Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Topic Author
Hulk
Posts: 240
Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2015 1:08 pm

Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by Hulk » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:02 pm

Does this sound correct? Bought a house in May (built in 1990) and our electricity bill has been really high, over $500 in July, August and September :shock: . According to this calculation our monthly bill should be about 270/mo or so (3884 sq ft house)

I realize there are many other factors; where do you live?/climate, how efficient is your HVAC system. But trying to get an idea. anyone have any knowledge on this?

I googled an insulation man and he assessed the house, thought the insulation in the ceiling was insufficient and also some lights needed to be sealed in the attic as well. Estimated a bill of $4100 to get the home efficient! yikes, does this sound right?

thanks

Gryphon
Posts: 97
Joined: Sat May 07, 2016 11:43 am

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by Gryphon » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:26 pm

7% of square footage per month is more than I spend. My home is 2100 sq ft, and my average monthly electric bill last year was $94, well below the $147 that rule would suggest. In fact, my highest bill was just $1 shy of that mark. On the other hand, I was gone two months last year so my usage was below normal those months. If I increase those two months to more normal amounts, the average would be $99.

As you suggest, location makes a big difference. If I was farther south than Missouri, I would expect my summer AC bills to be significantly higher.

Bacchus01
Posts: 2887
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2012 9:35 pm

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by Bacchus01 » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:29 pm

We have a 5,400 sq ft house in WI.

Combined gas and electricity is less than $300/mo. On average I’d say closer to $225-$250.

So no, I don’t think 7% makes sense

User avatar
fortfun
Posts: 2029
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2016 7:31 pm

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by fortfun » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:30 pm

Mine is just a little over 2%.

onourway
Posts: 1954
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2016 3:39 pm

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by onourway » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:31 pm

7% seems high. We are about 1/2 that.

User avatar
Nate79
Posts: 4648
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2016 6:24 pm
Location: Delaware

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by Nate79 » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:37 pm

What is the climate like in the summer? How were you running the AC? Do you have any other big energy items? How old is the AC system?

bhsince87
Posts: 2377
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2013 1:08 pm

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by bhsince87 » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:39 pm

That's a silly rule of thumb.
"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace." Samuel Adams

User avatar
FiveK
Posts: 7014
Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:43 pm

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by FiveK » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:40 pm

Should be? According to...?

Scrapr
Posts: 314
Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 9:19 am

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by Scrapr » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:42 pm

No idea on % of SF of the home. Is that what the insulation guy said? He's making up stuff to sound smart

We air sealed our home built in '94. the last straw was I was in a hoodie with the hood up & freezing. Mrs Scrapr opens the natural gas bill and it's yuge. We talked with a remodeler to come in and air seal. We were cold in front of the kitchen sink. Remodeler brings a infra red camera and points it at the can lights above the sink....Bingo. They did a Blower door test to locate other areas of concern. Also tested the flexible ducts...50% leakage. There was more but you get the drift

IIRC we were about $7k less some incentives. 2800 SF home. Payoff was about 4 years and a much more comfortable home

User avatar
celia
Posts: 9441
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2008 6:32 am
Location: SoCal

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by celia » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:48 pm

Your electric company may offer free energy evaluations and identify problems unique to your home. Call them.

User avatar
leeks
Posts: 733
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:33 pm
Location: new york

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by leeks » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:50 pm

No, that is not a guideline or rule of thumb that anyone who studies residential energy use uses. It cannot be estimated based on square footage alone. HVAC system types, climate, age/type of construction, number of and behaviors of occupants, etc. Price of electricity also varies by region, so that approach is really meaningless.

mortfree
Posts: 1665
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2016 7:06 pm

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by mortfree » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:57 pm

Appliances and Lighting are usually the top two.

Do you have a programmable thermostat? I use Nest because I like to see how long the A/C or furnace runs each day.

How old are your major appliances? Fridge, washer/dryer/ dishwasher. Any other unique energy consumers in your house?


Do you have lots of lights? Have you switched to LED?

