quickly - then the light turns on for 2 minutes and then cuts off all by itself. See the brownout TRICKED the electronics inside the light - so that it was on continuously. I didnt figure it out until the next day. So that means my outside lights were both on for 24 hours continuously DAY/NIGHT for no reason at all.
Why would the power company flicker lights for a few seconds? Who Knows?
1. Switching power sources - buying power from outside my location when cheaper etc?
2. Makes people's light turn on for no reason - boosting their revenue
3. Kills sensitive electronics (computer, furnace boards, audio/video, washer/dryer, refrigerator, other)
4. Decreases light bulb life
It is DEBATABLE whether the power company does it ON PURPOSE but the end result is still the same either way - it is harmful to the customer.
Whenever I see a brownout or flickering lights I always unplug my appliances and shutoff my furnace - but for some reason I didnt think to do that this time as I was just concerned about providing heat in case of a total power outtage.
What I should have done is shut off the furnace and run on Kerosene 100% all day. But I had a package to send and I didnt want bad feedback so it slipped my mind. But I could have lost my furnace electronics (which I have a spare board) and had a real catastrophe caused by flickering lights. Who knows whether the flickering lights occurance repeated while I was away. It slipped my mind and I brushed it off as no-big-deal. But in the past, I have lost electronics - and I just forgot about that this time. Bad things dont happen every single time. I got lucky this time.
I have viewed the following youtube video (not my video and Im not affliated with it)
The author is referencing his real experiences with learned from un-named website several terms "cannister type" using 2ea 10K heaters rather than one big one during an outtage and maintaining his house at 60deg F for 1 day. These tips sound like my own webpage here. I have no way to know if it was my website he learned from but it may be.
Several not-as-cold days where the ground un-froze and rained alot. I can hear the neighbors sump pump sound every five minutes improperly discharging the same water over and over - pumping it back to the same spot as before.
I noticed that when it is rainy outside the indoor RH% jumps up and also when it is warmer it jumps up. Whereas if it was very cold - the RH% is lower. Here is a snapshot of today's unusually mild weather (Thermostat and RH Meter) and the ground outside is wet. Indoor temp 65deg F and running 24hours a day with 1ea 9000btu kerosene heater and using the big-guzzler furnace as a secondary source of heat as needed.
The runtime of big-guzzler-furnace is 33minutes and 48 RH% at 7pm 1/17/17 and two days ago at the beginning of the warm spell was about 2 hours/day runtime. If ONLY the big-guzzler-furnace was running - it would be in the teens hours per day runtime.
I received a ridiculous Natural Gas bill today which was not an actual meter reading - but instead was an "estimate" which is way out of line high estimate. Its based on my past years' use but is out-of-the-ballpark as Im using Kerosene as my primary heat fuel. They will realize their error next month when an actual meter reading is taken. I plan on looking at my gas meter reading tomorrow in the daylight. Its too dark and wet to do that now. The estimated reading is more than double what probably actually is. Also the price per therm is up and down and all kinds of sock-it-to-you boat anchors attached. It is very ridiculous and a way for the power company to gouge people with heavy fees and ridiculous widely swinging rates. It is based on an extimate and that estimate is way off and wrong as I have "Dumped" them as much as possible but still retaining the connection in case of a big winter storm and used only as a secondary heat source. Next month I will have a "corrected bill" which will un-do the hoopla of incorrectly estimated on the current bill.
This widely swinging rates and the hoopla of skipped meter readings is a way to cheat the buyer into paying for higher rates. But since I use so little - it matters little. For example - I use 2 gallons of gas a year - what does it matter if the gas price is $2, 4, $10 per gallon - my point is due to the low use volume - the gouging doesnt matter.
Even at Kerosene's high price per gallon of $4.30 (which hasnt budged in 3 years) it is still cheaper than the utility companies for my basic heat needs.
