Electric Energy Usage

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MedicatedMoney
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Location: Philadelphia

Electric Energy Usage

Post by MedicatedMoney » Sat Dec 16, 2017 10:43 am

Its that time of year again when our energy bill skyrockets. I have spent the last 6 months modifying our house to use less energy, but we received monthly letters from our energy provider letting us know that we are using anywhere from 30-50% more energy from our neighbors. Granted, we are a family of 6 and have many energy demands, but I'm trying to figure out if it is a fair comparison. I know there are big upgrades that I can do to the house to improve the energy efficiency (ie newer HVAC unit, heat pump hot water heater, etc), but I'm trying to see if our usage is way out of line or about average for a family of 6 living in all electric house in the Northeast. Our details are:

Location: SE Pennsylvania
2400sq ft house, 2 story with finished basement
HVAC Source: 12 year old heat pump & Central air unit
--- Winter Thermostat set at 70; Summer A/C 72
All electric appliances: Hot Water, Induction Stove, Convection Oven, LED lights,
Electric Usage for the past 6 months:
  • Dec - 2400
    Nov - 1600
    Oct - 1900
    Sept - 2000
    Aug - 2100
    Jul - 2500
    Estimated Jan Use - 2800
With so many variables, its really hard to make a direct-to-direct comparison. So I am asking fellow bogleheads how much electric energy do you use in a month? Interested in kWh/month and not so much bill as there are again too many variables to compare? Especially interested in hearing from similar size families and households that are all electric like us! Thanks
-Medicated

stats99
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by stats99 » Sat Dec 16, 2017 10:53 am

2,000 sq foot house, 1.5 stories, 4 people...total annual cost for heating (gas) and electric (AC) is $3,000 in Northern NJ (PSEG).
Winter temp set at 62 Night, 66 day
Summer AC set at 78

jebmke
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by jebmke » Sat Dec 16, 2017 10:58 am

Eye-balling the history graph on our last bill, we use ~1,000-1,200 kwh per month. Two people, ~ 2,500 sf single-story house, heat pump, well pump, swimming pool (not heated). We keep the heat around 66-67 during the day, 62-63 at night. Summer we keep the AC at 75-76 during the day and maybe 73-74 at night. Maryland location.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

stats99
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by stats99 » Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:04 am

Ugh, sorry for cost, my electric is 840 KWH average per month over the year. Heating, Dryer and cooking are on gas.
Summer peak months are between 1100 and 1600 KHW each

livesoft
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by livesoft » Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:06 am

3000+ sq ft house. We used 322 kWh from 11/3 through 12/6 or 9.8 kWh/day. From bill history, we will use less each of the next 3 months.

Some ideas:

Set heat to no higher than 68 deg F in winter. Wear sweaters. Use down comforters.
Don't use an automatic icemaker. If you have one turn it off. You can use ice cube trays.
Check to see if kids are mining bitcoins.
Get everybody out of the house and keep them out. Kids can study at the local library.
Let's hope you are not drying towels with an electric clothes dryer every day. Make everybody wear clothes 2 or 3 times before washing. Consider no cotton clothes.

Our peak month would be July with A/C and that's 1800 kWh. Temp set to 79 deg F in the house.
Last edited by livesoft on Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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btenny
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by btenny » Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:13 am

You need to seriously think about getting a new dual fuel gas/electric heater and AC unit. The heat pump is just not that great in the cold Pennsylvania winters on many days. I bet your unit has some sort of electric strip heater that gobbles energy when it is colder than 38 outside. That is why your winter bills are so high. All you can do now is turn down your winter heat to 66-68. Then get everyone to put on a sweater and wear house shoes.

Likewise in the summer you old AC unit is probably not very efficient. Can you find out the SEER rating of the unit? You can probably get a 16 -18 SEER with a new installation. But again the best money saving thing you can do is learn to live with higher temperatures in the summer. Your current setting of 72 degrees is actually pretty cold for summer. You should set the temperature to 77-78 as a minimum.

Good Luck.

PS. I bet a good amount of your electric bill is for water heating. Six people use a lot of water and you wash a lot of clothes. Is there any way to change out that electric water heater to a gas unit?

Ron
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by Ron » Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:36 am

2400 sq ft living space with an additional 1200 sq ft unfinished basement heated to 55 degrees during the winter with electric resistance heating (to take the chill off). House built in 1994.

All electric (air to air heat pump) with backup/emergency heating coil on air handler for the coldest days of the year.

Winter thermostat set: 70 degrees; summer: 74 degrees.

Four occupants (2 people, 2 dogs :twisted: ).

Also in eastern Pa, midway between Philadelphia & Scranton.

