Win a copy of Permaculture Design Companion this week in the Permaculture Design forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Mike Jay Haasl
  • Burra Maluca
garden masters:
  • James Freyr
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Dave Burton
  • Pearl Sutton

saving energy with a 60 minute timer

 
master steward
Posts: 28601
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
hugelkultur trees chicken wofati bee woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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.


 
gardener
Posts: 231
Location: Central IL
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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
master steward
Posts: 28601
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
hugelkultur trees chicken wofati bee woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That stuff seems super expensive. 

Surely there is something ....  simpler and cheaper?

 
Jeremy Bunag
gardener
Posts: 231
Location: Central IL
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

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...

I'll keep a lookout for cheaper timers...
 
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

paul wheaton wrote:
That stuff seems super expensive. 

Surely there is something ....  simpler and cheaper?



One site I follow covers this topic from time to time.  Here's their whole home automation archive:

http://hackaday.com/tag/home-automation/
 
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
23
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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
 
                            
Posts: 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 28601
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
hugelkultur trees chicken wofati bee woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The switches alone, for bathroom fans, appear to typically cost $12 to $30.

I guess it just seems like something that would be good for saving energy. 

And, well, it seems that nothing spurs on being green like being green through rampant consumerism.  So this seems like a field ripe for the harvest.

 
Posts: 269
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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.
 
                              
Posts: 18
Location: GREAT STATE OF IDAHO
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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. 
 
                    
Posts: 0
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 28601
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
hugelkultur trees chicken wofati bee woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think about stuff like a personal heater. 

Put it on for two or three hours and then it shuts off.  If you want it to keep going, turn it on again. 

Lotsa power - thus a timer switch can earn its keep.  And a motion detector might not be a good fit here.

 
Paper beats rock. Scissors beats tiny ad.
3 Plant Types You Need to Know: Perennial, Biennial, and Annual
https://permies.com/t/96847/Pros-cons-perennial-biennial-annual
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!