The above snapshot of my gas meter shows 1830 of use while my "estimated meter reading" on my bill from 9 days ago date shows 1988. The useage of 297 is wrong and should be 1830 (my actual reading Jan 2017) minus 1691 (Dec 2016 reading) = 139
And LOOK at those skyhigh rates .42 versus last years .27 GOUGING ENORMOUSLY not only with an incorrect estimate but with skyhigh rates. ITS DONE INTENTIONALLY. Even so my useage is very low as it is not my primary fuel for heat. Sock-it-to-you fees and rates - the news broadcasted a GLUT of Natural Gas over production. Reality is simple - GOUGE GOUGE GOUGE.
SEE WHY I USE KEROSENE HEATERS?
My mortgage company and bank play games too
I paid my mortgage over the phone on the 12th and been checking daily for the status of that payment on my bank's website - hasnt showed the transaction the whole time. I phoned the mortgage company and they said they show the payment cleared. But just to be sure I paid for next month too. That way they have a payment on the 12th and on the last day due the 16th - so they cant say I was late. Because late fees and posting bank balance with a 3-4 day delay is just bogus and a way to TRICK customers into not-knowing-their-actual-balance. Hence they charge fees or worse. I figure the extra payment (which I look today - both payments are displayed on bank and mortgage company websites).
I feel that paying an extra time like that - eliminates the possibility of the money-grubers biting me with their treacherous ways.
I remember once a long time ago I had a payment confirmation and sufficient funds to clear and my confirmation number didnt mean a hill of beans. I feel that double paying solved the problem this time. It was a great solution. That ridiculous event several years ago taught me about their treacherousness. By phone with them every other word is thankyou and bend over backwards to make sure they state and restate the purpose of the call - to the point of ridiculousness. But this 4 day - no show of the transaction scared me - just like several years ago. They were up-to-no-good AGAIN. Paying double avoided their mis-deeds and entanglements. Monday was a banking holiday and my bank was closed but mortage company was open. There is NO reason the website shouldnt have shown transactions. Whenever the 15th falls on a weekend - it scares me because they play games. Its good to pay early on those months- whenever possible.
I just returned from the local CITCO gas station and the kerosene outside pump had a sign "out of order" so I walked back with my 2ea empty plastic kerosene containers and dolly. I hope that they fix whatever problem soon as I only have 1-1/2 gallons on hand. If a winter storm knocks out power I will only be ok for 1/4 day.
I need to locate an alternative fuel source - which the closest one is a Thortons gas station that is being rebuilt as they tore out the underground tanks and removed some pumps - most notably a kerosene outdoor pump. So I will be phoning several gas stations to see if they carry kerosene. The CITCO gas station was clean and good heating fuel and about a 1/4 mile walk so it was not too bad. The Thorton gas station is a longer 1/2 mile walk but still do-able as a backup source. Right now both sources are down and I need to find another source.
When I returned home at 6pm I immediately shut off my kerosene heater and switched on full time the big-guzzler-furnace. I checked my runtime of 1 hour and 25min at 6pm. So this would have been a 2 hour runtime day with simultaneous 24hour kerosene at 9000btu. The outdoor temp is 38degF and very very wet ground and foggy humid air.
The last week approx was a very mild weather temps and so my big heater was only running at a bare minimal level. My 1ea kerosene heater was running 24hours as a primary heat source. It is unfortunate that the kerosene local sources are down as I was looking forward to a break in my natural gas and electric costs in the MEANEST of the winter months- which this past week was unusually mild.
I am inserting this paragraph on 1/21/17 in hindsight
For the brief period of time when I turned off my kerosene heater - not knowing if I could find a backup source for Kerosene - I ran the big-guzzler-furnace exclusively from 1/20/17 6PM to 1/21/17 2:30PM and in that short time period where outside temps were between 30deg F - 40deg F the furnace runtime was 2.5 hours until Midnight and 3hours 18min from Midnight until 2:30PM So about 6 hours of big-guzzler-furnace runtime for about 20 hours of heat- and believe me I ENJOYED that heat because it is SO NICE AND WARM. The floor is much warmer and the air is much warmer. But the COST is intolerable.
