Posts Tagged ‘utilities’

In home electric monitoring, Real Time Data and Age Old Adages

May 24, 2012

By U.S. Air Force photo by Edward Aspera Jr. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

NYT reported last month that although there are some early adopters of monitors of electric use in our homes, it is predicted that more than half will have them in the next ten years.    Notable in the Times article is a quote from Dan Yates, CEO of Opower: “Simply making energy usage visible can have an impact”.   I can believe that; after all, “knowledge is power”, right?

Blending physics, and metaphor, with this age old adage (I can’t resist throwing in some physics), power implies transformation.  It is a function of using energy to do work.  My point is that energy monitors aren’t worth squat unless we change our behavior based on what they tell us.  In fact, since you plug them in, they use electricity, they don’t save it.

Local utilities are offering energy data with things like the green button which we’ve written about in the past. Changing light bulbs to CFLs or LEDs can make a big impact with electric loads.  When you use electricity—for A/C or to heat water for example—more efficient systems can make a difference; and so can improving the home in other ways.   The gains in insulating and air sealing, proper shading, and good windows can really make an impact on your energy usage as well as your comfort.

I wonder if the adage “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing” is relevant?  Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to keep an eye on your electrical usage, but don’t get caught watching and not acting. Or maybe, “a fool and his money will soon part” fits too.



Gas Meter Maintenance 101

October 16, 2010

Your gas meter and above ground gas piping need to be kept in shape, just the same as your combustion equipment does. Luckily, in most cases, this is quite easy and requires only minimal effort on your behalf. Maintaining meters and piping is mostly about controlling the environment immediately surrounding them.

Don’t do anything stupid:

  • Don’t try to move your meter assemblage on your own. If you have a home improvement project that requires the meter to be moved, call your gas company and ask them to do it for you.
  • Don’t build enclosures, decks, porches etc. around your meter, as this could prevent first responders from accessing it in an emergency situation.

Keep your meter clear:

  • In summer, don’t let a jungle grow around your meter and don’t cover your meter with topsoil or other landscaping materials.
  • In winter, use a broom to remove snow from the meter, and remove icicles hanging over it.
  • If your meter becomes encased in ice call your gas company immediately.

Important Tip:

You never want your meter to be hit by a vehicle, so make sure whoever clears your snow in the winter knows of its location. If your meter is in a driveway it is wise to erect a barricade to protect it. Contact your gas company about barricade options that protect the meter without compromising emergency access.

%d bloggers like this: