Electric Air Conditioner, Range & Heater
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|Many appliances using electrical energy made its way into buildings, both commercial and residential. Arguably, the electric hot air furnace is the biggest electrical energy consumer. Those dinosaurs were never very popular and the price of electrical energy wiped them out. Only their small cousins, the baseboard heaters, remained on the scene. Often the baseboard heaters are located in places hardly accessible by any other form of heat supply. Their electrical energy consumption could be limited to a very high degree by thermal insulation of the building/room where they are installed.
The second big offender and huge electric energy consumer is the air conditioner. Evaporating the moisture from the surface of humans skin is the way for the body to cool down. Ideally, the dry air keeps moving and more efficient cooling effect take place. The air conditioning unit is a huge dehumidifier and attempts to dehumidify all the rooms in the house. A very similar cooling effect could be achieved by using another component of the body cooling process, air movement. To our advantage, it takes a lot less electrical energy to run a set of ceiling fans in the house. The outdoor fresh air may be supplied from the Earth Tubes (google this term) system. In order for such efficient low energy air conditioning system to be sustainable, the whole house has to be well insulated. The heat exchange with the outdoor has to be slowed down to a minimum.
The accused number three, the electric range/oven is hard to avoid. In an average Canadian house, the biggest breaker and the electric circuit, is prepared for the electric range. It is worth 40 Amps at 240 Volts and can handle a total of 9600 Watts! I have not yet seen an electric range circuit working to its full capacity, but using it at several kiloWatts is common. The more efficient halogen electric range uses less kiloWatts. Switching to natural gas cuts a huge amount of kiloWatt hours of the hydro utility bill.
Position number four is taken by an electric water heater. It comes up to 4500 Watts in the electrical energy consuming capacity and it is relatively easy to replace. The highly efficient gas water heater could bring electrical energy for water heating bill to zero, and keep hot water hot. Gas water heaters come in the two varieties: with the tank or the tank-less, and both use only minimal amounts of the electrical energy.
The fifth team member of the major offenders is the washer/dryer combo. The electric clothes dryer is the worst electrical energy consumer of the couple. Potentially, it could represent up to 30 Amps of 240 Volts (7200 Watts), but less powerful units are used today. The gas clothes dryer can cut electrical energy used for clothes drying to just a few percent and solar dryer (clothes line) could cut it down to zero. The clothes washer takes much less electrical energy, unless you have the sophisticated washer capable of heating up the supplied water and this option is used. Heaters installed in the washer could be 2000 Watts strong.
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