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Re: heating bills
Old 10-07-2005, 07:43 PM   #41
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Re: heating bills

Whenever I buy a new (old) house, I like to get the previous owners' energy usage and see how much better I can do. It's amazing to me how many holes and drafts people live with...watching their money pour out into the cold Wisconsin air. I'm now in a 1200 ft2 townhouse and worst month (last Jan) was about $110 worth of nat. gas. Average monthly is around $50. But then, it's just me (rooms shut off etc). *But, since I keep my income low, I qualify for energy assistance, which will pay most of my heat bill this year -ha!). feel free to flame me for that (it's kinda cold in here anyway). But it's nice to see some of my old tax dollars come back to me (or wherever it come from --I'll take it, I'm cheap.

I wonder at what point electricity (even with a space heater) becomes cheaper? I'm @ 6.5 cents/KWH. If nat. gas increases by (they say) 70%...(?)

If I were to stay here in the arctic north, I'd build a small energy-efficient house with a masonry heater in the center and near a source of cheap wood. But a better plan might be to beat the rush to some sunny spot in the tropics...........

-m
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Re: heating bills
Old 10-07-2005, 07:54 PM   #42
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Re: heating bills

Heating bill It's still in mid-90's here in Phoenix.
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Re: heating bills
Old 10-07-2005, 08:03 PM   #43
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Re: heating bills

Quote:
Originally Posted by ((^+^)) SG
Heating bill It's still in mid-90's here in Phoenix.
It was hot here last week-end, rained 6 inches Tuesday and there were reports of snow flakes flying here yesterday in Minnesota, the heats on now....what a country...
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Re: heating bills
Old 10-07-2005, 08:27 PM   #44
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Re: heating bills

Quote:
Originally Posted by justin
You are correct.* Japan is the place to go for fancy toilet seat gadgets.* Heat, massage, remote control, radios, wind, and the list goes on.* Why?* Don't ask me!
Yep I just turned up the heat on my toilet seat last week.

Water massage on the pooper is good once you get used to the ah "sensation". *Plus no need to wipe.

Wind is worthless unless you have 5 minutes to dry your pooper.

Radio is so yesterday. Now its TV.

The remote model is just to wall mount with no wires.

Why? Why not.
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Re: heating bills
Old 10-07-2005, 11:40 PM   #45
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Re: heating bills

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanTien
It was hot here last week-end, rained 6 inches Tuesday and there were reports of snow flakes flying here yesterday in Minnesota, the heats on now....what a country...
Dan: Today at approximately 12:45PM the first snowflake hit my . . . um . . . bald spot. I DO believe I may be the first (US citizen) on this board to experience first-hand snow this fall. Tomorrow I close the storm windows and start 'the process.' I'm all excited about my brand new top-of-the-line Honda, 10 hp, thirty inch snowblower w/ a key, electric light(s), electric starter, hydrostatic transmission, and tracks instead of wheels so manuvering on ice is easier. I'm also going to clear some evergreen branches in the backyard so that I have some new holes to aim snow at. I need the extra room just in case we get more than ten feet this winter. Last year I ran out of space in our yard. Should be fun. DW's job tomorrow is getting out the winter clothes.

Do you remember the 'snow emergencies' we used to have in the good old days when you could ride your snowmoble on the city streets for a couple of days until the plows got unburied and cleared the streets?

REW: When our roof on the garage collapsed a few years ago, it was all my fault and not a random act. I knew the roof supports were poorly constructed and should have shoveled the snow off beforehand. I should have known the exact timing too .

--Greg
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Re: heating bills
Old 10-07-2005, 11:58 PM   #46
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Re: heating bills

Sorry to correct you Greg, but I think I was the first here to have a close encounter with snow this year. We had 6 inches in the mountains and it was snowing where I work for a short while. It was 70 today but we are expecting more snow Sunday.

I am having snowblower envy with your machine. I have a 10hp Ariens with a 28 inch width with drift cutters for the cabin. It is at 8000 ft. and gets a ton of snow each year. My drive way is 120 feet long so it takes a while to clear out 3-4 feet of snow. The wheels have chains but treads sound like a great improvement.

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Re: heating bills
Old 10-08-2005, 12:01 AM   #47
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Re: heating bills

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apocalypse . . .um . . .SOON
. . .Tomorrow I close the storm windows and start 'the process.'* * I'm all excited about my brand new top-of-the-line Honda, 10 hp, thirty inch snowblower w/ a key, electric light(s), electric starter, hydrostatic transmission, and tracks instead of wheels so manuvering on ice is easier.* *I'm also going to clear some evergreen branches in the backyard so that I have some new holes to aim snow at.* I need the extra room just in case we get more than ten feet this winter.* Last year I ran out of space in our yard.* Should be* fun.* DW's job tomorrow is getting out the winter clothes.*