Maybe you need to take daily meter readings so you can see what is going on.

runner3081
Posts: 2183
Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2016 3:22 pm

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by runner3081 » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:58 pm

That rule is either in line or crazy, depending on where you live.

We are at 1,900 square feet in the Phoenix area.

Electricity costs are right at $160 = 8% of square footage.

And that is VERY LOW for the area. We keep the house at 84 in the day and 81 at night (with a 2-year old AC). Most of our neighbors in similar houses are right around $3,000.

User avatar
unclescrooge
Posts: 3425
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2012 7:00 pm

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by unclescrooge » Tue Nov 27, 2018 11:02 pm

Hulk wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:02 pm
Does this sound correct? Bought a house in May (built in 1990) and our electricity bill has been really high, over $500 in July, August and September :shock: . According to this calculation our monthly bill should be about 270/mo or so (3884 sq ft house)

I realize there are many other factors; where do you live?/climate, how efficient is your HVAC system. But trying to get an idea. anyone have any knowledge on this?

I googled an insulation man and he assessed the house, thought the insulation in the ceiling was insufficient and also some lights needed to be sealed in the attic as well. Estimated a bill of $4100 to get the home efficient! yikes, does this sound right?

thanks
Is that $500 per month?
What was the average day time temperature in each of these months?
Was the AC running 24 hrs?
Do you have 2 story house? How high are the ceilings?
What type of windows so you have?
Where do you live?
What type of lighting do you use?

tomd37
Posts: 3006
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 10:39 pm
Location: Middle Tennessee

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by tomd37 » Tue Nov 27, 2018 11:23 pm

Scrapr - What can be done to insulate those can lights. Just last week I had to replace a bulb in the can light over the kitchen sink and was amazed how much cold air was there. I was reluctant to do anything at the time and concerned about stuffing anything up in there for fear of fire or something else. Do you or anyone else have any suggestions? I have six other can lights in the kitchen ceiling that might also be leaking air, but they are not as close to the outside wall as is the one over the sink.
Tom D.

NYC_Guy
Posts: 294
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2017 2:23 pm
Location: New York

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by NYC_Guy » Tue Nov 27, 2018 11:24 pm

I pay nearly $0.30 per kwh. 7% of sqf is a dream.

furikake
Posts: 257
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2015 10:13 am

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by furikake » Tue Nov 27, 2018 11:34 pm

Ours is 3% at the highest in the summer. Most months it's a lot less.

Teague
Posts: 1496
Joined: Wed Nov 04, 2015 6:15 pm

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by Teague » Tue Nov 27, 2018 11:39 pm

Seven percent? Ha! I wish. I'm supporting a pool pump, a well pump, and on and on.

In the summer, my bill is more like 100 minus my age.
Semper Augustus

CedarWaxWing
Posts: 698
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2014 12:24 pm

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by CedarWaxWing » Tue Nov 27, 2018 11:40 pm

https://www.chooseenergy.com/electricit ... -by-state/

Better insulation is usually good, but the person who "inspected" the house is not the guy to take advice from.

Get a state sponsored person if possible to take a look and make recomendations. R 36 in the attic is good, and likely more than what you have in a 1990 house.

A complete energy survey may be your best bet for determining what to do and how to get incentives if your state offers them.

wootwoot
Posts: 341
Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:37 pm

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by wootwoot » Tue Nov 27, 2018 11:45 pm

This is the worst rule of thumb ever. It makes no sense.

User avatar
baconavocado
Posts: 294
Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:03 pm

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by baconavocado » Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:11 am

I don't know where that formula comes from but it's just about right on for us.

sawhorse
Posts: 3290
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2015 7:05 pm

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by sawhorse » Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:15 am

That sounds like a nonsense rule of thumb that doesn't take into account geographical variation in the price of electricity as well as geographical variation in weather. Also, it depends on how much of your energy comes from electricity. If your heating and cooking are from natural gas, then you're going to have a lower electricity bill than someone in the same house with the same habits who has all electric.