I searched online and in the phonebook calling about a dozen local gas stations inquiring if they had a kerosene outside pump. I got an answering machine, some no, some I dont think we have that etc. Even the Citco I usually go to didnt refer me to where I ultimately found one. I was told to check the local ___ hardware store. In summary the gas station attendants didnt know what I was talking about. I ultimately found it myself. Online I typed in Citgo and my city name. And there was 2 of those. One across town that I never went to before. I phone there and the attendant put me on hold and asked if the Kerosene pump was working and she confirmed it.
Great so at 2:30pm I left and 5pm I got back with 11+ gallons of kerosene. A male worker passed by twice probably to see if I was using blue containers- which I was. And Im really exhausted as it was twice as far and 4 big acute angle hills. I drank 3 glasses of water when I got back and was still thirsty. And it was such a warm day 40deg F that people were outside and lots of cars scurrying running errands and etc. Couldnt have been better weather.
As Im writing this my kerosene heater was running for 2.5 hours and is 68deg F on my thermostat- so it is too good weather to run it continuously so I will cycle on off 65deg on/70deg off. It would be better to just run the 8000btu heater but with my newly adopted stray cat I dont access the front door- I use the back door and carrying that built-in tank model is more cumbersome. So I will just use the removeable tank model and cycle it on/off as needed.
I think all of that rain for the past week approx caused unusually good weather today- the humidity traps the solar rays in warming the Earth.
Im so glad there is 3 total kerosene gas stations within walking distance- And the third one was the ONLY one up-and-running.
I went to the local Citco to fill up my 2ea kerosene jugs and ONCE AGAIN I saw an "out of service" tag on the pump handle and the LCD screen on the pump was off. I walked back home and then phoned the next day to see why the pump was out and when it would be up and running. No-one answered the phone and at 9pm I tried again and was told that kerosene was no longer offered at that location. Very strange because last week it was operational after a brief period of "out of service" and now it is permanently - no longer being sold at that location. She said that she didnt know the reason why it was discontinued.
Thats a bit odd that 2 local gas stations have discontinued the sale of kerosene within a short period of time.
The relatively warm weather is still here but is slowly creeping downward in temperature. It is approx 32deg F and just a dusting of snowfall. I decided to try again and fill up 2ea 5-gal containers just in case there is a big change in temps soon ... I phoned my local Citco and confirmed that the pump was working today. Yes it was working and lugging my dolly and 2 jugs was no problem. Much better than walking across town and hils - that was exhausting. I was even thinking about buying a 50cc scooter moped - in case the pump was permanently down?
The Thortons gas station across town - in the other direction - they are back open after their rebuild of the underground tanks etc. So their back in business again. However I looked for their kerosene pump outside and there is just a slab of cement with gas pipes/fittings sticking up from the slab of cement. They have completely removed their outside kerosene pump. Between the two Thortons gas stations in my town - neither one has a kerosene pump. So that means I only have 2 sources of kerosene - that I know of - within walking distance. Im glad I found that other Citco - as tiring as it is to walk there - at least I know there as a backup across town.
My big-guzzler-furnace runtime was 1hour 22min and 1ea kerosene heater running continuous 24hours.
I have added the above photo snapshot from 2/8/16 showing my electric meter showing it "rolled over" exactly to the day (like a car's odometer) 1001 which means 1 GIGawatt of use at 7 months exactly.
However lets look back at my electric bill from winter 2013/2014 and I see that Jan I used 3200kwh for one month only during Polar Arctic Vortex -40deg below zero deep freeze. This winter 2016/2017 and last years winter 2015/2016 were drastically more mild than that life changing winter.
I see that a typical non-winter month of use is approx 122Kwh of use. I see a typical coldest winter month use is approximately 220kwh of use. This is due to the furnace blower motor. If I didnt use a kerosene heater as my primary heat source - then my electric bill would be SKYHIGH.
