As the gub'mint looks to regulate us into using less energy, I kinda wonder why we don't have other means to reduce our energy use.
One thing that I keep looking for and not finding is something that is like the timers that turn a lamp on at a certain hour and off at a different hour - but that the timer is something that you can just set for, say, 30 minutes. I would think this would be really smart to have on a lot of appliances. A space heater is the first thing that comes to mind: this thing uses so much power, that I don't want it to run for more than 60 minutes. If I want to run it for more than 60 minutes, I'll give the knob another twist.
There are knobs like this for bathroom fans. That seems smart. The fan will run for 20 minutes after you leave the bathroom.
How about something like that for certain lights. Or for burners on the stove. Or for the charger for my cordless drill (how much power does that draw when I am not charging the pack?)
What if certain light switches were such that when you touch them, they come on for one minute. The idea is to provide light to help you get in and get situated and then find a more direct light. Maybe the light will slowly dim over five minutes.
I'm just surprised that this sort of timer is not something that is sold for $3 at every hardware store. In fact, I cannot find anything like this at all, except for the thing that you install in the wall for a bathroom fan.
Have you checked smarthome.com or x10.com? I used to have my old house "moduled up" with X10 remote controlled switches and plug modules, all controled by my computer. It was really neat, and the software has become all the more sophisticated that I wonder if you can program your computer to do things like respond to an on event then dim to off over 5 minutes...
paul wheaton wrote: That stuff seems super expensive.
Surely there is something .... simpler and cheaper?
I haven't bought that stuff for a long time. It used to be that x10 was giving away their stuff, free starter kits, constant $10 coupons...etc. Last time I bought something it was a little more expensive than I wanted...
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i used to have a lot of things on timers..but i found that a lot of the timers, even the expensive ones, tend to fail quickly..so be careful what you buy..
stay away from the ones they sell at Christmas time..they are cheap junk...will last a season or two and then quit.
intermatic are really really lousy timers.
i switched from using timers to using remote controls for some led lights in our china cabinets and entertainment centers..i use them for nightlights to keep hubby from killing himself as he is up most nights all night..the remotes make it easy to turn them on and off..from a tiny button..rather than reaching up really high to flip on and off each switch.
i had them on timers..but the timers quit on me.
i have my outside walklights on timers..except the solar ones (which are never really bright enough to walk by)
i used to have timers on lots of things..some of our nightlights have automatic eyes..they are led.
make sure your timers have a guarantee..if you are going to buy them
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This is something that could easily be built. Egg timer style switches are available. Just make a junction box with an outlet and the switch that could then be plugged into any outlet in your home. Probably cost less than 10 dollars to make.
I think you hit the issue there. The amount of power you're talking about saving is very little in dollar cost. It would take several years of energy savings to pay back the cost of the timer and wiring it up.
Your ROI would be much higher if you did larger things like build a cob home that has enough thermal mass to not need heating and cooling .
Of course, I think most people would end up in between those two extremes.
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I used a motion sensor switch on my root cellar. It cost less than $10, and i could set it to come on for a variety of different times. It was a simple install, and I never had to worry if the light was left on.
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I read through this thread and came to Timothy who has done exactly the same thing I have in several places. Motion detector wall switches. We use them on walk in closets, the front entrance, inside and outside. One in the laundry room and the garage. I'm not sure how much energy they have actually saved over ten years but they are very convenient if nothing else.
We also have wall timer switches for bath fans. At the solar powered cabin I have a timer switch on the shed lights.