My electric bill shows how much neighboring apartments used, so that gives us some indication of how we're doing.

quantAndHold
Posts: 3438
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2015 10:39 pm

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by quantAndHold » Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:46 am

Good lord, the most expensive bill we ever had was like 3%. That was when we had the AC running all month, and we live in high priced Southern California. Who makes this stuff up?

Anyway, most utilities offer some sort of home energy audit, either for free or cheap. We added insulation, air sealing, and duct sealing the first year we were here. No idea if we saved any money, but it sure made us more comfortable.

denovo
Posts: 4405
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2013 1:04 pm

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by denovo » Wed Nov 28, 2018 1:22 am

Hulk wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:02 pm
Does this sound correct? Bought a house in May (built in 1990) and our electricity bill has been really high, over $500 in July, August and September :shock: . According to this calculation our monthly bill should be about 270/mo or so (3884 sq ft house)

I realize there are many other factors; where do you live?/climate, how efficient is your HVAC system. But trying to get an idea. anyone have any knowledge on this?

I googled an insulation man and he assessed the house, thought the insulation in the ceiling was insufficient and also some lights needed to be sealed in the attic as well. Estimated a bill of $4100 to get the home efficient! yikes, does this sound right?

thanks
Ignore useless rule of thumbs. Is your bill excessive in the summer? Then it's your A/C. How old is your A/C? Do you leave the A/C on all day? What part of the country do you live in?
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

Goal33
Posts: 804
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2015 12:30 pm

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by Goal33 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 1:26 am

CA Bay Area condo, 900sqft, average around $60. So spot on for me at 7%
A man with one watch always knows what time it is; a man with two watches is never sure.

User avatar
jabberwockOG
Posts: 1723
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 7:23 am

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by jabberwockOG » Wed Nov 28, 2018 1:26 am

We are in 2600 sqft house, all electric (including HVAC heat pump and water heater) except for a gas cooking stove top. Electric bill averages apprx 80-160 per month. Gas bill is never more than $10/month. House is well insulated and we run all led lights and dimmers. We live in a relatively mild SE climate state - still gets pretty cold on some winter days so our big electric bills are usually months of December/January and July/August.

jminv
Posts: 897
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:58 pm

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by jminv » Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:45 am

No, this is not a good rule of thumb at all. I have had similar costs for a house of that size and age and at another new house that was built to be energy efficient less than 60/month on average (max 100 any one month). I’m guessing you had an energy efficient place and didn’t realize it could be so much in another. It was the same for me.

Your costs are not all that crazy for an older, poorly insulated house of that size that’s set at a cool temperature during the summer months. It is also very location dependent since weather, set temp, cost of electricity, hvac system, windows.

If your utility or city offers a free energy audit, that could be useful.

If you want to insulate, I would recommend you do it yourself. $1000 and a few hours of work vs $4100 for something a pro blow in within an hour. It will cut your heating and cooling costs but not by as much as you would think, reason why I suggest doing it yourself. Check if your utility offers rebates for putting in extra insulation.

I would buy a temperature gun (less than $20 on Amazon) to see where the most energy loss is occurring.

User avatar
RickBoglehead
Posts: 3198
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:10 am

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by RickBoglehead » Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:16 am

leeks wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:50 pm
No, that is not a guideline or rule of thumb that anyone who studies residential energy use uses. It cannot be estimated based on square footage alone. HVAC system types, climate, age/type of construction, number of and behaviors of occupants, etc. Price of electricity also varies by region, so that approach is really meaningless.
This ^^^

Electric heat pump vs gas furnace

Temp set

Temp outside

Cost per kwh vastoy different in places

Image
Avid user of forums on variety of interests-financial, home brewing, F-150, PHEV, home repair, etc. Enjoy learning & passing on knowledge. It's PRINCIPAL, not PRINCIPLE. I ADVISE you to seek ADVICE.

stats99
Posts: 131
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2016 2:15 pm

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by stats99 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:13 am

Regarding chart above, that rate must not include "transport" costs of the electricity, that adds at least $0.05-$0.07 on NJ per KwH.

Jags4186
Posts: 3478
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:12 pm

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by Jags4186 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:35 am

Here are some real rates for NJ.