Today 2/10/17 I walked over to my local Citco gas station to fill up 2 kerosene plastic jugs and I see once again "out of service" yellow tag on the handle of the pump. I still have 10 gallons on-hand - so that buys me some time to fillup elsewhere or wait until it is fixed - whatever the re-occurring problem is.
My above pictured electric bill is praising me "Great" for being 44% lower than my neighbors who use on average 768KW per month - At this time that is astonishingly high. So that tells me the electric bill is patronizing those who are very inefficient and making them feel like that is normal.
The "efficient neighbors" are probably in a tiny house or running a fireplace or kerosene heater part-time? Or possibly vacation in Florida for winter months- leaving the house vacant and the heater at minimal settings - just not to freeze the pipes? Just speculation on my part on what that is. The 439kwh of use during a winter month is actually pretty wonderful - is it possible they have a new style efficient furnace?
Mine is a big guzzler which I still like and need for drastically subzero winters. The brute force big guzzler furnace is used sparingly.
I found an old utility bill behind my sofa and here is a summary of monthly kwh use for July to July of 2014 through July 2015. The coldest winter month Jan use was 568kwh and lowest use June was 197kwh. This shows the first year of "must change things" and my attempts to do something different to change. 20 inch Box fan is a real HOG and Furnace blower motor is a real HOG in power consumption. The above reflects use of my 3ea kerosene heaters and my first attempts to bring my bills down.
The double whammy and apparent higher-than-last-year non-cold month use is due to the electric company drastically raising their delivery cost/fees/etc - meanwhile my efficiency went up - but the boat anchor charges went up simultaneously. If I didnt drastically cut down on my use - then the gouging would be even worse than shown.
My winter use shows WENT DOWN but my non-winter use WENT UP according to this graph. Which makes no sense. This was on my old analog dial meter. I attribute this graph to COSTS rather than actual use. I didnt run the box fan any more than previous years and so I can only speculate on why my non-winter month use was higher than previous year. Even so the monthly use was manageable - it was the SKYHIGH winter bills which was the lifechanging event. I no longer wanted to be at the mercy of the BIG BAD POWER Companies and the rates/fees/charges they inflict upon their consumers.
The past 2 weeks of weather were sometimes bitterly cold and sometimes mild and springlike. No snow on the ground. Very strange weather but according to the electric/gas use summary comparing this year and last year the average temps were just about the same month-by-month. I just feel like winter starts later and lingers longer than it should. But the power company summary shows - nothing out of the norm.
For the past week and a half - the weather has been all-over-the-place (LOL). One week mild 60s temps. Next we had several days where it rained continuously and dark sky - nonstop rain for days. Then the following 2 days it got drastically colder and even lightly snowed on the third day - and the ground was cold enough from the brief cool off that the light snow stayed on the ground for a day. Ok now it seems that the mild weather is back again due to all of the moisture and rain from a few days back.
RAIN IS A GOOD THING (spring and late fall) - THE EARTH GETS WARMER AFTER IT RAINS.
I noticed that after it rains, in spring and summer and falltime - that means that for at least a few days after - the temps will go up. In fact when falltime seems to get extended and extended and extended - pushing back winter - Its because of all of the rainstorms - that the moisture in the air traps the heat from the sun. That keeps my heater running only minimally in Feb/March - otherwise it would be drastically colder without the rain.
A photo of my electric meter today. I forgot to take this picture on the 7th but even so it is still reasonable to see month-to-month use. I used about 163 KWH since last month's photo.
As I read through my webpage (this one) reading 2015-2016 paragraphs - I realized that a severe storm occurred this year a few days ago and I see a similar entry in 2016 plus/minus a few days (almost exactly a year apart). This tells me that there is a pattern to weather and I need to create some kind of journal/log so I can use it to set my temperatures/number of kerosene heaters, when I shut off/turn on big-guzzler-furnace/power outtages etc. I see a power outtage ccurred approx one year ago so I turned off my furnace completely rather than just setting it so low that my kerosene heater overrides it. I switched it off to protect it from a possible power outtage (based on experience from last year and previous year)
I remember a couple days ago my lights flickered- but I did nothing at that time. I should create some kind of personal guide which I can follow from year to year. It will be accurate plus or minus a few days.
