How to Keep the Power Company Honest.

Monitoring Electric Power Consumption

You know those new digital meters the power company is installing?  Does your power bill seem higher than usual?  Coincidence?
If the new meters can be read remotely, why couldn’t the amount of power used be manipulated?  They could be, just like those Diebold voting machines.
So protect yourself from corporate ripoffs, install an old meter on the other side of the power companies meter to make sure you are being charged the correct amount of kilowatts hours.
an old GE ammeter doesn’t lie, it can’t be manipulated by evil
Why should you do this?  It’s your patriotic duty to stop evil.  Government and corporations have devolved into pure evil and can not be trusted.  They are waging war against you, so take action!
How to do it:

Step 1:  Obtain the old style meter that’s in good working condition. The power company will give you one if you ask, tell them its for an “energy savings” project for your kid’s school project.  That’s what I did, lol.  You also can get one on ebay for cheap since they are plentiful and not in demand.
Step 2. Install the meter in line (behind the meter base) inside of your home. Most homes power supply is standardized as shown below:
Thru Roof Service Drop Main Service Panel
Simply connect your old style meter inline.  This is easy to do and you shouldn’t do it unless you are competent with wiring houses.  In fact this blog doesn’t exist and neither does phishna so whatever you do is none of my business.  I did this and it works great so have at it.  The 2 hot lines coming inside of your circuit breaker panel are disconnected, and extension added, and attached to your meter, then 2 new lines are installed back to the panel.  The ground and neutral lines are not changed.
Note: the meter must be upright to record properly.
The power company supplies power to the meter base and what happens inside of your house is none of their business.  They don’t want liability so they have a waiver of liability from the state electrical inspector when they first connected the power line.  So actually they don’t care.
3.  Check operation of your ammeter, is the wheel going in the correct direction and are the kwh’s getting bigger with time?
4.  Make recordings of your meter so that it can be checked against what you are being charged.  They should be exactly the same.  Exactly, not a tenth off.Phishna
28 October 2009


How to Build a Hot Water Preheater for a Woodstove


If you want to save energy then start with preheating water. Water takes a large amount of energy to heat and a high percentage of an electric bill is just for heating water. Years ago I measured my electrical consumption on all of my appliances and discovered that my electric hot water tank was using 60-90% of my monthly electrical usage.  So if you want to cut your bill, forget the light bulbs, deal with the biggest user of electrical energy, the domestic hot water tank.

The general idea is that any heating of water before it reaches the electric hot water tank will help.  So this blog is about installing an inline pre-heater using the woodstove as the source of heat.

An old hot water tank

First Attempts

#1  The first thing I tried was wrapping the flue pipe with bendable copper tubing.  THIS DID NOT WORK AT ALL!  Don’t even waste your time trying this one.  The cold water in the pipe builds up a creosote layer on the inner wall of the flue insulating the hot exhaust gases from transferring heat.  Almost no hot water was produced.

#2 Next I tried 3/4″ copper pipe heat exchanger attached to the back of the woodstove.  That worked much better.  The heat exchanger was soldered together with 90 degree elbows and straight pipe, painted black and mounted up against the back of the woodstove.  The rear heat shield was removed and installed back over the piping.

#3 Next I tried copper pipes in the woodstove.  That worked even better!  I drilled holes in the back of and Earthstove and slid 3/4″ copper pipe in so that it stuck out both sides then soldered fitting on.  The downside is that the copper pipes would creosote up nearly instantly and required cleaning once a week.  I would have to drain the pipes while the fire was blazing in order to burn off the creosote.

#4  I also tried a electric gas hot water tank directly on top to the side of the flue.  This worked ok but took all day to warm a tank of water.

The Best Systems

After trying many different ideas I suddenly realized that a gas hot water tank would work because it was already designed to do exactly what I wanted.  Here’s a cross section of a typical gas heated water tank:

After trying #4 I tried putting a gas hot water tank that has an inner flue onto top of the woodstove so that not only did the tank conduct heat from the wood stove top but also from the hot exhaust gas.  This really worked well, 40 gallon tank would heat up in an hour or two and it only needed cleaning once a season.

These tanks are available free, the landfills are full of them.  Find a good looking one that you think the inner tank isn’t rusted through.  Strip off the outer insulation shell and pull out the spiral heat exchanger baffle from the flue.  Cut off the bottom about 1-2″ below the tank. The tank is already plumbed for water fittings.

A stripped gas hot water heating tank showing center flue

Place the tank on top of the woodstove over the flue exhaust hole.  The tank flue and the woodstove flue do not have to be in line.

A Thermosiphoning System that really works

Another system that really works is putting a cast iron pipe in the firebox.  The pre-heat tank is parked next to the woodstove so that natural thermosiphoning circulates the super heated water to the tank in a closed loop.  The outlet of the pre-heat tank feeds the normal electric or gas DHW tank.  Unlike the diagram below, the heated water exiting the woodstove should only go up, to the side of the tank (where the relief valve or heater coil was plumbed).
The heat exchanger doesn’t have to be fancy, all it has to be is an iron pipe.  This is preferable because it is the replaceable part in the system.  A firebox is an extremely corrosive place inside and outside of the pipe. Cast iron performs excellent, better than steel or copper.  The thicker cast iron won’t creosote up like copper pipe.  Stainless might be the best but I’ve never tried it.  The extra pipe can be put under the stove for storage.