Bill Date & Total Electricity Used(kWh)
12/20/2016 3145
01/20/2017 3634
02/17/2017 3191
03/21/2017 3326
04/20/2017 2312
05/19/2017 910
06/20/2017 950
07/20/2017 1080
08/18/2017 1029
09/20/2017 955
10/19/2017 903
11/17/2017 1185

- Ron

FraggleRock
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by FraggleRock » Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:46 am

Aren't there coal mines in Pennsylvania where you can send the kids to work?

livesoft
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by livesoft » Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:51 am

I also think that heating water could be the OP's main issue. Low-flow showerheads and those little hour-glass shower timers might help shorten long, hot showers into savings.

Also check that the previous owners didn't install driveway snow melting cables and leave them turned on.
Last edited by livesoft on Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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MedicatedMoney
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by MedicatedMoney » Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:53 am

OP here

To answer a couple of questions:
- No option for gas in our area. All electric
- Heat pump is an air to air heat pump with backup/emergency heating coil on air handler - recently installed an ecobee and changed settings to keep emergency heat from turning on until outside temp is 20 degrees or colder. The compressor runs constantly, but still cheaper then the electric strips heating
- Yes, we use a serious amount of hot water. From baths for kids, showers for adults, washer, dishwasher - that baby is working hard. Hot water heater is 8 years olds (scheduled to be replaced at 12 years). It uses an estimated 4500 kWh per year, but we probably use more considering the size of our family. Trying to determine if changing out to a heat pump hot water heater that uses 1100 kWh/year (cost $1500 - $350 energy provider rebate) makes sense this year. Thoughts?
- Also thinking of installing a propane fireplace insert with blower to help heat downstairs. Unit and install would cost $5k. Figured it would decrease use of heat pump to 50% use as we spend majority of time in rooms that would be heated by the fireplace unit.
- Not sure on ROI of those upgrades as we will need a new HVAC unit in 3-5 years.
-Medicated

livesoft
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by livesoft » Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:56 am

Kids certainly don't need baths every day, but maybe you already have them bathe only twice a week.
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samta09
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by samta09 » Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:09 pm

Location: Central PA
House: 2800 two stories
# of People: 4, 5 and 2 years old
Heating/cooling: 10 years old Geothermal, uses electric
Kitchen: 30 years old range and stove, both electric
Water heater: propane gas
Fireplace: propane gas
Well pump: 3 years old electric, not variable speed so not efficient
Pool: electric pump

From September to December, we used a combined total of 6100, compared to yours of 7900. If my math is correct, Or usage is 23% less than yours. Your house is 14% smaller but 33% more people. So, in a nutshell, I would expect our usage to be similar consider your have smaller.

On the other hand, we are using more on a per person basis, about 14% more so after factoring in the house size, it appears our usage is similar.

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munemaker
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by munemaker » Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:13 pm

Our electric consumption seems lower than most.

2,100 sq. ft. living space tri-level home in NW PA (cold)
lighting all high efficiency LED/CFL
Natural gas heat - high efficiency furnace - house could use more insulation
Penelec
2 people
Electric adds up to $1,046/year
Nat gas adds up to $958/year

KWH
11/17 - 459
10/17 - 605
09/17 - 523
08/17 - 614
07/17 - 573
06/17 - 665
05/17 - 633
04/17 - 338
03/17 - 562
02/17 - 316
01/17 - 898
12/16 - 528
Last edited by munemaker on Sat Dec 16, 2017 1:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.

btenny
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by btenny » Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:38 pm

You need to be careful turning the strip heater in your furnace to that low a temperature. It could cause the heat pump to fail. Heat pumps do not work well at low temperatures and can freeze up and die. I am not a heat pump guy so make sure you do talk to someone who has real in depth knowledge of how low you can set that.

I also suggest you might want to get a small electric room heater for where the kids and your wife stay most times. Then you can use it to heat that room and let the rest of the house cool to 66. I know 66 is great for sleeping if you have thick covers. I also use flannel sheets in the winter. See below for my "fireplace" electric heater. I use it in my office and close that door and then heat up just that room and make it toasty.

http://www.acehardware.com/product/inde ... gK3f_D_BwE

adamthesmythe
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by adamthesmythe » Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:50 pm

Heat pump and Pennsylvania don't go together.

Propane? Oil?

DetroitRick
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by DetroitRick » Sat Dec 16, 2017 1:19 pm

KW hrs by calendar month for last 6 mos:

Dec (1-15th only) 308
Nov 616
Oct 574
Sep 729
Aug 876
Jul 1002

Location: SE Michigan
1400 Sq Ft. House, 1 story ranch, unfinished basement
2 people
HVAC: Furnace (high-efficiency natural gas, d/c motor, 2-stage, installed fall 2011), A/C (2.5 ton, 13 SEER installed fall 2011)
programmable thermostat - typically 65 to 67 winter, 72 summer
electric stove (2016) microwave (2017), gas hot water heater (2011), 10-yr old fridge, incandescent lights

Our electricity is now delivered via smart meter and I have a connected app that my utility is offering (on a trial basis) to measure real-time electric usage. It's been really handy to show us where energy is being used, and we've had some luck in reducing usage as a result. But these KWhrs are now pretty satisfactory to us.