Image

$0.15/kWh is accurate.

NextMil
Posts: 540
Joined: Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:33 pm

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by NextMil » Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:43 am

We are around 7%, but I agree totally arbitrary.

One of the best home upgrades we did was new blown insulation in the attic. Relatively inexpensive when you consider just the ROI in bill reduction, and the house feels a million times better.

Easiest thing to do would be to ask your neighbors, odds are they have similar homes. If you are out of whack with what they are paying, I would find an independent person to do an energy audit. I might do the latter regardless.

annielouise
Posts: 382
Joined: Wed May 14, 2008 4:11 pm

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by annielouise » Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:49 am

The 7% might be what they see in your area. Sealing a home and insulating well can make a big difference, so can increasing/decreasing temperature, using LED bulbs, using plugs/outlet strips that reduce vampire drain, developing good habits, finding a good deal if your electricity is deregulated, etc.

We are in TX. We currently pay $25 per month ( same every month) for 2000 sq ft. It's a great deal that we will miss when it runs out next summer.

Our gas bill (heat, range, and water heating) varies from $22 in summer up to >$100 in winter. We are billed based on market price for natural gas, so it can be quite variable.

User avatar
Bengineer
Posts: 506
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2011 12:25 pm
Location: NC

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by Bengineer » Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:52 am

The energy use in kWh/mo at peak heating / cooling season (the months with the most heating/cooling degree-days) of neighbors with houses of similar size, shape and mechanical/appliances (electric / gas) would be more useful.

As to air-sealing and insulating, a couple $k for someone to spend a good while in your attic (and under the floor) sealing up holes, putting boxes over your can lights and flashing around your chimneys, etc., plus a couple $k to blow insulation into a 3900 sf attic doesn't seem crazy. The only way to know is find out what others paid for similar jobs and get 3 quotes or so.

An energy audit would be helpful in spelling out how well insulated your house is and how leaky your building envelope and HVAC ductwork are. If you're lucky, your electric utility will offer a discount.

Educate yourself. Your house should be as tight as you can reasonably make it and the insulation R-value should be up to code or better. Here's an energy star retrofit guide with a climate zone map to get you started. Your state likely lists their code R-values by zone. The DOE has a nice website on saving energy covering energy audits, air sealing, insulation and more.

dcabler
Posts: 987
Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:30 am

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by dcabler » Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:59 am

Hulk wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:02 pm
Does this sound correct? Bought a house in May (built in 1990) and our electricity bill has been really high, over $500 in July, August and September :shock: . According to this calculation our monthly bill should be about 270/mo or so (3884 sq ft house)

I realize there are many other factors; where do you live?/climate, how efficient is your HVAC system. But trying to get an idea. anyone have any knowledge on this?

I googled an insulation man and he assessed the house, thought the insulation in the ceiling was insufficient and also some lights needed to be sealed in the attic as well. Estimated a bill of $4100 to get the home efficient! yikes, does this sound right?

thanks
Never heard of such a rule of thumb. Hard to say where that came from given the different costs of electricity around the country, different climates, different mix of electricity and gas usage in any given household, whether you have a pool and associated pump, solar, etc. Now all that said, I live in Austin, TX with electric range, but gas oven and gas water heater. A/C of course but gas furnace. And a pool. Quick calculation of our average electric bill over the course of a year, along with our square footage and the number is 7.3% Interesting, but I don't see how it's useful....

Globalviewer58
Posts: 525
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2008 3:26 pm

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by Globalviewer58 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:00 am

Home Energy Saver is a series of web pages published by US Department of Energy to help homeowners and professionals assess energy use and possible low, moderate and high cost steps to reduce energy use. There is also a guide that allows you to enter your zip code to see typical energy use in your area.

You might review the information before selecting any projects so you have best results for least cost. I followed a number of the suggestions and reduced energy use by 15%. This included sealing exposed ducts with mastic, wrapping same ducts with insulation, sealing around doors and windows, replacing worn wooden frames.

