Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Electrical

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 02-10-2008, 09:50 PM   #31
Newbie
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 17
Share |
Default

Very high electric bill.


What is the square footage of the house?
Less than 1000 square feet then I'd buy a kerosene heater and run it while people are awake.

5000 kilowatt hours for 35 days seems like a lot, if your windows and doors are as good as you say, and your house is properly insulated my bet is you must live in a big house with high ceilings. Yes, even for electric heat, 5000 kwh seems like a lot. We live in a house that's all electric, with our electric rate aside (7cents per kwh) we comsume about 2500 kwh during a cold month, maybe up to 3000 kwh during a real cold month. Of course, there again, getting back to square footage, out house has about 850 finished square feet on the ground floor and a finished room up in the attic that we use an electric radiator to heat.

I have lived in a house with electric baseboard heat. I didn't care for it. If your house is less than 1000 feet as I said, you can purchase a 23,000 BTU kerosene heater. For a more permanent solution, you can install a ventless propane fire place. I installed one of these in my living room and its 30,000 btu's heat the whole house. It cost about $70 to fill a 100lb tank of propane, it last about two weeks, thus the cost to heat the home would run about $140 in heat, add a lowered electric bill of about $90, the total cost across electric and heat is about $230. Last month as an experiment, I ran our 15 kilowatt furnace (yes that's 15,000 watts-you cant even see the black notch on the meter when its running) and our electric bill came out to about $220. Almost the same.

This month I made an investment of $60 and switched to all CFL lights. I was sold on the 13 watts = 60 watt output. We'll see how well that works. Don't matter, by 2012 thats all that will be for sale, so I figured why not? We have three windows along the back of the house that are very drafty. Cant afford a new window? No problem, plastic and duct tape work in a pinch, you can also cut a piece of plexiglass to put in the window and seal it with tape or caulking. I like the plexiglass becuase it can be removed in the summer and reused the next winter. And unlike plastic sheeting, you can actually see through it.

But again, given your excessive kilowatt hour usage per month, something in your house is really eating your bill up, something doesn't seem right. Unless you live in a 3,000 square foot house, you shouldn't be running that many watts. My wife likes the house WARM too, about 74 degrees seems to be the average. We all are guilty of running the 1500 watt space heater in the bathroom, and of course the extra 240 square feet upstairs with a space heater, an electric water heater and 10 loads of laundry per week, still we do not exceed 3000 kilowatt hours.

This is what I would do. If you have one of those old mechanical meters, I'd go around, one at a time, and turn everything off at the breaker until I found the item that really slowed the wheel. - There is your culprit.

andrewcocke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2008, 09:23 AM   #32
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 155
Default

Very high electric bill.


OK first home is 2000 sq ft 2600 with lower level family room (not being heated at this time due to cost. I wanted to run outside and check the wheel of money pit and was going to do that today. But you think shut it off by the breaker would be better to nail down the source. I will try that and see if we cant catch the criminal that is taking money from me. (electric source using all the wattage).
68MHJCs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2008, 11:32 AM   #33
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 2,083
Default

Very high electric bill.


Is this a condo/townhome?
redline is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-13-2008, 02:09 PM   #34
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 301
Default

Very high electric bill.


Sounds like you have an old home if you're talking about the water heater in it is 40 years old. You say you can't afford to get a new heating system it's not likely you can afford not to.

Here's some history about houses (New England in particular):

A house that's around 100 years old may have hollow outside walls without any sort of stop. What that means is, if you go into your attic dropping a coin down an outside wall will land on your basement floor. That causes a tremendous amount of cold air to flow in your outside walls due to what's called the stack effect.

Your house likely has a fireplace if it's old. Around the chimney they often left it open in the attic. You can't seal around your chimney with combustible material, and insulation doesn't stop air flow, but you can put metal around your chimney penetration in your attic and adhere it with silicone to stop the huge amounts of air flow.

Only in the late 50's or so did they actually start to put top plates on the top of walls. Go into your attic and lift up the insulation on top of a wall (if there is any) and see if you can look down it. You need to seal those up, you're losing lots of heat big time if they're open.

In the late 50's early 60's they put 2" of fiberglass insulation in the outside walls and 3" in the attic. If you have 2" insulation in your outside walls, there isn't much you can do to increase your wall insulation. But, you can increase your attic.

Plywood hit common use in the mid 60's, if your house is early 60's or older they used planks instead. A planked house is always leaky as heck. Either case make sure you air seal in your basement along the perimeter & sill plate.

If your water heater is old it's likely NOT insulated and it sounds like you're not heating your basement. Your water heater is losing a ton of energy to the cold basement. I'd get a new water heater that has R10 foam insulation around it and insulate all the pipes to within at least 10' of it. It's not worth an insulative wrap at this point for it.