A few days ago there was a severe storm which toppled over a few of my outside items and ripped a tarp due to the severely high winds. There was no power outtage (previous years there was) the following day. I keep my motorcycle battery charged (as much as an old decrepit battery - 20Amp battery only holds 7amps now) and have on hand approx 13 gallons of K-1 Kerosene. Bad things dont always happen. Sometimes bad luck hits and Im moderately prepared. Theres always room for improvement.
I am thinking about buying one more kerosene heater, I am thinking about Diesel fuel verus Kerosene costs- I see some expensive kerosene heaters which advertise that they can use Diesel. Even so - I think they are referring to SUMMERTIME Diesel fuel NOT WINTERTIME Dielsel which has bright green color and proabably has antifreeze mixed in. Right now as I write this gasoline and Diesel are just above $2 a gallon (Trump is President???) and Kersene hasnt budged in price locally not even by one penny - for years at $4.30 gallon. I just bought some today.
Running on diesel (if a compatible heater) would save me $80 per month x 4 months. Maybe it is cost effective to buy that newer style kerosene heater which runs on muti-fuel and is outside vented. However the vented style is 80%-90% efficent where non-vented is nearly 100% efficient. Vented means no smell or fumes and also the kerosene/diesel heater has a thermostat and automatically turns on/off and no internal wick.
I have contacted a Craigslist seller of a used vented style heater and havent gotten a reply on shipping costs etc,
I purchased a Wick for my Northern 3601 kerosene heater for $8.99 with free shipping from big-auction-site advertised as a "leftover from inventory". I see the black tips are slightly damaged and one side is taller than the other side - so Im not happy about that - as it needs to be even all the way around for good clean burn. I havent decided whether to replace my old one or try to make the old one last a bit longer by trimming the ends and extending upwards. I have seen these black tip ones upwards of $20each so I got a good price and even free shipping.
This new one is supposed to be better as it has black tips- black tips usually cost more. Im not sure why mine has a damaged area as it was new/sealed.
I have paid my electric bill in a lump sum today by telephone by live operator. I told the automated system - menu system for the BIG ELECTRIC company "Agent" which is a word that most computerized phone systems recognize as wanting to talk to a real live person. Also it asked me which department and I said "Bill" so when I reached a live operator I asked if it was the department which handles the bill.
Ok the reason I asked for a live operator is that the computerized system said "No balance due" which is definitely an error. So I called back and then handled everything with a person. Computerized systems in 2017 are dumb and even though the speech recognition is quite good- the menu options are not sufficient and the programmers dont have any insights into handling special cases or making any sort of thinking like a real person can do.
I asked the real person to check when the last time I made a payment and what my balance is. See whenever I pay my bills, I make a record of it on a piece of paper and show the amount, date, confirmation number, company etc. So I knew something was not right as the reason I made the call in the first place was to pay my bill.
I have found through many years of struggling with bills that the utility companies SOCK-IT-TO-ME with bills and trying to make contracts and then forcing you in the middle of winter to start paying on bills, but you also still need to pay your regular next month payment same-as-usual. The problem with that is - it PILES UP.
I didnt get any disconnection notice as I paid slightly ahead of that system flag.
So what I did this year is NOT PAY ANYTHING FOR MONTHS. In fact the entire winter. BY LAW the utility companies CANNOT shut off your utilities during the months of OCT through APRIL. I dont know the exact date so I leaned towards very late October and very beginning of April. That might be cutting the exact date range short. But nonetheless I did just that.