Good luck!

bigtex
Posts: 213
Joined: Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:34 am

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by bigtex » Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:05 am

We are at 7.0% but thats for gas and electric. Its nearly an even split for us at 3.5% for each type. 2500 square feet in southern applachians.

Topic Author
Hulk
Posts: 240
Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2015 1:08 pm

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by Hulk » Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:08 am

Nate79 wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:37 pm
What is the climate like in the summer? How were you running the AC? Do you have any other big energy items? How old is the AC system?
I am in a very hot state with long and hot summers often over 100 degrees F. 7% is what I was quoted by the insulation man, maybe he was quoting average rates for my location but regarless I am paying way more that that. Some months more than 12%!

We kept our AC around 72 or so. We have a pool but dont heat it, got rid of a garage fridge we dont use. Windows are double pane.

2 AC units, one is a 2016 4 ton I think. The other is a 2006 that apparently had parts replaced in 2012, not sure how efficiently it is running.

Insulation man said the attic insulation was inadequate. Needs much more insulation (up to 12 inches) and more uniform coverage (several spots with nothing). Also, apparently a remodel job done by former owner is contributing to the problem. Ceiling lights were not sealed, just dropped so losing a lot there.

Bottom line, he can get the insulation improved and the house more efficient for $4,1000 :shock: If is actually saves me $200/mo then great its a 3-4 year break even and probably worth it. Just want to be sure it will actually improve the situation and to what degree.

stan1
Posts: 7107
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:35 pm

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by stan1 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:19 am

Hulk wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:02 pm
Does this sound correct? Bought a house in May (built in 1990) and our electricity bill has been really high, over $500 in July, August and September :shock: . According to this calculation our monthly bill should be about 270/mo or so (3884 sq ft house)

I realize there are many other factors; where do you live?/climate, how efficient is your HVAC system. But trying to get an idea. anyone have any knowledge on this?

I googled an insulation man and he assessed the house, thought the insulation in the ceiling was insufficient and also some lights needed to be sealed in the attic as well. Estimated a bill of $4100 to get the home efficient! yikes, does this sound right?

thanks
I'd go back to the facts of your home rather than trying to benchmark. $500 seems high but it was the middle of the summer so you probably were running the AC (or maybe multiple ACs if the house is large). Since you moved in May you don't know what the house will cost to heat yet. Our neighbors in an identical house have a summer electric bill of over $500 but ours is usually about $175 so you have to look at what's going on inside the house. Some of it is family behavior so you have to decide whether you want to tackle that head on or spend money trying to mitigate it. We have natural gas heat in our house. In winter we can get the electric bill down to $50/month in a 1750 square foot house with 2 people even in a state with high electricity costs.

Sounds like you have a $4100 proposed bill from a contractor to improve energy efficiency. Did your utility company do an assessment? What were the results? What's the breakout of work the contractor is proposing? Some things you can do have a higher ROI than others. Some things can easily done by the homeowner. If there is substantial missing insulation that's probably worth doing as it will help with winter bills as well and keep the temperature more even. Replacing an incandescent bulb in a can light that is only turned on a few minutes per week (such as in a hallway) might be something you want to do but it won't save you a lot of money.

First place I'd look is at appliances that run all the time (refrigerators and HVAC). How old are the refrigerator/freezer(s)? If they are more than 15 years old and you have multiple units replacing with more energy efficient models could help. If the AC units are original to the house you might be better off putting some of the $4100 into replacing them. If the fridge and HVAC are already energy efficient you might be better off putting some of the $4100 towards solar panels depending upon what the contractor is recommending.

stan1
Posts: 7107
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:35 pm

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by stan1 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:26 am

Hulk wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:08 am

Bottom line, he can get the insulation improved and the house more efficient for $4,1000 :shock: If is actually saves me $200/mo then great its a 3-4 year break even and probably worth it. Just want to be sure it will actually improve the situation and to what degree.
I'd be very surprised if insulation alone would save you 40%.

Since you are in a 100 degree climate I'd be looking at the ROI on solar. Maybe you still do the insulation to make the house more comfortable but if you get the solar you can run the AC as much as you want.

