Lowest electric bill ever.

Discussion in 'Emissions' started by southerncannuck, Apr 30, 2010.

  1. alvaro84

    alvaro84 Homura-chan's selfishness

    Save much money - compared to what? Any insulation can save money on heating :)

    We had spent a winter in this house before we could insulate it (16cm|6.3" graphite+EPS on the walls, 10cm|4" XPS on the footing, 25cm|10" mineral wool around the attic, and 31cm|12" EPS+mineral wool combo around the new bathroom), and the devices we can use for heating (no, today they're not needed) are toys compared to the old stove, which wasn't even enough on cold winter days. We're almost all electric now, which is a step toward independence. Solar panels and/or wind generators would be another. One day we can hopefully afford them.
  2. vangonebuy

    vangonebuy Well-Known Member

    I've tracked my heating and electricity for years.
    My house is getting better on air sealing. But a windy day still pulls the warmth out of it.
    US just had a very very cold winter.
    But my nat gas consumption is the same as last year.
    Burned about a cord of wood for heat this year.
    Last year about a 1/2 cord.

    Heating is very difficult for year to year comparisons.
    Mostly because no years are the same. And wind matters.

    Your insulation sounds good. But spend time with air sealing all the gaps.
    Door seals, Ceiling lights, Electrical wiring cutouts,floor gaps, heating a/c ductwork.
    These gaps turn into air intakes as you tighten up a house.

    Eventually you will need to bring in fresh air, when it gets really tight.

    You are going all electric. Is this because of politics?
    Because in US nat gas is much cheaper than electric to heat.
  3. alvaro84

    alvaro84 Homura-chan's selfishness

    Definitely. Ironically the worst winter since we've bought this house was the one it didn't have any insulation :eek: So it's even harder to compare.

    The windows and doors are new and good - with the exception of the basement/cellar (mostly underground, with some insulation under its ceiling) door. That one is a lemon.

    The main wire comes underground, so that doesn't leave an opening, the floor is on solid concrete. There's no A/C in the house at all, so that doesn't need a hole on the wall either. Only the wires to the 'net antenna come through the wall.

    The roof, on the other hand, may have some holes here and there - it might not be airtight around the beams, the tiles have gaps too to vent a small 'loft' up there - which is separated from the attic, but nothing made by humans is perfect. Especially that there's a duct for a future recuperator.

    We do need to bring in fresh air. Especially to get the humidity out. Last year it was so bad (sitting on 37 tons of fresh concrete) that no amount of venting helped, we needed a dehumidifier.

    This winter we needed it much less. When it was a proper freezing weather, the outside air was dry enough to keep a healthy atmosphere letting it in regularly.

    We do it for more than one reason. Theory is that electricity is a good convertible energy, it can be made out of anything in existence (even Incubators might use it as an intermediate energy form when they torture young girls to death for their entropy defying emotional energy, but it's off topic :D) - so we can go green gradually.

    The other is the bad infrastructure here, far from anything. While gas from the pipe would be much cheaper than electricity (like ~4 times IIRC), there are no gas pipes here,
    and cylinder gas is priced between all-day and controlled electricity (which is mostly on in the low demand hours). Wood heating could be cheaper, but it would need sophisticated equipment (furnace, buffer tank, pump, piping, thermostats, etc) probably with more maintenance. Now our heating is made of simple local radiators. I know that heat pumps are more efficient, but as things are now (and knowing that they have limited lifespan too), they'd be an investment that never pays back. Going back to wood heating is not out of question, but with an external chimney and with the furnace in the cellar. And probably some help from the Sun. But that would really be a hobby, financially it seems to be a disaster.

    I can use some leftover wood for cooking though - outside, on open fire. Sometimes it's fun.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2014
  4. vangonebuy

    vangonebuy Well-Known Member

    Oh yes, That will keep you damp. Moldy too.
    A dehumidifier is the best idea.

    With my insulation. I was very careful to fill the wall cavity. But when I used a Infra R ed thermometer, I noticed cold spots. They allowed cold air to travel through the electric wiring holes. Cooling 2 cavities. Not just the leaky one.
    So, I'm revisiting the gaps again.

    Good luck with your home.
  5. alvaro84

    alvaro84 Homura-chan's selfishness

    Sounds useful! I'll probably get one when I happen to run into one.
  6. vangonebuy

    vangonebuy Well-Known Member


    April meter reading is in.
    As I saw back in November. My usage was going down.
    New refrigerator in Nov. Bread baking no more.
    Wonder if the tree cutting after Hurricane Sandy will keep my summer electric high again this year. Very Early to judge June bill.... But it looks good. 12.7kwh average.
    I'm on track for a sub 6000kwh year.
  7. alvaro84

    alvaro84 Homura-chan's selfishness

    OK, seeing these nice graphs I had to make one too (in kWh/day of course) :)


    This one includes every months since we moved here, I've even added gas cylinders for better comparison between years (approximately 138kWh/11.5kg cylinder). The first winter doesn't show too much, because we had the tile stove that year. Yet it clearly shows high consumption in February, because there was a very cold period late-January-mid-February that winter, so we used some auxiliary electric heating.

