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Old 01-17-2009, 10:34 AM   #16
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Help! Electric bill too high, what can I do?


A small drip can leak 3-6 gallons of water a day
That's 100-200 gallons a month, 300-600 gallons a quarter if that is how they bill.

Any leaks? Outside hose? Water in the crawl space?
Toilet ruinning?

As a bachelor I used to turn my heat down to 55 when I was not home & the same at night.
We turn our heat down to 60 when we are not home
Heat is set at 68 when our son is home, I turn it to 65 when I am the only one home
Installed a programmable thermostat that does the Temp changes automatically. We adjust as needed if we are home

CFL bulbs are a good idea

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Old 01-17-2009, 11:06 AM   #17
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Help! Electric bill too high, what can I do?


One kW, 4A at 240v, all the time is about average for a house according to my PoCo.

And, there is a number stamped on the meter that you can use, along with a wrist watch, to use your wattmeter as an ammeter. Your PoCo can help you with that.
It's something like counting the number of revolutions of the wheel in 10 seconds and multiplying by the factor stamped on the meter.

100 gal/person/day is about normal.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 01-17-2009 at 02:15 PM.
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Old 01-17-2009, 12:49 PM   #18
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Help! Electric bill too high, what can I do?


I am going to have my heat pump updated to gas. I live in SC. but it has been very cold here the last few days. My heat pump has been running for at least two days now without stopping once. This will be the last winter with electric heat. It gets updated to gas or I am moving to Florida.
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Old 01-17-2009, 03:37 PM   #19
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Help! Electric bill too high, what can I do?


it might be a bit of a hassle for you to do but..
I unplug everything from my entertainment center when I am not using it.
You would be surprised how much power ANYTHING with a remote requires to keep it ready for that "instant on" when you hit the remote.

lot of other good inexpensive suggestions here too.

Chekc around your outlets and light switches. You can purchase insulation rings for them very inexpensively. I think it cost around 13 dollars to purchase all I needed for my house. Cut down on the noticible draft as you passed an outlet.

I swapped every bulb in my house to CF's. I had a ceiling fan in my living room with three 75w incandescents.. replaced with six 11w CF recessed lights. They put out better quality light and cost less. Plus I was able to get rid of the @$$-ugly light kit on the fan. THink of it.. 66w vs 225w. That adds up and the room is MUCH more pleasantly lit.
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Old 01-17-2009, 05:08 PM   #20
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Help! Electric bill too high, what can I do?


I think we should see a break down in your bill. You mention water, but is that really significant? I would have to go out of my way to have a water bill more than roughly $10 a month and I am not exactly the most "green" when it comes to water usage.

How much are you paying per KW/H and per therm or CCF of propane, or is it Natural gas?

Like others said are these estimates or actual meter readings?
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Old 01-18-2009, 11:45 PM   #21
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Help! Electric bill too high, what can I do?


Answer #1. All houses come with an automatic energy saver. It's on the wall and all you have to do is flip the switch to off.
Is that a smart-ass answer? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It takes the individual to make the decision if his light bill is proportionate to his life-style.

Answer #2. Assuming you are being frugal with your usage....after more than 30 years with a POCO, most of the high bills we see are when people expect devices to work automatically and they aren't. Examples would be;

1. Leaks in water lines if you are on a well. Makes the pump run a lot.
2. A water-logged well. Same thing as above....cycles way too often.
3. Leak in hot water pipes, Water heater runs constantly while your hot water flows down the creek.
4. Any cooling unit that is low on freon. Doesn't have to be an old unit to have a leak. Dirty or blocked coils do the same thing. Same for the 'fridge.
5. AC units that are heating and cooling simultaneously. As UTTERLY RIDICULOUS as this sounds, you would be surprised how many time I've found an A/C unit running with the heater strip coils glowing.
6. Stupidity. People that have three freezers running 24/7 in a shut-up garage with the ambient temperature at 120 degrees.
7. The ever popular deteriorated weather stripping, refrigerator seals, etc.

My personal favorite was the water heater where the thermostat was not attached to the tank....it was hanging out in open air. The water would heat up unrestrained until it boiled out through the pop-off valve. New cold water would come in , cool it off, it would start heating again, and the whole process would be repeated. You could see the steam cloud from the street, but the homeowner was clueless.

Yoyizit is right. Look at your meter and find a number on the faceplate that says "Kh". Usually it will be Kh = 7.2, but you might find 3.6, 1.0, 12, etc. This represents the amount of energy used per disc revolution in watts.
For example, if your meter had a 7.2 Kh and it turned one revolution in an hour, you would have consumed one watt/hour. If it went around 1000 times in an hour, you used one kilowatt/hour.

