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First, let me say, that this is not a good option for me. Why? The one Drainergy model won’t work with plastic pipes. The both companies I have found need a vertical section of pipe for replacement.

Here are both companies.


GFX Technology

Now, how does this thing work?

The vertical recovery systems use something called a film heat recovery idea. The concept is simple. The falling water in the drain pipe always “sticks” to the side of the pipe. Like rain on a window. Both manufacturers make vertical recovery systems. Both require a vertical section to be replaced with a copper pipe. That copper pipe has and external coil wrapped around it. As the falling drain water passes thorough the pipe it gives up its heat the the colder outer coil water line. The now warmer “cold” water is then feed into the water heater. This type of system is great for recovering heat from a shower type usage. Meaning you take a 20 minute shower and the system will work the best. If you take a bath then the system will not work hardly at all. But the next type will work.

The next type can be a horizontal or a vertical. The basic idea is to strap a “small” tank on the outside of the pipe. This type of system is more capable of capturing intermittent uses of hot water. (Think dishwasher and clothes washer)

Drainergy makes Vertical and Horizontal. GFX Tchnology makes only Vertical. O’well, I will just file this under my dream house plans.


So you have an older AC unit. You live in the south where you run the air all the time. You are a perfect candidate for a Heat Recovery Unit.

What is it you ask? It is an add-on device that works with your Heat pump or air conditioner to make hot water. It uses the hot compressed refrigerate to do it. Instead of blasting the hot temperatures into  the atmosphere, it  puts it into the water.

Trevor-Martin Corporation makes a heat recovery unit. (They also make add-on heat pumps)

You can read the benefits for yourself but I would like to post just one thing,

I heard that Heat Recovery Units will decrease the efficiency of my air conditioning system. Is this true?
Absolutely not!! As a rule of thumb, a Heat Recovery Unite will increase your A/C efficiency by 10%. It also reduces the head pressure on the compressor; thereby reducing stress and improving compressor service life.
You get three benefits from adding a heat recovery: Free hot water for your house; reduced air conditioning cost; and improved A/C operating life.

Sounds very good to me. Since I don’t run the air for more then six months a year it does not make me a great candidate for it. But, if you do have a large cooling load, think of a restaurant or gas station with a car wash, your hot water would be… for the most part… free.

VOC  stands for Volatile Organic Compound. Here is the wikipedia on it. Basically, VOCs are bad. That is why when you paint with normal paint you have to open the windows. I, myself, have been light-headed before from painting. Interesting but not healthy.

The wife and I are think about paint some rooms in the house in the very near future. We don’t want to add anything “bad” to our house. The “new house” smell is not a good healthy smell. It is chemical outgases from products in your house. (Think carpet and paint, along with new furniture.)
The Freshaire Choice, by home depot. Sold by them anyway. We have always liked Home Depots Behr paint. But this is not Behr paint. The reviews I am read say the color fades when washed with water and it does not cover or wear well.

Benjamin Moore’s Aura Reviews I have heard of state that is wears well but goes on thick. Coverage is not that good. Slight smell but not too bad.

Sherwin-Williams Harmony This is the paint many pros use. Review give this paint some credibility. Cost only slightly more then regular paint.

Since Sherwin-Williams store is only a mile from my house. I think I will try them out. I have read that they sometimes run coupons on their site for the Harmony paint. Then it would be very close in price to regular paint. If the finished product looks the same and it prep is the same, why would anyone ever use old fashion paint anymore!

FWIW – Milk Paint. Found it very interesting.

We have had some nice cool nights. I wish I had a whole house fan. But no, I have to run the air! So I am looking at them again.

The Century Homestead between the truss is perfect. But, they would have to freight ship it from California. Total cost would be close to $1000. ($880 minimum)

I know I want a Triangle Engineering Fan Unit. I have read continuous reviews about how wonderful they are.

I really like the Fanman six blade unit. But, again, they are in California. It is however made by Triangle Engineering.

I could just buy a unit that you install into a window. Say something like this.What I would be afraid of is that I would leave it in the window and then it would rain.

I will figure this out. And when I do, I will post my results.

I have used my home made DVR for almost three years now. I love over the air HD TV so much I turned off cable almost two years ago. This computer DVR has paid for itself twice over. Only one problem. It uses 90 Watts of electricity every hour of every day for almost three years. (Actually, it used to use more but I have upgraded it twice since the beginning, new Hard drive and new CPU)

365 days x 3 years x 24 hours x 0.090 kilowatts x $0.10 = $236.52

That’s right. This thing cost me over $200 to run in the last three years.

24 hours x 0.090 kilowatts = 2.16 kilowatts

That’s right. This thing uses almost as much power as my refrigerator!

What am I going to do? I can not just turn it off. The entire family loves this thing. I need to make it better! Use less power. Be able to go in and out of suspend mode without missing a beat.

My goal is to make a system that uses less then 500 Watts a day. Remember a few months ago I made a “Green PC” It used 40 Watts. My new goal would cut that in half. It is a good thing I like messing around with computer stuff. Almost as much as I like alternative energy topics.

I hope to have something in a week or two.