    Next two winters we were fully on electric heating. The winter of 2013-2014 was unusually mild here, and I'm home too, not that it counts that much :D
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2014
  8. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    I ran A/C for the first time this year. About an hour’s worth and it was killing me as I try to keep my electric bill to a minimum... It helps that I am in a car or out of town for two to three weeks every month but still. :(


  9. vangonebuy

    vangonebuy Well-Known Member

    Kinda steep electric bill, Wayne.
    6.3 KWH usage
    $5.50 a KWH

    But I can see that switching your one bulb to led has really saved you over last year.:p

    Still don't know why they want no $ at all.
  10. vangonebuy

    vangonebuy Well-Known Member


    Refrig was the key. Seems to be about .70 kWh less a day.
    This is always my low bill of the year.

    I'm trying a new placement on my bigwindow a/c.
    Put it closer to the most active location in my house.
    Took a little bit to fit my window though.:Banane31:

    2 new small a/c's also added. GE AEM06LS
    Wanted smaller unit. (AEM05LS) But no one carried it, AND GE couldn't help either.

    Replaces a 5 year old BAD chinese unit that never worked right and a 17year old unit that didn't get the job done anymore.
    Used chinese unit will sit in the garage awaiting a party that needs a bit more cooling.
    Hopefully, I can cut the summer peak from last year.
    That was my highest month ever.
  11. Harold

    Harold Well-Known Member

    I just had my attic fitted with a space blanket material that keeps the cold and or heat out of your attic. It also prevents heat and cold from exiting the house. Keep you posted. H
  12. NeilBlanchard

    NeilBlanchard Well-Known Member

    My brother and his wife just passed the 1 year anniversary with their solar PV system. They each drive an EV (i MiEV and Leaf respectively) and they have A/C in the house and a heat pump water heater.

    The solar PV system produced ~7.3MWh over the year, and their average monthly electric bill was ~$40. (It used to be $80-170 / month - before they drove EV's, and had an oil-fired water heater!)
  13. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Neil-the 7300 watt hrs- was that per day production?-roughly $1 a day at 13 cents per
    How many panels? (are panels usually 100 sq ft) or 9 sq meters
    Or how many sq ft or sq meters?
    How much was the cost-before subsidy-after subsidy?
    Were are they-latitude?
    Guessing the panels lower the solar load on roof-so that is a significant savings-maybe about as much as the $1 a day they produce.

    Thanks-I notice more NOLA metro houses have panels-there is some big subsidy available
    If my roof was in better shape-and finances in better shape-I would be game for it-even though payback is long(without subsidy)
  14. NeilBlanchard

    NeilBlanchard Well-Known Member

    7.3 Mega Watt Hours is the annual output. AKA 7,300kWh

    That is 26 240W panels, for a total capacity of ~6.36kW. The installation cost ~$27,000, and they got ~$8,200 in tax credit. They used to spend ~$1,000/year on oil to heat their water. They are on a 5:12 pitch ranch house oriented just a few degrees off of due south. A steeper pitch would be more ideal, and it would help in the winter - about 43 degrees north latitude, I think.

    Here's a picture:


    Their electric bill is ~$40/month average, when it was $80-$170/month. It *includes* driving both their EV's (in the picture).
  15. vangonebuy

    vangonebuy Well-Known Member

    I'm a great fan of solar. But, Financially its still too steep.
    Over the years, I've conserved enough to reduce all electric growth. And about 5% reduction.
    With my high elec rates. I still would need a long long time to payback a solar system.

    My bill will average $120 a month electric annually.
    SolarCity and another company offer a reduced rate. But not enough to rent my roof for 20 years.

    Are they currently heating with this system?
    Cause it mentions oil replacement.
  16. NeilBlanchard

    NeilBlanchard Well-Known Member

    Their water is now heated with electricity using a heat pump heater. The house heating is done with wood pellets.

    It pays for itself in about 6 years. It includes ALL their daily driving. You're not going to find anything that pays back ~16% per year.

    And if you may be able to lease the system for very similar costs per month.
  17. vangonebuy

    vangonebuy Well-Known Member

    Is it only for water heating?
    Thats extremely high for hot water only.

    A purchased solar system is the way to go over leased.
    I estimate a 10 year payback for myself at that size. But, that system would be too big.
    My home is also shaded. Hurting solar output.

    With a leased system, I've only seen 20% reduction offered.
    That comes out to $40. a month savings for me.
    NO tax credit.
    And leasing seems to affect Home Values. As I thought.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-...es-scaring-buyers- when-homeowners-sell.html
  18. NeilBlanchard

    NeilBlanchard Well-Known Member

    Their old hot water heater was oil fired and paired with their old furnace. It probably is less efficient because they were not using the furnace.

    And heating oil costs a lot!
  19. vangonebuy

    vangonebuy Well-Known Member

    Water temps should be lowered on combined boilers during the summer months.
    Most people dont. Boilers run at 180 degrees +.
    All you need for hot water is 120 degrees.
    So lowering a boiler to 140 or lower will save $.

    I pulled up a basic 50 gal electric water heater to compare their costs.
    $1000 is not crazy for hot water. In my area. it would cost over $1100 with my electric rates.
    Damn, Things are expensive.
  20. NeilBlanchard

    NeilBlanchard Well-Known Member

    The heat pump unit they have now is expected to cost just $201 / year at typical electricity rates, and now with the solar PV system it is probably about $75 / year.


    It noticeably cools - and dries - their basement, so in the winter they use a small wood stove down there to make it's job really easy. Notice the twin condensation drain lines - one is the primary and the other is the safety in case the main gets obstructed.

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