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teen persuasion
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by teen persuasion » Sat Dec 16, 2017 2:21 pm

MedicatedMoney wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:53 am
OP here

To answer a couple of questions:
- No option for gas in our area. All electric
- Heat pump is an air to air heat pump with backup/emergency heating coil on air handler - recently installed an ecobee and changed settings to keep emergency heat from turning on until outside temp is 20 degrees or colder. The compressor runs constantly, but still cheaper then the electric strips heating
- Yes, we use a serious amount of hot water. From baths for kids, showers for adults, washer, dishwasher - that baby is working hard. Hot water heater is 8 years olds (scheduled to be replaced at 12 years). It uses an estimated 4500 kWh per year, but we probably use more considering the size of our family. Trying to determine if changing out to a heat pump hot water heater that uses 1100 kWh/year (cost $1500 - $350 energy provider rebate) makes sense this year. Thoughts?
- Also thinking of installing a propane fireplace insert with blower to help heat downstairs. Unit and install would cost $5k. Figured it would decrease use of heat pump to 50% use as we spend majority of time in rooms that would be heated by the fireplace unit.
- Not sure on ROI of those upgrades as we will need a new HVAC unit in 3-5 years.
If you are considering adding propane for a fireplace, what about switching your water heating to propane? Propane is cheaper per unit as you buy more, remarkably so. We don't have NG down our road, so we have propane for the kitchen stove, and oil for heating (with the water heater indirectly on the boiler).

Investing in new equipment based on fuel costs is tricky. Nearly 20 years ago we were replacing an oil furnace (we had a standard propane water heater then), and waffled back and forth on propane vs oil. Stuck with oil, because it was cheaper then, .69/gal. Piggybacking the water heater on the boiler was a bonus feature. Later oil prices shot up, and LP looked cheaper. Then the LP company began imposing extra fees for delivery, and much higher rates for small deliveries, and forced us to a smaller tank (forcing more frequent deliveries with those fees). :oops:

For reference, our electric usage (big old, drafty farmhouse, no AC, LP stove, oil water heater and boiler, 3 at home currently, down from 7):
Nov 143
Oct 122
Sep 124
Aug 117
Jul 133
Jun 124
May 134
Apr 150
Mar 159
Feb 215
Jan 215
Dec 196

This should give you an idea of the base load of lights, fridge, washer, TVs and other small devices (excluding heating devices on our other fuels).
Our usage is down as a few more kids have gone to college. Still, our usual daily usage was around 7 kWh / day when all the kids were at home as teens. It stayed fairly stable at that number as the number of electronic devices crept up, only dropping as we got down to one kid at home. Replacing an older fridge a few years ago also dropped usage a few kwh per day.

Chip
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by Chip » Sat Dec 16, 2017 3:28 pm

I'll put my bet on water heating as well. Plus the kids probably are going in and out of the house a bunch.

For us: 2800 sq ft. 2 story house, unfinished but partially insulated basement (stays at house temp - 5 degrees). 2 people. Gas heat and hot water.

Currently average about 640 kwh/month through the year, in a location a little colder than Philly. Thermostat at 77 in summer, 70/62 in winter.

If I convert the gas usage to kwh, assuming a heat pump with an HPSF of 8.0 and electric resistance water heating, and compensate for the heating degree-day difference, I think I would be using about 1300 kwh/month on average. That breaks down to about 270 kwh/mo for A/C, 360 kwh/mo for heating, 300 kwh/mo for water heating, 370 kwh/mo for everything else.

Add 4 more people and I would guess hot water usage would be pretty much proportional - so 900 kwh/mo. for hot water or 1900 kwh/mo total. That jibes reasonably well with your half-year usage of 12,500 kwh, or 2100 kwh/mo.

Going to a heat pump water heater might save you 2/3 of that energy cost. If my back of the envelope estimates are anywhere close you are likely using closer to 11,000 kwh/year for hot water. At an average cost of 15c/kwh in Philly that would be $1100/year savings. Seems like a no-brainer.

Of course I would try to verify these numbers before considering any action. Any chance of somehow recording the power consumption of the water heater?

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LadyGeek
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by LadyGeek » Sat Dec 16, 2017 3:43 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (utility costs).

Like the OP, I'm also in southeast PA.

I wouldn't put much into a neighborhood comparison unless they take temperature into account.