. . .
Winterizing is starting here in Phoenix too. *I chose my denim hat instead of my straw hat when I went jogging along the canal this morning. *This evening I switched my dark sunglasses for my less-dark pair in my truck. *Within a month or so, I'll be switching from short- to long-sleve shirts . . . and to long pants. *Some of my neighbors have scalped their lawns and planted winter grass. *And I cut back on my flood irrigation from 1.5 hours to 1 hour every 15 days. *
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Re: heating bills
Old 10-08-2005, 12:04 AM   #48
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Re: heating bills

Why? I have radiator heat and I use a honeywell programable thermostat. It works pretty well.
--MJ

Our old house only has insulation in the attic. The walls are about 12-14 inch thick brick with no insulation. I had the energy guy from the power company visit us when we first moved here. He said the same thing others have said, a programable thermostat basically won't save much, if any, money in our zone. I did caulk all the windows. You are basically fighting a battle about six inches deep in the brick, keeping the inside bricks warm. On a very cold night, if I turned down the heat at about 9PM, it would need to come back on about 2-3AM in order to rewarm the house by 6AM. He said it wasn't worth the time and effort to fiddle around learning different timing patterns dependent on differing temperatures. He said just try to lower the temp by one or two degrees and adjust your expectations. I'm still working on the DW's expectations. I now have a serious pocketbook argument.

--Greg
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Re: heating bills
Old 10-08-2005, 12:05 AM   #49
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Re: heating bills

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveR
Sorry to correct you Greg, but I think I was the first here to have a close encounter with snow this year. We had 6 inches in the mountains and it was snowing where I work for a short while. It was 70 today but we are expecting more snow Sunday.

I am having snowblower envy with your machine. I have a 10hp Ariens with a 28 inch width with drift cutters for the cabin. It is at 8000 ft. and gets a ton of snow each year. My drive way is 120 feet long so it takes a while to clear out 3-4 feet of snow. The wheels have chains but treads sound like a great improvement.

Dang! Luck you. Did any hit you on the bald spot head?

I don't need no stinkin drift cutters. If the snow is that deep, I send DW out ahead of me with a pole to find the edge of the sidewalk and a shovel to do fancy beveled trim work. She functions like a router. If she does a good job, I let her make a snow angel afterward. Sometimes I help.

--Greg
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Re: heating bills
Old 10-08-2005, 12:29 AM   #50
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Re: heating bills

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apocalypse . . .um . . .SOON
I'm all excited about my brand new top-of-the-line Honda, 10 hp, thirty inch snowblower w/ a key, electric light(s), electric starter, hydrostatic transmission, and tracks instead of wheels so manuvering on ice is easier. I'm also going to clear some evergreen branches in the backyard so that I have some new holes to aim snow at. I need the extra room just in case we get more than ten feet this winter. Last year I ran out of space in our yard. Should be fun.--Greg
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveR
I am having snowblower envy with your machine. I have a 10hp Ariens with a 28 inch width with drift cutters for the cabin. It is at 8000 ft. and gets a ton of snow each year. My drive way is 120 feet long so it takes a while to clear out 3-4 feet of snow. The wheels have chains but treads sound like a great improvement.
Dang it you guys - mine's, only 5.5 incheshp - my wife calls it Toro, I call it my little friend.....You guys must really get a lot of throw with your equipment. I have to eventually shovel the top of the snowbanks in a good snow year inorder to continue clearing....
Greg - it's cool when the world comes to a stop after a really good snow...kids listening to the radio for school closings and me for work closing...well, not anymore
SteveR - 120 feet? Man you need a plow!
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Re: heating bills
Old 10-08-2005, 12:34 AM   #51
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Re: heating bills

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apocalypse . . .um . . .SOON
If she does a good job, I let her make a snow angel afterward. Sometimes I help.

--Greg
How many angels do you make....oh I think I understand what you said...
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Re: heating bills
Old 10-08-2005, 12:58 AM   #52
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Re: heating bills

First job out of grad school was Owens-Corning and got some decent experience on myths about heat loss. A memory now but here are some highlights:

Set back thermostats are obvious but window-door replacement versus other things to do is not so obvious.

Air infiltration is usually the biggest culprit. R40 walls and gas back-filled low E glass won't do didly without a properly sealed house, especially if your winters have much wind. Ceilings and basements often have more convective losses than leaks around windows and doors, which most people don't realize. A blower door test is a great way to find out. Here is a DOE link that might help:

http://www.eere.energy.gov/weatheriz...ower_door.html

Some other good links on the site. I'm sure there is other info out there. I built a superinsulated home back in NY in 1988 (about a third of it myself). R40walls/R60ceilings with thermal breaks, Techy glass, sealed to less than something like 1/15th air change/hr, special heat exchange unit to get controlled air changes, ultra-efficiency furnace, and a whole house humidifier and air-filtration. Sounds complex but not that difficult to do on new home construction. Heating-cooling bill was next to nothing and you didn't have to do the whole solar orientation thing. Very comfortable house. I suspect this technology will come back into vogue. The Swedes have been building like this for decades.