Scrapr
Posts: 314
Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 9:19 am

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by Scrapr » Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:32 am

tomd37 wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 11:23 pm
Scrapr - What can be done to insulate those can lights. Just last week I had to replace a bulb in the can light over the kitchen sink and was amazed how much cold air was there. I was reluctant to do anything at the time and concerned about stuffing anything up in there for fear of fire or something else. Do you or anyone else have any suggestions? I have six other can lights in the kitchen ceiling that might also be leaking air, but they are not as close to the outside wall as is the one over the sink.
There are 2 solutions. First one the can fixture can be changed to a unit that can have insulation right up next to the unit. A bit messy & expensive. The quick & dirty way is a foam(?) gasket between the trim piece & the drywall. Pop off the trim, put the foam on the trim & reinstall. These 2 can lights were in a pop out roof area and I'm pretty sure the insulators never reached that far with their hose to blow in insulation

At least that is the way I remember it. Been several years now

Colorado13
Posts: 903
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:58 pm
Location: Colorado

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by Colorado13 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:51 am

My gas + electric is closer to 3-4% of square footage per month (depending on time of year obviously. Winter heating is on the upper range of that.)

User avatar
goingup
Posts: 3580
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:02 pm

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by goingup » Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:09 am

Hulk wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:02 pm
Estimated a bill of $4100 to get the home efficient! yikes, does this sound right?
Check your energy company. They'll likely provide a free energy assessment. They may provide a list of approved contractors. Sometimes there are rebates or tax credits available for getting the work done.

Our gas plus electric is 2-5% monthly (2600 sf) depending on the season in moderate climate of Seattle.

quantAndHold
Posts: 3438
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2015 10:39 pm

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by quantAndHold » Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:24 am

First thing I would do is turn up the thermostat. There’s no reason it needs to be at 72 when it’s 100 degrees outside. Do you have shades on all the windows to keep the sun out? Have you closed off rooms you’re not using so that you don’t have to cool them?

For what you’re describing, $4000 sounds typical, but I would get multiple bids.

I would also consider getting some bids for solar.

User avatar
RickBoglehead
Posts: 3198
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:10 am

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by RickBoglehead » Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:48 am

Get multiple bids.

Go in the attic yourself and look. Measure what you have, and lookup the R-Value of it.

Realize that an "insulation man" is probably a glorified salesperson, or perhaps not even glorified.
Avid user of forums on variety of interests-financial, home brewing, F-150, PHEV, home repair, etc. Enjoy learning & passing on knowledge. It's PRINCIPAL, not PRINCIPLE. I ADVISE you to seek ADVICE.

Atgard
Posts: 418
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2014 2:02 pm

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by Atgard » Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:50 am

REALLY hard to say. Where do you live? Cooling vs. heating costs can be much different. Do you have natural gas, or just electric? Do you have a pool? How many people live in the house? What do you like to set the thermostat at? Etc.

All that said, with pretty good insulation & energy efficiency, and setting the thermostat higher than most in the summer, I stay a little under 7% in the South Florida summers, and well under in the winters. Most people around here are well over 7% in the summertime.

User avatar
TierArtz
Posts: 257
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2017 10:33 pm

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by TierArtz » Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:03 am

We are at 8%. We'd likely be at 7% or less if we did not have to filter a pool (money pit). The summer peak is right at $500. Our home has had an energy assessment and was deemed very "tight". Thanks to Costco pricing, all lights are now LED.

jminv
Posts: 897
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:58 pm

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by jminv » Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:09 am

Hulk wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:08 am
Nate79 wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:37 pm
What is the climate like in the summer? How were you running the AC? Do you have any other big energy items? How old is the AC system?
I am in a very hot state with long and hot summers often over 100 degrees F. 7% is what I was quoted by the insulation man, maybe he was quoting average rates for my location but regarless I am paying way more that that. Some months more than 12%!

We kept our AC around 72 or so. We have a pool but dont heat it, got rid of a garage fridge we dont use. Windows are double pane.