My online PECO account graphs temperature along with energy consumption. For the same time last year, my energy consumption was up.
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AAA
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by AAA » Sat Dec 16, 2017 3:51 pm

I get those monthly comparison letters from my provider but never saw much value to them as they don't normalize for things such as house size and family size.

jebmke
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by jebmke » Sat Dec 16, 2017 3:59 pm

How good is the insulation and windows in the house? We saved quite a bit by adding insulation and replacing a bunch of old windows. This also made the house more comfortable by eliminating drafts.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

jwtietz
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by jwtietz » Sat Dec 16, 2017 4:00 pm

TEMP THERM GAS KWH cost
JAN 38 141 864 273.
FEB 43 115 794 242
MAR 39 119 847 230
APR 59 53 825 183
MAY 62 33 866 181
JUNE 73 82 1339 305
JULY 78 93 1926 422
AUG 74 142 1552 377
SEPT 72 108 1349 315
OCT 65 27 919 163
NOV 50 89 854 210
I have a 2200sf house in central NJ, In ground pool and gas heat. Gas cook top and electric oven. This is my use so far for 2017. Cost is about 2900 to date. The pool drives the electric up pretty well.

BeerTooth
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by BeerTooth » Sat Dec 16, 2017 4:42 pm

Those of you claiming that "heat pumps don't work in PA" are referring to woefully outdated information. They absolutely work, and at much colder climates than that. They have > 1 COP down to 10 or 20 degrees below zero.

https://energy.gov/eere/buildings/artic ... arm-winter

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_source_heat_pumps

My parents live in Reading PA and have had a heat pump for 30 years. Electric bills never above $200 a month.

That the OP stsated "compressor runs constantly" tells me the heat pump is either under-sized, or leaking freon, or the house has no insulation. An HVAC service call and/or home energy audit should clear this up.

dpc
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by dpc » Sat Dec 16, 2017 5:17 pm

You didn't mention your refrigerator and/or freezer. Frost-free refrigerators and freezers used to be notorious energy hogs.

Your winter thermostat settings seem high. Most people set down to 68 or so.

You can only do so much. Do what you can, and live with it. Enjoy the family at home - it doesn't last long.
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livesoft
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by livesoft » Sat Dec 16, 2017 5:21 pm

In a rental home I lived in, the duct from the living area to the furnace had detached from the furnace so that attic air was being sucked directly through the furnace and AC and blown into the living area. A simple visual inspection showed the problem. Have you looked at all your ductwork?
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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by Epsilon Delta » Sat Dec 16, 2017 5:53 pm

I largely agree with TylerDavis except that:
The OP has the heat pump he has which may not be a good one for his climate. What is possible for a good head pump is relevant when he replaces the heat pump, not when trying to get the best out of the current hardware.

A variable speed heat pump should be running all or most the heating season. They are more efficient running 100% duty cycle at 25% load than at 25% duty cycle with 100% load. (or something like that depending on the exact hardware). Again looking at whether the system is working properly depends on the system that is actually installed, not the entire realm of possible systems that are not installed.

Also why are you all recommending sweaters at 68F? That's way too warm for a sweater, and I've never even been to Wisconsin.

Valuethinker
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by Valuethinker » Sat Dec 16, 2017 5:57 pm

FraggleRock wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:46 am
Aren't there coal mines in Pennsylvania where you can send the kids to work?
Metallurgical coal not thermal coal, from memory.

And the Met coal seams have been mined since the 19th century, and have become high cost. (That's also true of Appalachian thermal coal-- Powder River Basin (WY) coal, even with transport, is just much cheaper for a midwestern utility to burn).
Last edited by Valuethinker on Sat Dec 16, 2017 6:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Valuethinker
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by Valuethinker » Sat Dec 16, 2017 6:01 pm

MedicatedMoney wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:53 am
OP here

To answer a couple of questions:
- No option for gas in our area. All electric
Can your utility give you comparables for other homes in your area? Can you talk to neighbors?
- Heat pump is an air to air heat pump with backup/emergency heating coil on air handler - recently installed an ecobee and changed settings to keep emergency heat from turning on until outside temp is 20 degrees or colder. The compressor runs constantly, but still cheaper then the electric strips heating
- Yes, we use a serious amount of hot water. From baths for kids, showers for adults, washer, dishwasher - that baby is working hard. Hot water heater is 8 years olds (scheduled to be replaced at 12 years). It uses an estimated 4500 kWh per year, but we probably use more considering the size of our family. Trying to determine if changing out to a heat pump hot water heater that uses 1100 kWh/year (cost $1500 - $350 energy provider rebate) makes sense this year. Thoughts?
Probably worth doing given you have kids. 2 adults use about 3000 kwhr hot water pa, so you could easily be using 6-9k. Also to get the rebate.
- Also thinking of installing a propane fireplace insert with blower to help heat downstairs. Unit and install would cost $5k. Figured it would decrease use of heat pump to 50% use as we spend majority of time in rooms that would be heated by the fireplace unit.
- Not sure on ROI of those upgrades as we will need a new HVAC unit in 3-5 years.
The fireplace unit might help. Would like to see you get a home audit re 1). insulation and leakproofing and 2). efficiency of your HP before doing that. It feels as if your HP might be set wrong.

