Electric & Safety - How can I offset the energy usage of my grow room?
How can I offset the energy usage of my grow room?
There are a number of people who worry about their grow room power usage attracting LEO. Rather than worrying about it, do something about it - offset that usage with savings from around the house. I know, it's been stipulated around here numerous times that a small power jump will not bring LEO to your door - I agree with this philosophy. However, for those who do not agree with this - how much effort is your peace of mind worth?
Do you have to be paranoid to want to perform these steps? No. As I've previously stated, I don't worry about LEO visiting due to my power bill, but I do like to save money. I like the idea of "free weed" too (my highest grow cost is power; I suspect yours is too). If you work at it, there are a lot of places around your house where you can conserve electricity usage - often times enough to offset what you're using in the grow room. If you can't completely offset it (net zero), you can make a big dent in it.
Replace as many incandescent bulbs as you can with compact fluorescents - twenty or thirty watts times 10 lights adds up quick. Compact fluorescents use about 75% less energy than incandescent lamps, and emit 90% less heat for the same amount of light.
Turn off lights when you leave the room! I know I sound like my Dad, but, for Christ's sake - my wife and kids must think I'm the damn electric company! Seriously though, when you start to pay attention to it, it's weird how often you see this one simple rule ignored (me included). Prior to changing to CF's, my kitchen used a total of 440 watts with all lights on - you really don't want to waste that kind of wattage.
Add a timer to your hot water heater; they are available at all home improvement centers - installation info is readily available (or have an electrician do it - it's a common request).
Check the temperature your hot water heater is running (a small dial right usually behind that small cover on the front) - some factory settings are ridiculously high (close to dangerous at times).
Add a water heater "blanket" - available at any home improvement center. Insulate the hot pipes running out of the water heater while you're at it.
Check the caulking on all your windows - leaks here add up to extra heating/cooling costs. If you can afford it, consider replacing old windows with newer, energy efficient models.
If you live in a hot climate, consider tinting windows that get a lot of heat during the day (east, west and south windows), or at least install some blinds and keep them closed.
Check the weather stripping on all exterior doors - leaks here add up to extra heating and cooling costs (and bugs - yuk!).
If you have an attic, install an attic fan - It will save your overall cooling costs big time in the summer months. Better yet, get the convective heat rise powered type (turbine).
Install (or have installed) a programmable thermostat. No need to keep the house too cool or warm when no one is home.
Ceiling fans - Add them where you don't have them. The effect is equivalent to lowering the air temperature by about 4 degrees F.
Add insulation to your attic. If your house is older and you (or someone else) have been up there crawling or walking around on for years, your current insulation may be compacted (that's a bad thing). Check your local yellow pages to have someone come out and blow in some more insulation. It's not cheap, but not as bad as you might think. And it will save you money on heating/cooling.
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