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-   -   How simply do you live? (https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=163801)

frymaster 10-31-08 09:16 AM


Originally Posted by kmcrawford111 (Post 7762024)
* I overheard this from a Lowe's employee: at night, turn the heat to your house off or way down, close the bedroom door, and run a smaller heater in that room only.

the theory on this one is solid. why heat thousands of cubic feet of air when all you really want is the dozen cubic feet of your body to be warm?

the problem, however, is that if that small heater is electric and your house heat is natural gas, the savings are going to be negligable (since gas is very efficient and electric isn't when it comes to generating heat).

my solution for this one has been to load up the bed with a tonne of blankets including a good layer of that lofted polyester stuff for solid insulation and then, about a half hour before bed time, throw three or four partially-filled hot water bottles under the covers.

way less energy needed to heat a couple of litres of water, and the heat goes straight to where you want it: your bed.

kmcrawford111 10-31-08 10:30 AM


Originally Posted by frymaster (Post 7767638)
the problem, however, is that if that small heater is electric and your house heat is natural gas, the savings are going to be negligable (since gas is very efficient and electric isn't when it comes to generating heat).

my solution for this one has been to load up the bed with a tonne of blankets including a good layer of that lofted polyester stuff for solid insulation and then, about a half hour before bed time, throw three or four partially-filled hot water bottles under the covers.

Do you mean energy savings or utility bill ($) savings? As far as cost goes, heating the house seems to trump everything else for the full year and I am using NG, even though we both seem to tolerate temps below 72 better than we do temps above 72. I'm concerned primarily with saving energy, not money, though the two usually go hand in hand. I have considered what you have said but I still believe using the small electric heater will use less energy since we are talking about heating only a fraction of the house instead of all of it, plus as I said the small one seems to run only a few times per night. The heat stays in the room well.

I do always use passive methods such as piling on the blankets first, but my wife prefers it warmer than I do. She's compromised even more than I could hope for, so I'm pretty content with the way we're doing it now.

Thanks for sharing your idea. How do you heat the water?

frymaster 10-31-08 11:05 AM

i'm talking energy savings here as well. since this is going to be long, i'm going to number my points.

1. the efficiency of your heating system depends on a lot of factors, the biggest of them being the aufe rating of your furnace and the size and insulation level of your bedroom. obviously if your furnace is a 20% efficient gravity furnace and your bedroom is only 50 sq ft, then that makes an electric space heater more viable. most modern furnaces, however, are in the mid-80s for aufe. as for the efficiency of electric heaters... well, despite the marketing hype, they're pretty much all the same. the exception here are some forms of radiant heating, but that's almost assuradely not what you're using.

2. with all that in mind, a good general rule of thumb is the second law of thermodynamics: that converting energy always results in a loss. with that in mind, let's look at electric heating. we burn natural gas (most likely) at a power plant, use the heat to boil water, use the steam to spin a turbine to create electricity, load the electricity on copper wires and transport it hundreds of kilometers, run the electricity through a massive resister and use the resulting heat to.... boil water (or heat air, or whatever). at each step of the way, we are losing efficiency. it's much more efficient to just cut out all that middle process and pipe natural gas straight into your house to boil water (or heat air, or whatever). so.... your furnace may be efficient or not, but all things being equal you will get significantly more btus per unit of natural gas by burning it in your home than by using electricity.

3. naturally, heating a smaller part of the house is a good idea. my water-bottle theory is based on the same approach, excpet it focuses on heating just the bed instead of the full bedroom. there's a downside, though: getting up in the morning. man, it is no fun to get out of your toasty bed and into a 8c room! incidentally, the notion of a bedwarmer is hundreds of years old -- traditionally they were copper or iron pans with hot coals in them.

4. i heat the water with natural gas. this does bring up a good point, though, since an even more efficient way to boil h2o is the microwave oven. this is because microwaves heat the objects in the oven directly instead of heating up the air in the oven and waiting for the hot air to heat the objects. so... if you own a microwave (and i'm told most people do :) ) that would be the best approach. in fact, i just went and did some googling, and found out some fancy-schmancy heat pads designed to warm up in the microwave and give off heat slowly. there's a neat one here: http://www.winhealth.co.uk/Scottie.htm




kmcrawford111 10-31-08 11:38 AM

Thanks for your thought-provoking post, especially #2. This is clearly a complex consideration with no quick and easy answer.

Here in Indiana, almost all of our electric is coal-fired.

z3px 11-07-08 09:57 PM

What about inline electric water heaters? The ones that heat the water as it passes through the box. Any better or worse than traditional water heaters?

mackerel 11-07-08 10:50 PM

I live in a hole in the ground and I only eat juniper berries.

dcrowell 11-08-08 05:25 PM

Okay, I'm making plans on living simpler. I can't do it all at once, so baby steps it is.

1) Sell one car (put it on craigslist today)
2) Sell TV (gotta convince myself of this still)
3) Sell house and move into city (good luck with selling the house)
4) Sell other car
5) ?
6) dig a hole, and find juniper berries? :)

pwhallon 11-11-08 09:46 AM

heat savings
 
I worked with a builder once who said to lower the heat at night only a few degrees. The energy to re-heat the house will offset any savings accrued by turning the heat all the way off.