Luckywon
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by Luckywon » Sat Dec 16, 2017 6:22 pm

2300 sq. ft house in Los Angeles. 2 people. Pool (almost never heated) with pump running 6 hour/day. AC runs maybe 30 days/year. Gas heater and stove. Electric washer. Gas dryer.

Average daily kWh usage:
2011: 54.2
2012: 58.2
2013: 58.3
2014: 45.4 (discovered short and fixed it early in year.)
2015: 50.9
2016: 41.5 (switched some lights to LED)
Most recent 2 months in 2017: 36.1 (installed variable speed pump for pool, switched more lights to LED)

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wander
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by wander » Sat Dec 16, 2017 6:23 pm

Our peak month was 844 kWh. Actually, every month, we received email from electric company saying that I use more energy than our neighbors. We set indoor temperature to 76 for summer and 73 for winter times. All is electric, we do not have gas option.

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runner9
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by runner9 » Sat Dec 16, 2017 6:34 pm

Our usage varies from 266-501 KWH a month over last 12 months. We have natural gas for furnace, hot water and dryer.

I've air sealed and added insulation to the attic to about R70 along with ventilation through the soffits. We had the 1954 walls insulated with expanding foam.

We've replaced most windows and blocked off the wood burning fireplace.

We have a programmible thermostat that turns the heat to 60 during the weekdays when we're not home, 69 when we are home and awake and 65 at night.

At end of life we've replaced furnace, AC and hot water tank with more efficient models.

All of this has helped lower both electric and natural gas bills significantly from when we moved in 10 years ago.

onourway
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by onourway » Sat Dec 16, 2017 8:24 pm

Family of 5 in the NE.

About 2000 sq. ft of living area.

Most of our appliances, heating, and hot water are gas. LED lights everywhere.

We use on average about 500kWh of electricity.

Thermostat at 68 24/7 all winter. No a/c in summer.

Our total energy bill for the entire year, electric and natural gas runs about $1800.

You need to do an energy audit or have someone come do one. They'll nail down the major culprits. Your utility may subsidize the cost of this.
Last edited by onourway on Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

quantAndHold
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by quantAndHold » Sat Dec 16, 2017 8:38 pm

We use about 500kwh per month, but it’s not an apples to apples comparison at all, since we have gas.

Can you get solar hot water? Or at least propane? Electric hot water is several times the cost of gas. With six people, electric hot water is a big source of your problem.

Adjust your thermostat. At least to 68 winter, 75 summer. Wear sweaters in the winter, and shorts in the summer.

Get a home energy audit. We thought we were being efficient. We were freezing all winter, but the bills were still high. The auditor figured out that we didn’t have any insulation in certain parts of the house. $3k on insulation made a huge difference.

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dwickenh
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by dwickenh » Sat Dec 16, 2017 8:43 pm

All electric with 1751 sq ft and full basement with a/c and heat. 31.55 kWh per day average. House is 6 years old with Geo-Thermal heat pump. 2 Adults and visits from children that shower twice a day it seems. R-15 attic blown and r-13 wall bats. Most of my neighbors are using 2 times the power I am per their own admissions. A/C at 76 and heat at 70 (down to 65 at night).
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Point
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by Point » Sat Dec 16, 2017 8:56 pm

I'm in CA, so I can't give you comparable consumption figures, and all my elec is covered by solar production.

What about a pellet fireplace or insert for your existing fireplace? They are extremely efficient for heating.

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just frank
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by just frank » Sun Dec 17, 2017 4:42 pm

I'm a good comp, in SE PA with a 2400 sq ft house and ASHP heat (3 years old, SEER 16), built 1960 but carefully airsealed. HW from a HPWH in an semi-conditioned space.

Space heat is about 10,000 kWh per year.
AC is about 2000 kWh per year (very shady lot).
HW is about 2000 kWh per year.
EV (10,000 miles/yr) is about 3000 kWh per year.
Everything else is about 3000 kWh per year.

Total is about 20,000 kWh per year. And maybe 200 gallons of gasoline/yr for our non-EV miles.

The utility thinks we use somewhat more electricity than our neighbors....this is a meaningless metric because our neighbors are using 800 gallons of fuel oil or 800 therms of natural gas plus another 300-400 gallons of gasoline...we are not.

This neighbor comparison if you have electric heat is silly. You are doing fine.

Buy 100% local (PA) wind power for an extra penny or two per kWh, and its all carbon free (I do).

ncbill
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by ncbill » Sun Dec 17, 2017 5:59 pm

Home energy audit first - don't just think "insulation" - air sealing is critical (don't want to be heating unconditioned space like the attic)

How much is propane, delivered, to a large (e.g. 250-500 gallon) tank, and what does its installation, rental, etc. cost if you are thinking of space/water heating with propane.