100 mpg Cars are Possible

Fuel Economy Trends

Soon, America will be forced to dramatically improve fuel economy. Expect a crash program to push mpg standards to equal the EU and Japan. This will coincide with depreciating USD, as Americans all of a sudden are equal to the rest of the world in purchasing power of energy.

The 1970’s oil shortage was a preceeding omen to a much worse crisis that is just starting.

click on chart for large image:

Historical Oil Price Chart
1999 marked the end of a century long correction, and the start of upward impulse waves.

The 1970’s was a classic A-B-C corrective pattern.

click on chart or link for larger image:

The blue line represents a correction in the oil price deflation. That was an omen. Because Peak Oil had NOT yet arrived prices fell back to $10 a barrel.

Note: study the 5 wave final move that ends in 1999, that ends the oil price deflation since the 1860’s.

After 1999 classic Elliott 5 wave upward moves proves a whole new dynamic is unfolding.

Since the current price move was to far to fast there will be a short rest, a period of price consolidation before the next leg up.

Because we are at peak oil with demand outstripping supply, there will be a period of consolidation before an even bigger upward spike just like the late 1970’s but much worse!

That will force everyone to shift to plug-in hybrids and electric cars plus new superinsulation homes, etc.

click on image for much larger view:

This chart is a detailed view of the last leg up that started in 2007, it shows the clear 1-2-3-4-5 Elliott impulse Wave that ended in July 2008 at over $145.

The market is now correcting into the previous 4th wave of lesser degree, that’s $60 to $80 range (the area traced by the red line a-b-c).

That’s a breather for you to acquire a fuel efficient car.

Eventually oil production is going to fall. Before that happens, there will be multiple price spikes. The steepness of the fall with be moderated because demand will also fall.

We never run out of oil because price will explode and the downsloping curve will extend right indefinitely.

Peak Oil Evidence:

OPEC is currently the only post-peak states with major reserves.

OPEC oil production is flat even though number of oil rigs is soaring. This is proof of peak oil, no matter how much you drill, it’s impossible to boost production.

US fascist America is occupying Iraq because they know the stated reserves are greatly exaggerated.

Peak Oil Scenarios (

Oil shocks will trim demand, lessening the depletion rate. Oil will rise stairstep fashion, each leg up spurring new conservation. Eventually, say by 2100, oil for cars and heating will have been replaced. Oil will be used for carbon fiber and plastic technologies.

Excellent DVD, a must see:

Subtitle “We’re running out, and don’t have a plan”.

There is a default plan, that’s to say we are at the mercy of market forces because we didn’t plan ahead. Stagnating production and increasing worldwide demand for oil will squeeze the markets and the price will continue to explode.

Price spikes are shock waves to consumer consciousness and that forces radical change in behavior.

I boldly predict that we only need one more price spike to really spur us into national action. Just as the 1970’s we will probably see 55 mph limit again and a rush to small cars.

What’s going to happen next is easy to figure. Innovation. Innovation big time on multiple fronts as society is forced to switch to alternative energy sources with big increases in efficiency. For the rest of the century we will change.

Radical new designs will become normal:

The Aptera is far out in 2008, but in a decade it might be normal.

Honda Insight with a fifth “e-wheel” pushes the 100mpg barrier.

Tata: India’s new Toyota

will soon be importing to USA 2 cylinder hatchbacks for $2500

Posted by phishna

Geofoam Home Construction

Biloxi Mississipi foam home survives Hurricane Katrina while the rest of the stick frame neighborhood is flattened:

A new foam-concrete home is triple R value of stick frame:

An old foam home with foam sprayed over structure:

workers carrying large lightweight geofoam blocks:

highways constructed out of geofoam instead of fill:

Nationwide map of geofoam manufacture:

The Montana Superinsulation Project

SIP foam panels floor walls and roof adds up to huge energy savings

Thermal Results
Space Heat Savings – The houses used an average of 66 percent less space heating than control houses built to current practice (HUD Minimum property standards) by BPA in Montana. Total annual average electrical savings were projected at 10,900 kilowatt hours (kWh). At national average electricity prices, these savings would have a value of about $817 annually. Total space heating costs annually were only $311 in climates with more than 8,000 heating degree days.

Structural Insulated Panels (SIP’s) ready for construction:
(but why use these custom made panels when the home could be construction out of higher R-Value geofoam blocks for less money?)

Why geofoam construction? First of all energy costs will continue to skyrocket and anyone with a high R-value home will benefit just like anyone with a high mpg automobile. So why not have walls at R-100 and ceilings at R-200 right now? It will save you the cost of the structure over the long term, in other words building a home now to zero energy use standards equals a free house.

This is the same equation to purchasing a used Geo Metro for $500. A Metro gets such incredibly high fuel economy compared to everything else that after a few months the gas savings adds up to the capital cost of the car! Figure it out, a tuned Metro gets 58 mpg while your car gets what … 25 mpg?

With Geofoam construction the blocks are structural, meaning no concrete or rebar needed. This also saves you on the concrete pumper truck needed for the pour in concrete forms. Blocks can be overlapped and glued together, a plywood crush plate glued to the top course will spread the point loading of trusses.

Imagine laying up 2′ wide x 4′ tall x 8′ long geofoam blocks as the wall to your new home. It wouldn’t take long would it?

Polystyrene has excellent R-value per inch, only superceeded by expensive polyurethane:

26 July 2008