To calculate what you are using at any one time, get a stop watch and clock 10 revolutions of the disc, then use the following formula;
(Kh X # rev. X 3600) divided by (clocked time in seconds X 1000)

For example....a meter with a 7.2 Kh is clocked for 10 revolutions in 65.5 seconds.
(7.2 X 10 X 3600) divided by (65.5 X 1000) = 3.957 Kwh or 3,957 watts/hr.

Remember, a water heater or A/C unit cycling on or off during the test will mess you up.

If worst comes to worst, you can get your meter tested. Meters are usually required to be plus or minus 2 percent accuracy and almost all are well within this (usually within .5 percent). In 10 years of meter testing, I only saw about 10 meters that were out of tolerence fast (if they're off, they're usually slow) and only two were siginificant enough to have affected the bill dramatically. One was 7 percent, the other 35 percent ( a direct lightning hit on the house that fried the meter along with all the house wiring). The rest were in the 3 and 4 percent range (i.e., 3 percent being $3.00 on a hundred dollor light bill.....hardly the smoking gun).

Last but not least, paperwork/reading errors. Always check your billing statement against your actual meter reading (allowing that the bill will be several days, if not weeks, behind).

Good luck!
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Old 01-19-2009, 12:48 AM   #22
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Help! Electric bill too high, what can I do?


Quote:
Originally Posted by WFO View Post
Yoyizit is right. Look at your meter and find a number on the faceplate that says "Kh". Usually it will be Kh = 7.2, but you might find 3.6, 1.0, 12, etc. This represents the amount of energy used per disc revolution in watts.
For example, if your meter had a 7.2 Kh and it turned one revolution in an hour, you would have consumed one watt/hour. If it went around 1000 times in an hour, you used one kilowatt/hour.
This needs correcting. Whatever the Kh number, the power usage is that number of watt hours per rev. For example, Kh 7.2 means that you've used 7.2 watt hours every time the disc turns one revolution, or .0072 kwh. If it turns once an hour, you're using 7.2 watts.

I'm too lazy on a Sunday night to check the rest of your math
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Old 01-19-2009, 12:59 AM   #23
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Help! Electric bill too high, what can I do?


Quote:
Originally Posted by J. V. View Post
I am going to have my heat pump updated to gas. I live in SC. but it has been very cold here the last few days. My heat pump has been running for at least two days now without stopping once.
We had a nasty cold snap in Dec., with temps down to around 5-10* for a couple or three nights, and my heat pump ran almost non stop, too. But, I am not aware of any time that it brought in the backup heat (electric), aside from defrost cycles. It would seem it's a tad oversized But, with this unit, it should have been running at well over 150% efficient even at those temps. Are you sure you're going to save much of anything by putting in gas back up heat? If yours is running non stop, it probly isn't bringing in the back up, either.
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Old 01-19-2009, 01:05 AM   #24
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Help! Electric bill too high, what can I do?


I just had the same situation, my elec was around $150-180 for winter, i'm in northern Va. Then it jumped to $280 then $360 and turned out the thermostat took a dump and the outside unit was not turning on, I was on elec heat for most of the month.

Fixed the thermostat and after more issues with the heat pump we got the temp sensors all sorted out and hopefully I can catch a break this month.

How old is your water heater?

When the heat is on, make sure the outside unit is running, the fan outside in the unit will not turn in defrost mode but will the other times.

Generally when the bill spikes in winter the elec is kicking on more than usual but like the other poster stated, you could be low on freon.

If you have a broken pipe or just a big leak, the well pump will pull alot of power but I'm going to put this further down the list of things to check.

Make sure the toilets aren't running.

Check the doors to make sure there isn't large drafts coming in.

If the lower element in the water heater is bad it will suck alot of juice to keep the water hot, generally caused by alot of sediment from the well.

Get a HVAC person out there and check the charge of the sysytem, if the thermostat isn't satisified within a certain amount of time, it will call the elec heat to help out, low freon will let this happen.

Let us know what happens.
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Old 01-19-2009, 11:35 AM   #25
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Help! Electric bill too high, what can I do?


Quote:
Originally Posted by gp_wa View Post
We had a nasty cold snap in Dec., with temps down to around 5-10* for a couple or three nights, and my heat pump ran almost non stop, too. But, I am not aware of any time that it brought in the backup heat (electric), aside from defrost cycles. It would seem it's a tad oversized But, with this unit, it should have been running at well over 150% efficient even at those temps. Are you sure you're going to save much of anything by putting in gas back up heat? If yours is running non stop, it probly isn't bringing in the back up, either.

The heat strips are coming on. I can tell because you can feel the difference in heat coming out of the vents. Also the heater smell. My problem is my house is very old, concrete block and virtually no insulation in the walls. It is insulated very good on top and bottom.
The HVAC guy that installed it told me when he quoted the job that due to lack of insulation he could not guaranty comfort in the winter.
It's all my fault. Buy a house with little insulation in the walls (did not know), and choosing a heat pump instead of a gas pack or oil.

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