I think your house is darn leaky, it's easy to find the air leaks simply take a piece of incense and while it's burning walk around, find where the smoke goes or is blowing from. You'll fnid a lot this way. Big places are outlets (including inside walls), windows, and pipe penetrations (under sinks).

Bang for buck, start with air sealing. You can get tubes of painters caulk for $0.99 and have at it particularly around window trim. You should paint over painters caulk when you're done else it stays sticky and collects crap. Don't recommend silicone for areas you need to paint, nothing sticks to silicone not even itself once its dry. But, you can use Silicone for attic & basement areas usually or cans of polyurethane expanding foam. Just, make sure you wear gloves with the foam spray the stuff is like super glue and only nail polish remover will take it off of you while the stuff is still wet (which bleaches your clothes).

Pay particular attention to air sealing the attic, as mentioned it's the biggest place to reduce drafts in the main living area. Followed by the basement, then the main floor. Insulation DOES NOT stop air leaks. To find air leaks in your attic, look where the insulation is dirty. The insulation filters the air leaking through it leaving dusty & dirty patches.

Once you're done air sealing, bang for buck usually insulating the attic is the next step and I recommend blown cellulose. It's the cheapest, best method of insulating. Don't go too crazy with insulating just R45 should do it. If you choose to use fiberglass I don't recommend it as each piece must be taken out, fluffed to the appropriate height, and placed without ANY air space around it, using a putty knife to ensure the sides are square. No one installs it properly, and it has to be cut meticously around any obstacles. Just a 1% gap around fiberglass insulation can reduce its effectiveness up to 50% and as the temp difference increases the worse fiberglass insulates. Once you hit -20F ouside fiberglasses effective R-Value acts like 50% it's rated. Blown cellulose is not as affected.

Where I live to heat with Electricity costs 2x more than oil and most houses around here pay $2,000 or so for heating. To heat the same with electricity would cost $4,000. Depending on how much your killowatt prices are you may not have enough money to switch but you may also not have enough money not to.

Last edited by Piedmont; 02-13-2008 at 02:15 PM.
Piedmont is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-13-2008, 06:57 PM   #35
waiting for spring
 
arichard21's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Northern NY
Posts: 171
Default

Very high electric bill.


Piedmont, I will 100% agree with what you said.

Our house was built in 1895, and we have done EVERYTHING you just talked about. The only other thing we did you didn't mention was add a heat run to one of the upstairs bedrooms and add a programable thermostat.

This year we cut our fuel oil consumption in HALF.

We added a dishwasher and a chest freezer and our electrical went down $25-30 a month from setting the fridge at a lower setting, insulating the HW tank, insulating pipes and adding a timer to the hot water tank. It is on for a total of 4 hours a day and we have yet to run out of HW or not have any when we need it.
arichard21 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2008, 07:00 AM   #36
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 2,083
Default

Very high electric bill.


Call the local utility company and see if they do energy audits.
redline is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2008, 01:10 PM   #37
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 155
Default

Very high electric bill.


I have friend at gas company and he informed me that I am able to get a gas line run to the home free of charge. THe only cost to me would be the piping inside the home and the water heater itself. NOW the question is of this board members is it the consenses to remove old electric water heater and have gas run to home and have the home 1/2 gas and 1/2 electric??? or 70/30 electric.Either or. Or stay all electric which would be most cost efficient?
68MHJCs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2008, 01:27 PM   #38
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,294
Default

Very high electric bill.


Quote:
Call the utility that you buy your electric from and ask for the bills for the last 12 months when the previous owner lived there.

You are supposed to do that before you buy

And....82 GALON water heater? There is a big chunk right there.

Quote:
THe only cost to me would be the piping inside the home and the water heater itself.

Heh heh....the ONLY cost? You might want to get a couple quotes on that. Also there would likely be a monthly serviice fee and of course the cost of the gas.

As far as switching to gas, it would take quite a while to achieve a return on your investment. The cost for the change would with plumbing, venting and new appliances would HAVE to be huge.

Last edited by 220/221; 03-08-2008 at 01:29 PM.
220/221 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2008, 01:42 PM   #39
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 155
Default

Very high electric bill.


We did get the numbers but it was an older couple using 1/2 the electric of a younger family and were on a budget with the electrc co. They basically bought the home way back and didnt upgrade or replace many things over the years. Water heater, dishwasher, dryer( electric) to name few.
68MHJCs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2008, 01:52 PM   #40
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,294
Default

Very high electric bill.


Quote:
will they give us that info even though we were not the owners during those months?


Quote:
We did get the numbers but it was an older couple using 1/2 the electric of a younger family


Which is it?


