Home Life, Energy


Home Energy


The average household spends over $1,300 a year for energy to run the many devices found in the home. In this week's lab, we are going to investigate ways to save both energy and money that will not seriously impact your current lifestyle, i.e. you can keep watching as much television as you like, but you might want to put on a sweater to do it. In order to do this, we are going to have to use the measurements of our homes that we made two weeks ago. Last week, we studied how different materials affect the amount of heat flow by conduction. This was important, since heat conduction is one of the primary ways that energy is lost in a home. Another method by which heat is flowing into or out of our homes is convection. Convection is heat transport by movement and mixing. When we open the doors to our homes, hot and cold air are allowed to mix, and heat is convected. Even when doors or windows are not open, there is convection occurring through any cracks or breaks in our windows, walls, doors, ceilings, and floors. We often notice this convection occurring on very cold, windy days. You will often find a blast of cold air hitting you when you walk by electrical outlets or windows on such days, a sign that your house is not airtight.