Today I paid en entire winters worth of electricity $175 aprox and I also paid a little extra for next month making it $202.50 ($2.50 was their fee over the phone). I did the same thing to the natural gas company a few days ago which was $253 for the entire winter. I checked my kerosene purchased at the pumps and I see so far approx $500. So winter is not over yet - in the sense that I still have to heat because early spring is chilly.
But my strategy seems to be working and I avoided alot of fees by simply not paying all the way through. See my income is seasonal and some months especially winter months - would leave me stranded and at the mercy of utility companies which have no mercy and pile on fees and boat anchor charges.
My thoughts are that I saved $800 over running my big-guzzler-furnace exclusively. Im still heating so this number will whittle down with one month to go.
The electric company computer said "NO BALANCE DUE" and was looking for a Succor to gouge. It is no accident. The operator told me they are having system problems today. I dont believe that DO YOU? After all of the grief I had with those utiility companys. I figured them out. My solution worked just fine. My utility power use was VERY LOW as the BIG-BAD utility companies are to be avoided as much as humanly possible. Buying fuel from the pump - as expensive as $4.30 really and truly is - still is cheaper than all of their (utility company) tricks and BS.
If I used my big guzzler furnace exclusively- the amount that I paid today for the entire winter season would be LESS that just one month of BIG-GUZZLER-Furnace exclusive use- it runs and runs and runs and runs. It would run my bills SO HIGH that I would be paying it off all summer and into falltime. But my strategy paid off and Im all paid off and even paid extra towards next month. SHEESH crazy ridiculous bills - I used to have just a few years ago - just to stay warm.
Not paying bills for months is a SURE WAY to get disconnected (I never had that) - so being aware of deadline dates is important and I paid just in the nick-of-time. Despite the computerized voice's ridiculous statement that "no balance due" I knew that there surely was a massive amount due. But not massive in the sense that - it was for an entire winters worth of frugal electricity use.
I see new style kerosene heaters which can run on gas station Diesel (probably non-winterized diesel which is flourescent green - due to additives which I think is mixing in antifreeze) Running winterized diesel in those SPECIAL type drip/non wick heaters is to be avoided. So that means storing summer diesel when it is available. I dont think storing diesel is feasible for me. But for some readers in the countryside - that is a viable even better solution for them than kersosene at half price. That would further drastically cut their heating expenses.
Power outage at 12:46pm and I immediately flipped the swith to turn off my furnace completely (was in standby as my thermostat was set to OFF - a couple of recent chilly days where the kerosene heater would lose a couple of degrees per day - heat boosted for a couple of hours each day with furnace)
Next I flipped the main power breaker. I have noticed in the past that during power outages in the past ther power would cut on / off intermittantly for the next hour or minutes etc. I really dont know how long the power outage lasted but for the next hour I used my motorcycle battery and LED 12V lights (for lighting - same output as a standard lightbulb) to finish up my project that I was working on.
After an hour I walked to my Electric power meter and saw the LCD display was up-and-running so I knew the power was back on. With my old analog electric power meter - I couldnt tell if the power was back on when my own circuit breaker was off. This is a good feature of the recently installed (last year July 2016) LCD power meter as when there is an outage - the LCD display is off. When power is restored then the LCD display is up and running.
Flipping off my main circuit breaker for an hour saves possible damage to expensive electronics like my furnace. I didnt have anything plugged in (no stove, no microwave, no tv, no computer) as I use a power strip/outlet power switch for most things and when Im done, I just flip it off.
When Im done using my computer I flip the switch in the back of the computer- which is built into the PCs power supply.
The items I have running all the time are my Refrigerator and MagicJack Go and phones connected to it. Those are at risk of damage during a power outtage. The cost of LED bulbs and Curly Q compact florescent bulbs is negligible. It does not appear that I have had any damage this time.
The weather outside is warm probaly 70degrees and sunny bright and very windy. The weather is changing drastically. I have not turned on my kerosene heater when it ran out at noon - but I did refill it during the outage outside. There will be some more chilly days during spring but hopefully the warm weather will be here for awhile longer.
This Page Updated 3/23/17