Come on. Organic is not that hard. It is actually less work for me. I placed the garden where I had a two year old compost pile.Tilled everything up.  Layered out some newspaper. (This has worked great to keep the weeds down.) Covered it with grass clippings. Soaked everything real good. The next day I planted the corn. I just pushed in the seeds right thru the wet newspaper. I even water the garden with rain water collected from the roof.

Sweet Corn and Acorn Squash

Sweet Corn and Acorn Squash

I think the time has come for a newer HVAC system. I currently have a SEER 10 AC unit and a 80% efficient furnace. I would like to get a High Efficiency Heat Pump. Both of my neighbours have heat pumps. They never complain about the quality of the heat and they never complain about a $300 gas bill. The one neighbour says his electric bill in the winter is only $150. So basically, I as wasting $225 a month. ($300 for gas minus the $75 I already spend on electric) Interesting enough that same neighbour just replaced his “builder special” unit last week. The total bill was $3000. This was not a top of the line model. It was SEER13 and HSPF 7.7 unit. I personally think if they spent more they may have actually spent less. Why? The federal tax credit for 30% of the total cost. Plus we have state and local utility incentives too. is a great site for this kind of information. All you need to get the Federal Tax credit is a SEER 15 and HSPF 8.5. They make a gazillion units that meet this now.

What I would like to get. iQ Drive. It should be out in a few weeks. With that said, what the heck is this thing going to cost? The guy I spoke with at the mom and pop shop said he thought it would cost way too much and thought I should get a SEER 15 Heat pump that qualifies for the tax credit. But there is a big difference between SEER 15 and SEER 22.

What I am most concerned with is the heating not the cooling. Remember, to go down from 100 to 75 is a lot easier then up from 0 to 65. I just don’t want to have to get into using the “emergency heat”. That would be a 20kW resistive heating element. That would make my meter spin really fast.

One no so good thing about heat pumps is that as outdoor temperatures go down the less efficient they become. When the temps hit zero degrees F, you are at about as good as resistive heating. Think back to last winter, we did not hit zero very often. Or for that mater 15 degrees. If I had 100 hours of resistive heating. (Very high guess!) That would cost 20kW x 100hours x $0.10 = $200. Even if that 100 hours was during the same month as the old gas $300 bill was in. I am still money ahead.

I may not get the iQ drive but I will get a nicer unit. I want this thing to last and provide great comfort inside my home. Think about it, that is where you spend most of your time.

I have had my new Air Vent installed for a few days now. Nice cool air for a few hours in the early afternoon. Installation was very easy. Total time was about 1 hour and 30 minutes. I had to install a “Street Elbow” to make room for the Air Vent because originally the expansion tank was in the way. I only had to shut the water off and screw it in.

Air Vent Installed onto the Air Tap

Air Vent Installed onto the Air Tap

My only complain is that they should have made it the same color white as the Air Tap. But it is in the basement and I did not buy in because it looks pretty. I am still trying to quantify the savings the Air Tap will have on my electric bill from the cooled air waste product. If the unit runs for 5 hours a day. That would be a net increase of 35,000 BTU of cooling into the house. That is the same as runing my AC for well over an hour. Maybe now that I have the cooled air directed to somewhere useful I will see an impact.

This past month I used 7 CCF. A year ago this time I used 16 CCF. What is one therm equal to? For me, it is equal to running my furnace for a little over a hour. That would mean I would have “ran my furnace” for only 10 hours this past month. The usage come from my gas dryer. (Still waiting for a Heat Pump Dryer!) I installed my hot water heat pump about a week into the month. I figure that the dryer uses 5 CCF a month. I don’t know the efficiency of the dryer but I would think 100%. How many KWhrs are is 5 CCF of Natural Gas? If my math is correct. 150kWhrs. That is the reason I want to get a heat pump dryer. Still, the cost for an additional 150kWhrs is about $15 @ $0.10 a Kwhr. But, for me, the more I use the less I pay. If I am over 1000 kWhrs in a billing period it goes down to $0.05 per kWhr. So I may only pay $7.50 extra per month.

Currently my bill is only for $18.27. This would cost about the same if I were to have used electric instead of gas. ( 7CCF) I only have to replace my furance and dryer. Then I will not have to worry about gas ever again. (Don’t knwo what I am going to do with with my hardly ever use gas fireplace. Corn / Pellet Stove?)

Lastly, the kill-a-watt reading for my hot water heat pump is about 95kWhrs. For the billing cycle it will be slightly above 100 kWhrs. (10CCF for hot water = 300 kWhrs, I used 100kWhrs. That would be 300% efficent when compared to the gas water heater!)

That’s right. I almost ran out. My in-laws were in town. So, I took a shower, then my father in-law, then my wife, finally my mother in-law. All of that was in about an hours time. Then 45 minutes later my 2 year old daughter takes a morning bath. (She missed two nights in a row. Why, because every time we asked she said, “NO!” got to love ‘um at two years old.) As we all know baths use more water then showers. My wife yells down to me, “we are running out of hot water.” I kindly explain to her the our old water heater would have barely made it past shower #2 let alone four.   Then you want it to fill a bath tub. Ha! I think it did very well.

The heat pump then ran for about five hours. Worked great. and as it should have. I am very glad I went with the 80 Gallon tank. For awhile I was thinking that I went to big. Maybe the 66 gallon would have been better. Now I know I made the right choice. Years from now when all four of us are taking showers in the morning I will know I have enough hot water.