We put celulose insulation in our new home and it really helps retain heat. We also had all voids and corners filled with low expansion foam. We run our heat at 67 degrees. In the morning, I bump it up to 68 degrees. The heat comes on and it feels a-lot warmer than it really is. When I leave, I turn it back down to 67.

In the morning we open the blinds to let the sun shine in. That creates a-lot of heat.

Must remember too, we are in North Ga. It's not as cold hear as up north.

Just some thoughts.

PW

zoltani 11-11-08 10:21 AM

Check out the hybrid house: http://cbs5.com/local/hybrid.house.energy.2.861216.html

"If you're tired of high electric bills, the house of the future may be able to take wasted energy from your home appliances, and store it for later.

Scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab are working on a so-called "hybrid house." Sources such as exhaust from a dryer or the heat generated from a refrigerator would be converted into energy and stored in giant batteries."

Roody 11-11-08 10:39 AM


Originally Posted by dcrowell (Post 7815224)
Okay, I'm making plans on living simpler. I can't do it all at once, so baby steps it is.

1) Sell one car (put it on craigslist today)
2) Sell TV (gotta convince myself of this still)
3) Sell house and move into city (good luck with selling the house)
4) Sell other car
5) ?
6) dig a hole, and find juniper berries?
:)

Try to make your "baby steps" positive, since this simplification is supposed to make you happier. Instead of the negative "sell car (no driving)", think of the positive--riding your bike more for fun, exercise and savings. Same with TV. In a positive light, you're not "giving up" TV--you're "taking up" another more valuable activity such as reading, knitting, taking a class, playing cards, or whatever.

As for #6, gin contains natutal juniper berries, so enjoy a nice martini while you're relaxing in your hole.

:D

dcrowell 11-11-08 10:59 AM


Originally Posted by Roody (Post 7830108)
Try to make your "baby steps" positive, since this simplification is supposed to make you happier. Instead of the negative "sell car (no driving)", think of the positive--riding your bike more for fun, exercise and savings. Same with TV. In a positive light, you're not "giving up" TV--you're "taking up" another more valuable activity such as reading, knitting, taking a class, playing cards, or whatever.

As for #6, gin contains natutal juniper berries, so enjoy a nice martini while you're relaxing in your hole.

:D

Okay, I was probably being too negative... one of my bad traits.

I did sell one of the cars. I'm not quite ready for car-free yet, so I'm holding onto the other.

Let's rewrite my list:
1) Sell extra car (done!)
2) Sell TV - spend more time reading sci-fi books!
3) Sell house and move into city - so I can ride to work every day
4) Sell other car
5) ?
6) dig a hole (for exercise), have a martini :lol:

alexherder 11-25-08 01:42 PM


Originally Posted by z3px (Post 7812280)
What about inline electric water heaters? The ones that heat the water as it passes through the box. Any better or worse than traditional water heaters?

These are great! When I lived in Africa it was the only water heating we had and the efficiency is amazing. Keeping a whole bunch of water warm in a tank seems like an awful waste of energy, no matter how insulated it is.

InfiniteRegress 11-25-08 01:51 PM

Interesting threat. I definitely try to live with as few things as possible, although I have to admit that this takes some conscious effort in this materialistic country we are in. It's so easy to buy stuff, especially when you earn good money. That being said, we have stayed in a one-bedroom condo specifically because we don't want to complicate our lives any more than we have to. We could easily afford a single-family home, but feel that condo living means 1) less things to worry about, 2) less space to store stuff, and 3) more money to spend on fun adventures. We travel frequently and don't feel at all cramped. As time goes on, we are definitely buying less and trying to really minimize the possessions we own. We're not as good as this initial poster, but we own very little compared to the "average" American couple.

levinskee 11-29-08 02:15 AM

I believe in today's society, speaking generally from the middle class standpoint, it's almost impossible to deny the few materialistic commodities we all have. I have spent the last year and a half of my life trying to live as simply as possible to build up to next year when I am taking my bicycle and traveling the country (which I did once before, but just by trains and only for 10 days)...

That particular trip really opened my eyes to absolutely every little thing in the world and in life. I realized patience and simplicity like I never had before.

My essentials in life include:

-My bicycle. I'm sure that's a given.
-Macbook.
-Cell phone.
-Coffee.
-Good food.
-Clothing.
-Live music.
-Books.

Unfortunately I still have a horrible habit of spending money that I don't have and purchasing things I don't need. If I saved every penny I spent on coffee, unneeded food, and clothing I would have so much.
My New Years resolution is to get a job (i've been unemployed since September and it sucks) and save up for my trip and for a new college.

ausfix 12-11-08 03:21 PM

"I think "living simply" boils down in most cases to being debt free."