2 AC units, one is a 2016 4 ton I think. The other is a 2006 that apparently had parts replaced in 2012, not sure how efficiently it is running.

Insulation man said the attic insulation was inadequate. Needs much more insulation (up to 12 inches) and more uniform coverage (several spots with nothing). Also, apparently a remodel job done by former owner is contributing to the problem. Ceiling lights were not sealed, just dropped so losing a lot there.

Bottom line, he can get the insulation improved and the house more efficient for $4,1000 :shock: If is actually saves me $200/mo then great its a 3-4 year break even and probably worth it. Just want to be sure it will actually improve the situation and to what degree.
The insulation man is not going to save you $200 a month on your power bills. Probably more like $50 to maybe up to $75. This is from my own experience in a similar area and also from the government's guidelines. You'll get more if this includes a real radiant barrier but I don't think it does given the pricing. Blow in insulation is very easy to do yourself which can get you a nice ROI. Transport or have it shipped from home depot to your home, the machine is either free to rent with insulation purchase or marginal cost, and 2 hours to blow it all in. Regardless of whether you do it yourself or have someone do it, there are often insulation rebates through the utility/city that can defray part of the cost so check on that. You might also want to put in a solar exhaust fan in the attic for the summer to keep the temperature in the attic lower. Couple hundred dollars installed.

You will also need to increase the interior temperature during the summer to get to the savings you would like.

What is the timing schedule on your pool pump? Is it a variable speed drive? You don't have to run it 24 hours a day and you can usually run it at a lower speed too to save on power. Lot of utilities in hot states have incentives to replace a single or dual speed pump with a VSD one. If you have a single speed pump and are running it 12 hours a day, you can easily spend $100 a month on it or more depending on HP. If you PM me the model number and how frequently you run it (and what speed you're running it at if it's not single speed), I can tell you how much power it's consuming per month.

Some utilities offer rebates on smart thermostats. It can be interesting when the rebate is paired with a yearly utility discount for agreeing to be load shed once or twice a year (and you can normally cancel the load shedding when it does occur), payback when it includes a yearly payment like that and not assuming any energy savings is 5 years or less. A smart thermostat that has room sensors can make the inside of your home more comfortable in the room that you're in (as it varies throughout the home), which can also save you money on power.

You should probably get an energy audit if it's offered for free by your city/utililty. This might help you target your efforts and understand how much you can save doing various things. You might not have known the pool pump might be an issue, for example.

jharkin
Posts: 2249
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:14 am
Location: Boston suburbs

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by jharkin » Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:13 am

How can the bill in DOLLARS be 7% of the square FOOTAGE ?

Consider all the variables:
* Electricity rates are all over the map. I pay something like 20~25 cents a kWH in New England (generation+delivery), some parts of the south and midwest pay less than half that... Hawaii and Alaska pay a LOT more
* Whether or not the home uses electic heat or central AC make a HUGE impact
* And if you do have electric heat or AC the insulation level of the house, sun exposure and windows, climate, and efficiency of the equipment (if its heat pump), and how you set the thermostat all make a big difference
* Whether or not the home uses electric hot water heater makes a big impact.
* Other large electric loads like dryers, ovens
* How many people live in the house, how many big screen TVs you have, how many teenagers playing video games for hours, etc

I could cram a lot of people into a small old inefficient house in an area with expensive electricty and be WAY over that rule. Or pout a miserly elderly couple that sets the tstat to 60F and doesnt even own a TV in a giant super insulated McMansion in Texas and be way under.

So many factors, this rule of thumb seems pointless.........

Texanbybirth
Posts: 1137
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2015 12:07 pm

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by Texanbybirth » Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:29 am

2500 sq ft, summer can be close to $250 for Jul-Sep, and winter as low as $20 for several months.

7% seems completely silly.
"Knowledge and innocence are both excellent things, and they are both very funny. But it is right that knowledge should be the servant and innocence the master." - GK Chesterton

GAAP
Posts: 854
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2016 12:41 pm

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

Post by GAAP » Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:33 am

Depends a great deal on local utility rates, not just house efficiency...

Post Reply