In any case, loose the 82 gal tank and insulate the new one, turn the thermostat down and dress warm
220/221 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2008, 04:01 PM   #41
newer than a newbie...
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 130
Default

Very high electric bill.


Electricity is something we totally take for granted in a 1st world society.

It is amazing how many times me and my family members leave lights on, leave computers on, and are just 'wasteful'

Visiting Armenia (back home) a few years back, they live on a minimalist budget and litterally have 2 settings on their chandeliers at home:
-one setting is one bulb on when we have no guests
-the second setting is a few bulbs on when guests are in our presence.

CFL lights might help, and save some $$ but for those environmentalists out there, what about the Mercury in those bulbs? If you shatter them you might have to clean the toxins from your home.

Anyways, our gas heating company sends us brochures that says that electricity is perhaps 25% more expensive than gas.

I don't think having electric heating is THAT BAD that it's worth putting down your purchase and saying "you made a very stupid buying decision". Your home is probably awesome, but just has a higher heating bill.

If you can calculate that you spend $500 more per year on electricity, try this:

Cut back on 1 cup of coffee everyday and make instant at home - there - it balances out.

My 2 cents worth.
mcvane is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2008, 10:32 AM   #42
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,497
Default

Very high electric bill.


Quote:
Originally Posted by 68MHJCs View Post
I have friend at gas company and he informed me that I am able to get a gas line run to the home free of charge. THe only cost to me would be the piping inside the home and the water heater itself. NOW the question is of this board members is it the consenses to remove old electric water heater and have gas run to home and have the home 1/2 gas and 1/2 electric??? or 70/30 electric.Either or. Or stay all electric which would be most cost efficient?
Where I live electricity is 4.6 cents per kwh so it makes sense for me to stick with electric. In other areas electric is much higher and gas is more competitive. You need to check your local rates for electric and gas to see what is competitive. Even if gas is a little cheaper I would go for a modern well insulated 50 gallon electric water heater to replace your ancient 82 gallon heater. I'm sure your old relic is not insulated well. New electric WHs are insulated very well, have very small standby losses and do not cost very much.
jogr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2008, 01:56 PM   #43
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 561
Default

Very high electric bill.


Quote:
Originally Posted by idoelectric View Post
Put a timer on the water heater and have it set to turn on 1hr before and 1hr after you use in the morning and evening. Electrical water heaters waste more energy in the home more than anything else in my opinion.
Not in a home with electric baseboard heat. That's where his 4909 KWH per MONTH is going.
LawnGuyLandSparky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2008, 02:02 PM   #44
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 561
Default

Very high electric bill.


Quote:
Originally Posted by 68MHJCs View Post
JGARTH thanks for the tough love. But with disclosure this house was affordable by us. We are trying to figure out why the electric is almost double now. We purchased the home becasue I liked it and MY WIFE LOVED IT. Anyone out there married knows thats the deal clincher.
Any chance you've been had, IE, the previous owners used portable kerosene heaters for the year leading up to the sale?

The simple truth is this - you're using the most expensive form of energy to supply your highest energy needs. Since you know what is costs to heat a house with gas (your previous house) you need to make a decision. Put up with high electric bills all winter, or swallow the nut now and install an all new gas heating system.

Whatever you do, don't fool yourself into thinking these bills are being generated from some amazingly power-hungry device appliance. The problem isn't your i-phone.
LawnGuyLandSparky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2008, 02:10 PM   #45
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 561
Default

Very high electric bill.


Quote:
Originally Posted by 68MHJCs View Post
I have friend at gas company and he informed me that I am able to get a gas line run to the home free of charge. THe only cost to me would be the piping inside the home and the water heater itself. NOW the question is of this board members is it the consenses to remove old electric water heater and have gas run to home and have the home 1/2 gas and 1/2 electric??? or 70/30 electric.Either or. Or stay all electric which would be most cost efficient?
First, what exactly is your electric rate?
Second, do you think your electric water heater is 1/2 of your heating costs? It isn't, unless everyone is taking 2 x 1 hour showers a day.

You ask if staying all electric is cost efficient. Uh, look at your current electric bills and compare them to your fuel bills from your previous house. You tell us which is more efficient.

LawnGuyLandSparky is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Best High Temp Paint for wood stove?? Sellncars Painting 9 01-21-2009 06:21 PM
electric oil boiler? for hot water? jamesdart Plumbing 2 01-13-2008 08:06 PM
electric furnace need help Unregistered HVAC 3 10-16-2007 02:41 AM
who should pay my gas bill and furnace repair? papashaq HVAC 8 03-09-2007 05:36 PM




Top of Page | View New Posts

Copyright © 2003-2014 Escalate Media. All Rights Reserved.