What is the difference between Service, Repair, Maintenance, Improvement?
I'll be offering this answers to these questions as projects go up online. The key is to know the difference between a repair or replacement when it comes to non fixed items in your dwelling and what maintenance to service is for your prevention of failure to any item or device.
I have a project that is called "Re-Thinking Renewable Energy" that is based on current energy providers.
The Re-thinking is based on costs to operate, service, repair, maintain main stream renewable energy sources like Solar, Wind, Water, Earth, etc.
When I add the costs of Solar I can justify paying a coal burning electrical plant on my dwelling because the overall costs of Solar on my older home is never going to pay itself off and will never turn a profit based on current pricing and reselling (Net Metering). Basically the requirements will end up costing more than it's worth. So let's pick up and rethink this renewable energy thing.
I know of a website (will link soon) that talks about "Half Projects" which are designed to show you a return in much shorting time periods. This is what I call Good News and Great "Rethinking" .
Example that I like to make is this. My truck has 2 batteries one for starting the engine and one for everything I need to run off of battery from lights inside to computers with DC to AC inverters. The 135amp alternator provides my charging circuit while the engine is running. This heavy duty alternator charges very quickly and allows me to fully charge two batteries each time I use my truck.
The Re-thinking is what additional energy could I be creating if I had more batteries?
The answer is relative to your usage which for my van I can use up to 2 additional batteries when I operate my vehicle.
With that said I know have one spare or backup battery. I've setup a disconnect outlet and circuit to allow my van to be plugged into my home lighting circuit that provides DC current. Now I have DC for a few days running 180 low voltage micro lights that if on a transformer would have cost just about $6.00 per month. Sounds like allot of work just for $6.00 doesn't it?
The cost of parts is higher than the first month return but in one year I'm closing in on my halfway mark and 2 years is my payoff.
If I double the usage I can decrease my return on investment time.
Now I have wired up inside lights to inverters, LED and have added another battery. Connected my UPS that has a steady 3 stage charging circuit running 24/7 and now I have 2 fully balanced and charged batteries allowing me lights in all major areas of the house that are 15w or less. This increases my return to nearly $13 per month. My investment is paid off in one year with life of my batteries 5 to 7 years I should be able to replace my batteries every 5 years without having to re-invest.
The Rethinking of Renewable is to look at renewable energy, figure your costs then calculate the return on your investment. After that take the time to identify with your current configuration what you could do to save you monthly from day one.
Changing your light bulbs from incandescent to CFL bulbs can save you money from operation but if you like me see them burn up due to how you use them they don't really save. Outdoors they really don't last here in Louisiana and the bathroom even with the fan seems to make their life shorter. In the halls, kitchen seem to last much longer if you don't mix and match them.
Be sure to select dimmable if you are using the lights on a dimmer circuit.
The first Rethinking Renewable Energy project will be to convert your home to handle DC lighting powered by the chargers you have and the batteries you're going to purchase.
Your smartphone has a charger you forget to unplug, while plugged in it consumes power you are paying for.
Your UPS does the same, the transformer is consuming and the charging circuit is consuming power and many UPS units even if you switch them "Off" are still charging. As long as you have the unit plugged into an AC outlet that has power and you have your battery connected I can almost 100% assure you that it's consuming current.
I have a battery bank for smart devices, it's charged by a single charger. I use a 4 USB bank hub to charge all the devices making sure that the load on the primary charger is not more than 70% of it's total capacity.
Sounds complicated doesn't it.. Rethinking Renewable Energy is at times a math project first then a test and measure assignment. I've burned up 1 charger before I found my 2.5Amp 5vdc charger that works. My solar for a single battery is staged by 9vdc 1 watt panels.
9 + 9 + 9 = 27vdc input to my 5vdc and 12vdc regulator and now I have a charge circuit that actually will keep my batteries fully charged and when the sun doesn't come out for 3 or 5 days the main unit (UPS) takes up the slack on the charging circuit of 12vdc that then reduces down to 5vdc via an old computer power supply.
Again, sounds like allot of work just for a few things but if I told you I save $20 to $22 per month on parts that I would have tossed to the curb and for what I needed to purchase I've spent about $300.00 total which includes lights designed to last 5 to 10 years, batteries designed to power the lighting for 5 days without charge and my UPS designed to keep the servers running for 5 hours before I need to switch on the generator and main charging circuits.
Basically this "Half Project" shows return my first 13 to 15 months depending on your lights and batteries. Now after 1 year I'm on a 4 year "Not paying for Lumens Plan" except when I need to really blast out the light and crank up the wattage.. Wait a minute, I built a portable work lamp that runs on 12vdc that is brighter than my 3 60w lamp in the kitchen.
Join me in your rethinking renewable energy projects so we can save up enough money to purchase the renewable energy equipment so we can save more. (sort of.)
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