RetiredAL
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by RetiredAL » Sun Dec 17, 2017 6:47 pm

MedicatedMoney,

Go focus first on hot water usage.

A 15 min shower at 4 gpm = 60 gallons = 500 lbs. Assuming 50 degree hot water rise ( 50 to 100), that's 25,000 btu, which would require 7.3 kwh for a pure electric hot water heater. Factor that by your HP COP. If the COP = 2 on a cooler day, then that shower just used 3.6 kwh. Multiply that by the number of showers taken each month. 3.6x6x30 = 650 kwh/month just for showers. All of these variables can be highly variable, but it gives you the general idea. Anything to reduce the quantity of hot water usage will have a large payback and the solutions of mostly cheap to do. And if you are on a well, it takes kwh to pump that water.

Suggestions:
1. Shut off the water while soaping down.
2. Take shorter showers
3. Change the shower heads to Ultra low flow, which are below 1.0 gpm.
4. If taking a bath, use only a couple inches of water.
5. Only run the dishwasher when its totally full.
6. Only wash clothes in cold water.

Long term, look at propane for the hot water. Propane gives 80,000 btu a gallon and newer hot water heaters are 75% or more efficient. No idea what propane would cost you delivered in your area, but 4:1 cost is often quoted for comparing pure electric hot water heat.

Someone said check out solar hot water. Using solar to supplement, if you can reduce the year average temp rise to 25 degrees, you just cut your electric HW cost in half.

clutchied
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by clutchied » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:11 pm

It won't be comparable but in SW Ohio we have natural gas.

We use on avg. about 1200 to 1400 kWh's per month.

House is 4900 sq. ft. built in late 80's. Furnace is original.


Gas is so much cheaper to heat with than heat pumps. I'm shocked people even try to use them in the NE. They just don't work when the temp delta gets too big.

Consider your A/C has a temp delta of what 20-25F? The heatpump may have 50F or higher delta.

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just frank
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by just frank » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:29 pm

RetiredAL wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 6:47 pm
MedicatedMoney,

Go focus first on hot water usage.

A 15 min shower at 4 gpm = 60 gallons = 500 lbs. Assuming 50 degree hot water rise ( 50 to 100), that's 25,000 btu, which would require 7.3 kwh for a pure electric hot water heater. Factor that by your HP COP. If the COP = 2 on a cooler day, then that shower just used 3.6 kwh. Multiply that by the number of showers taken each month. 3.6x6x30 = 650 kwh/month just for showers. All of these variables can be highly variable, but it gives you the general idea. Anything to reduce the quantity of hot water usage will have a large payback and the solutions of mostly cheap to do. And if you are on a well, it takes kwh to pump that water.

Suggestions:
1. Shut off the water while soaping down.
2. Take shorter showers
3. Change the shower heads to Ultra low flow, which are below 1.0 gpm.
4. If taking a bath, use only a couple inches of water.
5. Only run the dishwasher when its totally full.
6. Only wash clothes in cold water.

Long term, look at propane for the hot water. Propane gives 80,000 btu a gallon and newer hot water heaters are 75% or more efficient. No idea what propane would cost you delivered in your area, but 4:1 cost is often quoted for comparing pure electric hot water heat.

Someone said check out solar hot water. Using solar to supplement, if you can reduce the year average temp rise to 25 degrees, you just cut your electric HW cost in half.
Newer HPWH has a COP=3. HW for a family of four is like $20/mo, maintenance is about zero. Hard to beat, if you've got the space for one.

BTW, kWh are cheap here and I have heard $5/gal local propane quotes. :shock:

I got a solar HW quote for $12k a few years ago....and it still used electric for 30-50% backup. IOW, it used as much elec as the HPWH or more!

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by Epsilon Delta » Tue Dec 19, 2017 12:32 am

RetiredAL wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 6:47 pm
MedicatedMoney,

Go focus first on hot water usage.
Consider putting a big honking electric heater in the bathroom(s). A resistance heater may seem inefficient but using an electric heater is much more efficient than running a hot shower down the drain to heat the bathroom. If the bathroom is warm a low flow shower, lower water temperature or navy shower are much more tolerable.

You shouldn't use portable space heaters in a bathroom. My preference is to use high wattage heat lamps in one or more properly rate light fixtures. Radiant heat directly warms your wet, naked body rather than the air, the effect starts as soon as you turn them on. Ceiling fans with built in heaters are also available, but don't have quite the same effect.
I'd put any heater on a timer so it turns off after say 15 minutes. The point is to heat the space while your in it. If you have hydronic heat a radiant heated floor would also work, but that's a bigger job.

