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Question about furnace

374 Views 10 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Chris616
Remodeling house, right now the only thing running is a Burnham pvg furnace that supplies hot water heat to baseboards and radiant, with an indirect hot water heater for domestic hot water. Since this was installed, the electric bill has doubled. This doesn't seem normal.
Can someone suggest what may be causing the spike in electric usage? I think something is wrong. Thanks.
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The more data that you can provide the better the input that we’ll be able to provide.

First thing, can you tell us the kWh usage between the old bill and new, so that we can see actual electricity usage. There is usually not a direct correlation between electricity usage and the $ (assuming that you’re in Canada or the US) on a bill.

If your utility uses smart meters, can you give us some of the usage data. In the system where I live we can download usage data with a granularity of one hour, which enables detailed analysis of how the electricity is being used.

What was the heating system (for house and domestic hot water) that was being used before the gas fired water boiler was installed?

Was the house occupied and heated for the period of the previous electric bill?

Were either of the bills based on estimated, rather than actual electricity usage?

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Some further clarification…

I interpret what you’ve written that the old heating system was an oil fired boiler that used pumps to circulate hot water with an loop that indirectly heated a domestic hot water tank. So the only change to the new system is just a change from oil to gas, plus the new higher efficiency boiler uses a small fan to exhaust the burner combustion gas. Is that correct?

Also, there have been no other changes to the house that would account for increased electricity usage. Is that correct?

Has there been a change to the heat emitters (radiators, etc.)? Are the same areas of the house being heated using the same emitters?

I’m sure that you would have mentioned this if it was not the case, but can we assume that the indoor temperature has been constant before and after the heating system change?

Has the high monthly electrical usage gone on over a number of months so that you can eliminate any reno related electricity usage, such as someone leaving windows open for a few weeks to air out fumes?

Can you give us an idea about the climate where you live. Your comment about the 200 kWh consistent monthly usage seems odd for a climate where it gets cold in the winter.

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Hmm…I don’t have any good theory about the cause of the increased power consumption. Someone else will, probably.

The OP says that the heating is through hot water baseboard/radiant, so no electric heaters. Your comment about parasitic electrical losses at an unoccupied property is worth considering, though. A worthwhile test would be to trip the breakers that supply power to outside receptacles, including at a detached garage.

Could some part be faulty? Like maybe the thermostat or a relay (is that a thing?) or something?
Well, there are a lot of things that could cause that much extra power consumption. The difference between 200 kWh/month (your previous winter consumption) and 440 kWh/month (consumption with the new system) equates to between three and four 100 watt light bulbs running continuously. If the cause is the new heating system, it could be something like the control system is running the circulating pump continually, rather than just when the thermostat is calling for heat. We can’t really diagnose that remotely, though.

The electricity might be being used elsewhere, though (like diyorpay's idea). There are threads on this board on how to track down unexplained power usage.

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