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Lots of thoughts on saving power.


Joined: Jun 10, 2011
Posts: 55
I am concerned with saving power. I think consumer responsibility is one part of the battle, and I want to go into it, but first...

The most inefficient and problematic things are still in corporate manufacturing, practice, and methodology. Consumer responsibility is a newer thing recent to the 70's (villinize ourselves instead of bad practice on grandiose levels). For example Boise Cascade in Kettle Falls WA can cut their power bill by tens of thousands by doing things like not turning on all the motors at once after a power outage, or not allowing personal heaters everywhere (people stand around in T-shirts in winter, when nearly outside). There are a few hundred examples of ways that one single place could save electricity. (It just happens to be one I am familiar with)

If we wanted a big difference in some of our consumer products reducing their power usage there are some big factors. You may of heard about "phantom power" which is and is not real. How it works is many manufactures are unwilling to invest in high enough quality parts for the things you use, to allow regular cold starts of the items. They continually run electricity through their transformer (which steps down voltage before it is rectified into DC for use) at full use but there is no draw on the DC side until you flip a piss ant switch barely worth somewhere in-between the penny in your pocket and the lint in it. If These items where made of a highly quality they would last for potentially generations while being able to cold start.

If you were so worried you could technically install your own switch into items that circumvent turning the power off. You can also have a switch that turns sockets on and off.

The "war" of stereo's needing lots of power to sound good is also a hilarity among consumer products. I will say some stereos sound good with outrageous amounts of power and exist only in such a way they can operate at that level (and are not sold at any box store, basically it is all shit). Then for us more concerned people there are different options not available largely due to manufacturing costs. For example you can make your ears bleed with less than 3 watts per channel if the speakers are not only efficient but designed in a good box made out of something better than plastic and fiberboard. Such speakers can be powered by a stereo that runs off batteries (cheap way to make a stereo sound good) for a few weeks off one charge (to give an idea of how little power is used). Unfortunately you have to make this stuff unless you have a decent amount of money because we can't afford to pay someone a living wage in our country to make it for us generally... but hey this is a forum where people make their own stuff. My greater point being how moving forward without moving backwards; we can be smarter, use technology, be more sustainable, all at the same.

To me I see a reject of things we want until we can make or afford a better alternative.

Longevity of things can be increased with better wall sockets. It is a huge expenses but no one should ever use short of hospital grade plug ins or equivalent (there are non-marked ones made by different manufactures). They can cost $8-13 a piece but the benefits are worth it. First they are not a common failure item where as historically sockets have been fire hazards. What do you expect for a non-subsidized item that cost $1.50? Next the better the grip the easier, with less heat, your items will operate. When the grip is poor carbon build up begins to happen. This constrains the current flow. When current flow is constrained the draw of electricity naturally wants to raise the voltage but the limitations to this are great.

More later... just thoughts.

Carina Robicheaux

Joined: Nov 08, 2011
Posts: 35
Location: Oregon Coast Range zone 8b
Thanks for the ideas. I'm getting ready to build a house (I'm doing the wiring) and I like the idea of having outlets on a switch to help with phantom loads. I think I'll use that.
I'm also keeping circuits dedicated to lighting, so I can swap them over to a 12V distribution panel and bulbs after the inspector goes away for good.

You can't fight the waves but you can learn to surf.

Joined: Jun 10, 2011
Posts: 55
Don't forget to use high quality sockets!

If you go to Home Resource you can pick them up cheap. The usually have a few Hubbels or Bryants.

Joined: Jun 10, 2011
Posts: 55
Right now I am thinking about if I don't fill unused space in my fridge with jars that have water in them, would oil work better? Not that I would buy oil for it, but could come in excess of it at some time. I know oil holds heat longer, but not sure with cold.

If one were building a house you could make a somewhat modular cubby that allows you to insulate the fridge some... (properly, the compressor area needs to breath) but I imagine modern fridges are actually insulated very well. What I would think about is a barrel of sand for carrots and whatever other veggies keep that way, in a cellar or something.
subject: Lots of thoughts on saving power.