Angelus359
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by Angelus359 » Tue Dec 19, 2017 6:24 am

I have a gas water heater, gas furnace, and gas oven. My electric bill averages 300kwh/mo

That works out to be around 40$
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Angelus359
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by Angelus359 » Tue Dec 19, 2017 6:28 am

just frank wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:29 pm
RetiredAL wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 6:47 pm
MedicatedMoney,

Go focus first on hot water usage.

A 15 min shower at 4 gpm = 60 gallons = 500 lbs. Assuming 50 degree hot water rise ( 50 to 100), that's 25,000 btu, which would require 7.3 kwh for a pure electric hot water heater. Factor that by your HP COP. If the COP = 2 on a cooler day, then that shower just used 3.6 kwh. Multiply that by the number of showers taken each month. 3.6x6x30 = 650 kwh/month just for showers. All of these variables can be highly variable, but it gives you the general idea. Anything to reduce the quantity of hot water usage will have a large payback and the solutions of mostly cheap to do. And if you are on a well, it takes kwh to pump that water.

Suggestions:
1. Shut off the water while soaping down.
2. Take shorter showers
3. Change the shower heads to Ultra low flow, which are below 1.0 gpm.
4. If taking a bath, use only a couple inches of water.
5. Only run the dishwasher when its totally full.
6. Only wash clothes in cold water.

Long term, look at propane for the hot water. Propane gives 80,000 btu a gallon and newer hot water heaters are 75% or more efficient. No idea what propane would cost you delivered in your area, but 4:1 cost is often quoted for comparing pure electric hot water heat.

Someone said check out solar hot water. Using solar to supplement, if you can reduce the year average temp rise to 25 degrees, you just cut your electric HW cost in half.
Newer HPWH has a COP=3. HW for a family of four is like $20/mo, maintenance is about zero. Hard to beat, if you've got the space for one.

BTW, kWh are cheap here and I have heard $5/gal local propane quotes. :shock:

I got a solar HW quote for $12k a few years ago....and it still used electric for 30-50% backup. IOW, it used as much elec as the HPWH or more!
People have built their own solar water heaters for under 100$.

They're made out of wood, plexiglass, paint, refridgerator coils, some piping, and a small pump (5w)
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Angelus359
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by Angelus359 » Tue Dec 19, 2017 6:30 am

RetiredAL wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 6:47 pm
MedicatedMoney,

Go focus first on hot water usage.

A 15 min shower at 4 gpm = 60 gallons = 500 lbs. Assuming 50 degree hot water rise ( 50 to 100), that's 25,000 btu, which would require 7.3 kwh for a pure electric hot water heater. Factor that by your HP COP. If the COP = 2 on a cooler day, then that shower just used 3.6 kwh. Multiply that by the number of showers taken each month. 3.6x6x30 = 650 kwh/month just for showers. All of these variables can be highly variable, but it gives you the general idea. Anything to reduce the quantity of hot water usage will have a large payback and the solutions of mostly cheap to do. And if you are on a well, it takes kwh to pump that water.

Suggestions:
1. Shut off the water while soaping down.
2. Take shorter showers
3. Change the shower heads to Ultra low flow, which are below 1.0 gpm.
4. If taking a bath, use only a couple inches of water.
5. Only run the dishwasher when its totally full.
6. Only wash clothes in cold water.

Long term, look at propane for the hot water. Propane gives 80,000 btu a gallon and newer hot water heaters are 75% or more efficient. No idea what propane would cost you delivered in your area, but 4:1 cost is often quoted for comparing pure electric hot water heat.

Someone said check out solar hot water. Using solar to supplement, if you can reduce the year average temp rise to 25 degrees, you just cut your electric HW cost in half.

I have a Delta shower head that is 1.5gpm and you can't even tell that it's low flow. They did some weird magic with aeration of the water droplets to make it feel like high flow

Worth every penny (30$)
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Angelus359
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by Angelus359 » Tue Dec 19, 2017 6:34 am

dpc wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 5:17 pm
You didn't mention your refrigerator and/or freezer. Frost-free refrigerators and freezers used to be notorious energy hogs.

Your winter thermostat settings seem high. Most people set down to 68 or so.

You can only do so much. Do what you can, and live with it. Enjoy the family at home - it doesn't last long.
I set my winter thermostat to 68 when not home (cats), and 74 when home. Sometimes I feel cold so I raise it to 76.

I have an ecobee 3 thermostat with an external sensor to balance temps
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Angelus359
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by Angelus359 » Tue Dec 19, 2017 6:44 am

With my 300kwh average I should mention I live in a 1100sqft 2 bedroom condo in an 8 unit building (4 lower 4 upper) where I'm on upper. Everyone is a corner.

