Hole-In-One (Bill)

s2042I’ve been busy, literally digging into stuff.  The morons who built my house screwed up, so heavy rains gave me a wet basement.  By digging, I’ve been able to seriously whack my electric bill, saving ridiculous amounts of Watts.

More explanation: the property was not graded properly.  A house is supposed to be surrounded by a mild slope, causing rain to run off away from the foundation (and any basement if present).  Failure to grade leads to a damp basement, and in extreme cases foundation damage or settling.  My basement was damp in general, and certainly after serious rains, so I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I’ve been digging for months now, adding drainage features.  Then I threw the spoil toward my walls, to alter slopes.  I’m not even finished, and already I’ve been able to turn off the dehumidifier in the basement.  Without it, the electric bill fell sharply.  The first month, I didn’t pay attention much.  The second month was a coincidence.  The third month, however, showed me the dehumidifier had been the one biggest energy use in the house, since my electric bill is now half.  Yes, half.  Just digging cut my electricity use in half, and my EV is now “paid off” (in wattage terms) several times over.

I have to retract that first part: the general contractors for the house weren’t morons.  They aren’t paying the monthly utility bills, I am.  So what do they care if they “screwed up”?  Someone bought the new house, so for a builder, they succeeded.  Succeeded in suckering at least one homebuyer.  I, a later owner, am a sucker no more, and not an energy sucker.  Which makes me wonder: how many screwups are there, in this land of detached houses, and how many are simply being covered up by energy sucking?

People still complain about electricity usage in general, and EV charging specifically.  How many screwed up homes and businesses are sitting there?  How many still use incandescent bulbs?  How many drafty walls and roofs are making energy fly out of the building?

As a rich nation, we can afford to blissfully ignore questions.  We can sit back and not care that the monthly bill is higher than it could be- hey, my favorite show has new episodes.  This is the same process by which people whine about corn being turned into ethanol, yet those same people guzzle soda, and lots of other things shot full of corn syrup (including stuff that isn’t supposed to be all that sweet anyway).  How many of those whiners commute in a 20-mpg truck, then go on complaining about, oh, anything gas-related at all?

I will say that I have an interest, of course- I want a nice house, and a livable basement increases the property value.  It just so happens that I cut my power bill in half in the process.  But I’m talking to the ground loop heat pipe people, which would cut my energy bills even further.  Digging up the yard might kill two birds, by prepping for heat pipe installation.  If it pans out, and that’s far from a given, then my dehumidifier, air conditioning, and heating demand will all fall significantly.

And no, it’s not just springtime.  I wasn’t using electric heat, so the change of seasons didn’t end any electric heating season.  It’s not the increased light, since I’d switched all my bulbs last year or the year before.  I would’ve noticed that power reduction last spring or fall.  And while it’s true that air conditioning season hasn’t fully ramped up yet, decreasing humidity in the structure will help that, too.  With less humidity, my air conditioning will stretch further since the place will feel better to begin with.

Again, EV power consumption is not a showstopper.  EVs charge mostly at night, and they are vastly more efficient than internal combustion.  So that nighttime draw is a fraction of what a gasoline equivalent would be (and no, diesel’s only marginally better than gas).  The amount of Watts drawn, particularly for a 2-wheeler, is easily found in all the waste we’re tolerating today.  Again, are you a sucker?


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