There is also the idea of impacting the natural environment as little as possible.

cyclokitty 12-11-08 03:59 PM

Living simple to me means good friends, great family, tasty homemade food, enjoying sunsets, riding my bike instead of the bus or subway, snuggling a cat, and tunes from my ipod.

kingcounty07 12-12-08 01:57 AM

i have always tried to live simply. espicially in the last few years, i think it was when i was told by my boss to take boxes (and i mean BOXES) of old clothes that he doesnt wear anymore to goodwill or to try and sell em', that i realized that material stuff is not that important especially clothes.
but i am not perfect, i do indulge in some things bikes and bike parts for one, and also, i live in seattle so i just spent a good chunk of change on a new jacket for the winter rain that we are notorious for. But, the way i justify it to myself is, that everything i spend money on i try to make it practical and functional not just flashy brands and useless junk.

and dcrowell i might wait on selling the home for at least a year or so until you see what direction the market may be going, and listen to roody's advice, it is always best to look at the glass half full, try to find positive things to focus on to replace the negative things in you life that you could do without.

pwhallon 12-15-08 09:47 AM


Originally Posted by levinskee (Post 7933447)

My essentials in life include:

-My bicycle. I'm sure that's a given.
-Macbook.
-Cell phone.
-Coffee.
-Good food.
-Clothing.
-Live music.
-Books.

Due to the economic downturn where we live, I have been forced, over the past few years, to sell off lots of the junk I bought when I was making lots of $$$$......Realtor.

You know what? I don't miss any of it other than my little Catalina sailboat. I love to sail and will get back to it someday. I cruised around on the Schwinn this morning and my inner 12 year-old and exterior 49 year-old were having a blast.


I like your "essentials list. Nice and simple. This recession has been good for me spiritually. I am feeling fine and my possessions don't poses me anymore.

PW

gerv 12-15-08 07:04 PM


Originally Posted by pwhallon (Post 8023801)
[SIZE="3"]
I like your "essentials list. Nice and simple. This recession has been good for me spiritually. I am feeling fine and my possessions don't poses me anymore.

PW

Yesterday I spoke with a friend of mine in California. He lost his job a while back and is now surviving doing odd jobs. He claims he now has a better mental outlook and is in better health than when he spend two hours a day on the freeway commuting to his job.

dcrowell 12-19-08 07:28 PM


Originally Posted by kingcounty07 (Post 8007987)
and dcrowell i might wait on selling the home for at least a year or so until you see what direction the market may be going, and listen to roody's advice, it is always best to look at the glass half full, try to find positive things to focus on to replace the negative things in you life that you could do without.

Yeah, I'm planning on revisiting that decision in a few years. My thoughts now are to pay off debt in the meantime, ride as much as I can, and later, when the market is better, move closer to work, and buy another inexpensive home.

It also means I won't be car-free for a few years, but I will be car-lite.

I'm trying to come up with my own "essentials list", but it keeps getting too big. :twitchy:

Machka 12-19-08 07:46 PM


Originally Posted by dcrowell (Post 8049904)
I'm trying to come up with my own "essentials list", but it keeps getting too big. :twitchy:


Go on a bicycle tour ... an extended one if you can manage it.

I lived out of two panniers, a trunk bag, and a handlebar bag for three months ... and discovered what was essential and what was not.

dcrowell 12-20-08 12:55 AM


Originally Posted by Machka (Post 8049990)
Go on a bicycle tour ... an extended one if you can manage it.

I lived out of two panniers, a trunk bag, and a handlebar bag for three months ... and discovered what was essential and what was not.

Machka... you are hard-core.

I couldn't do that... I'd have to get ride of all my stuff... oh wait.. :innocent:

Actually I would love to have time and money for a three-month tour. Maybe someday I will.

Roody 12-20-08 03:39 PM


Originally Posted by Machka (Post 8049990)
Go on a bicycle tour ... an extended one if you can manage it.

I lived out of two panniers, a trunk bag, and a handlebar bag for three months ... and discovered what was essential and what was not
.

That's interesting. I don't know if you're aware of it, but Thoreau said that the reason he lived in his tiny hand-built cabin in the woods was to "discover what is essential."

Iheartbicycles 12-20-08 11:14 PM

I like this forum. :)

sunburst 12-23-08 02:14 AM

I took my son out to lunch today for the holidays, and upon exiting the restaurant, took a look around at the expensive area we live in, and started ruminating on how odd (and sometimes difficult) it is to live simply in an expensive area. Most of the people that live in this over-achieving heart of silicon valley would look at me like I'm crazy if I told them about "living simply."

At lunch, I almost ordered a glass of wine and started asking the waiter about choices. After so many questions and my general indecisiveness, the waiter brought me the wine list. I looked and looked at the various $10+ glasses of wine (already beyond my threshold of pain, btw), wondering which might be worth it, and then saw one at the bottom - you know, where the house wine usually is - and I saw a $10 "half-glass," that he was recommending. Puzzled, I asked about it, then noticed that they were selling a "full glass" of the same for $19. Nineteen frickin' dollars! Damn. That just does not compute to me.

At any rate, I have been living car-free, and enjoying it, since the summer gas runup, and I have not met one person who responded favorably when I told them about it. They're either indifferent or puzzled. They really don't get it.


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