I replaced my furnace motor from a 650w psc motor with a 125w (measured with clamp ammeter) Mars azure digimotor

I have 100% led lighting. No cablebox. (20w savings). My 65 inch TV is like 20w when on. My computer uses under 220w while gaming (135w gpu) with an idle power of 38w (measured at ups)

Our PS4 slim is 75w or so. My wife (I got married a week ago! Though we lived together for a couple years) is energy contientous herself

I leave 2 led lights on 24/7 for the cats. We have insufficient natural lighting
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gd
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by gd » Tue Dec 19, 2017 7:44 am

For non-financial reasons, I replaced a conventional natural gas hot water heater with a hybrid electric. As best as I can determine, electricity in my house is about 3-4 times gas per energy unit. It may be more expensive in the winter operating in a cold basement, but last summer the heat pump water heater ran for about the same cost as the conventional gas did, +/- maybe 25%. We run it in heat pump mode only. It is noisy (same as mid-size dehumidifier) and very slow, and cools and dehumidifies the operating area slightly. Based on my experience, resistance water heaters should be a niche market only for problem installations and slumlords.

To the OP question, 2 people in 1800 sq ft old house, gas heat and cooking, less than 20% of your usage. But it is not comparable, e.g. I can't tolerate that level of AC in summer and heat in winter. I don't pay any attention to the utilitiy company's "how you compare to your neighbors" letters unless they were to explain details, which they never do because they don't really know.

Valuethinker
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by Valuethinker » Tue Dec 19, 2017 8:47 am

Angelus359 wrote:
Tue Dec 19, 2017 6:28 am
just frank wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:29 pm
RetiredAL wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 6:47 pm
MedicatedMoney,

Go focus first on hot water usage.

A 15 min shower at 4 gpm = 60 gallons = 500 lbs. Assuming 50 degree hot water rise ( 50 to 100), that's 25,000 btu, which would require 7.3 kwh for a pure electric hot water heater. Factor that by your HP COP. If the COP = 2 on a cooler day, then that shower just used 3.6 kwh. Multiply that by the number of showers taken each month. 3.6x6x30 = 650 kwh/month just for showers. All of these variables can be highly variable, but it gives you the general idea. Anything to reduce the quantity of hot water usage will have a large payback and the solutions of mostly cheap to do. And if you are on a well, it takes kwh to pump that water.

Suggestions:
1. Shut off the water while soaping down.
2. Take shorter showers
3. Change the shower heads to Ultra low flow, which are below 1.0 gpm.
4. If taking a bath, use only a couple inches of water.
5. Only run the dishwasher when its totally full.
6. Only wash clothes in cold water.

Long term, look at propane for the hot water. Propane gives 80,000 btu a gallon and newer hot water heaters are 75% or more efficient. No idea what propane would cost you delivered in your area, but 4:1 cost is often quoted for comparing pure electric hot water heat.

Someone said check out solar hot water. Using solar to supplement, if you can reduce the year average temp rise to 25 degrees, you just cut your electric HW cost in half.
Newer HPWH has a COP=3. HW for a family of four is like $20/mo, maintenance is about zero. Hard to beat, if you've got the space for one.

BTW, kWh are cheap here and I have heard $5/gal local propane quotes. :shock:

I got a solar HW quote for $12k a few years ago....and it still used electric for 30-50% backup. IOW, it used as much elec as the HPWH or more!
People have built their own solar water heaters for under 100$.

They're made out of wood, plexiglass, paint, refridgerator coils, some piping, and a small pump (5w)
Unless you have a huge storage tank, SHW is not the right technology for that climate and a family of 6. You need HW on demand, and plenty of it, when many days are cloudy and where the winter season is long, and demand is high.

SHW seldom pays off unless you live in a desert/ dry type climate and/or you have a massive heat store.

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just frank
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by just frank » Tue Dec 19, 2017 8:50 am

Angelus359 wrote:
Tue Dec 19, 2017 6:28 am
just frank wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:29 pm
Newer HPWH has a COP=3. HW for a family of four is like $20/mo, maintenance is about zero. Hard to beat, if you've got the space for one.

BTW, kWh are cheap here and I have heard $5/gal local propane quotes. :shock:

I got a solar HW quote for $12k a few years ago....and it still used electric for 30-50% backup. IOW, it used as much elec as the HPWH or more!
People have built their own solar water heaters for under 100$.

They're made out of wood, plexiglass, paint, refridgerator coils, some piping, and a small pump (5w)
Indeed. And most of them require repairs due to poor engineering, spring leaks, might not be allowed in some neighborhoods or become a problem at resale and more to the point.....most use more electricity (for 40-60% backup) than a current vintage HPWH.

Solar HW is dead. If want to save $$ on HW, get a HPWH. If you want 100% solar HW, put a couple more PV panels on your roof to feed it.

squirm
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Re: Electric Energy Usage

Post by squirm » Tue Dec 19, 2017 8:57 am

You're three times more than us but we have gas and located elsewhere. What's your rate? Given your situation and family size, it doesn't look too bad... But get an energy audit done.

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