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Re: heating bills
Old 10-08-2005, 04:38 AM   #53
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Re: heating bills

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanTien
Dang it you guys - mine's, only 5.5 incheshp - my wife calls it Toro, I* call it my little friend.....You guys must really get a lot of throw with your equipment. I have to eventually shovel the top of the snowbanks in a good snow year inorder to continue clearing....
Greg - it's cool when the world comes to a stop after a really good snow...kids listening to the radio for school closings and me for work closing...well, not anymore*
SteveR - 120 feet? Man you need a plow!
I have not owned a snowblower since 1997. Don't plan to buy another.
Just drive over it with 4 X 4s. Mother Nature put it there and she will
take it away. Worked every time so far. Snowblower?............
We don't need no stiiiiiiinking snowblower

JG
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Re: heating bills
Old 10-08-2005, 07:07 AM   #54
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Re: heating bills

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apocalypse . . .um . . .SOON
Why? I have radiator heat and I use a honeywell programable thermostat. It works pretty well.
--MJ

Our old house only has insulation in the attic. The walls are about 12-14 inch thick brick with no insulation. I had the energy guy from the power company visit us when we first moved here. He said the same thing others have said, a programable thermostat basically won't save much, if any, money in our zone. I did caulk all the windows. You are basically fighting a battle about six inches deep in the brick, keeping the inside bricks warm. On a very cold night, if I turned down the heat at about 9PM, it would need to come back on about 2-3AM in order to rewarm the house by 6AM. He said it wasn't worth the time and effort to fiddle around learning different timing patterns dependent on differing temperatures. He said just try to lower the temp by one or two degrees and adjust your expectations. I'm still working on the DW's expectations. I now have a serious pocketbook argument.

--Greg
I got it.
Although my timing is different, I have the same problem. Since I have a 2 fam house, I can't lower the temp without my tenant complaining. I don't mind fidling with the thermostat to get the best efficiency. I hope I am saving some money.
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Re: heating bills
Old 10-08-2005, 07:57 AM   #55
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Re: heating bills

Quote:
Originally Posted by LL
I am really cheap when it comes to heating the house.

I haven't turned my heater on for three years. I find that my electric bill is just about the same each month of the year: low. Granted, I lived in Oregon, where it doesn't get nearly as cold as much of the rest of the country.
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Re: heating bills
Old 10-08-2005, 08:03 AM   #56
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Re: heating bills

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ
I got it.
Although my timing is different, I have the same problem. Since I have a 2 fam house, I can't lower the temp without my tenant complaining. I don't mind fidling with the thermostat to get the best efficiency. I hope I am saving some money.
Those multi-family units with one thermostat are murder. *I once tried to buy a 16 unit (Man, it was beautiful) where the live-in manager
had control of the heat for the entire building. *Sometimes in the winter
a tenant or several might think it was too hot. *Their solution was to just open their patio doors. *As I recall that is what mainly scared me
off.

Closer to home, DW used to live in a 5 unit she owned with a former
SO. *Like me, he tried to make it until Thanksgiving before turning on the heat. *She would secretly ask a tenant to complain which usually
did the trick *

JG
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Re: heating bills
Old 10-08-2005, 10:32 AM   #57
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Re: heating bills

In our ~2500 sq ft house with electric heat pump in coastal South Carolina, we average $120/month for electricity (till now-). Worst month was one January ~$180. Worst summer month was $145. We like to sleep in a cool room, so set the temp at night to 75 in summer and 60 in winter. In the daytime, normally 76 in summer and 68 in winter. I'm home most of the time so we didn't bother getting programmable thermostats. We also use our ceiling fans much of the time in summer. The house is 3 years old and pretty well insulated and tight.

We used to live in a San Francisco condo. Basically, air conditioning meant open the windows and heating meant close the windows
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Re: heating bills
Old 10-08-2005, 11:55 AM   #58
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Re: heating bills

I'm in California and it rarely gets below the high 30s in the winter here; more like the low 40s.

My house is 1.5 years old and I had extra insulation added when it was built. I think it's paying off too.
So far I'm averaging 102.00 a month for both natural gas and electric. The gas is about 40 of that but it includes the heater, hot water heater, clothes dryer and cooking gas.

I keep the heat about 70 in the winter and the air condition at 78 or higher in the summer.

I shut off the heater/cooler at night and turn on in the morning if it's needed. Does this actually put a greater strain on the system than programming it to stay within certain temperatures? I've wondered if it would be more efficient to program it.
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Re: heating bills
Old 10-08-2005, 01:41 PM   #59
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Re: heating bills

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Originally Posted by KB
I'm in California and it rarely gets below the high 30s in the winter here; more like the low 40s.

My house is 1.5 years old and I had extra insulation added when it was built. I think it's paying off too.
So far I'm averaging 102.00 a month for both natural gas and electric. The gas is about 40 of that but it includes the heater, hot water heater, clothes dryer and cooking gas.

I keep the heat about 70 in the winter and the air condition at 78 or higher in the summer.

I shut off the heater/cooler at night and turn on in the morning if it's needed. Does this actually put a greater strain on the system than programming it to stay within certain temperatures? I've wondered if it would be more efficient to program it.
I'm certainly not an expert but . . . . If you have a forced air system which I assume you have, you really don't have too much to worry about other than the cycling electric motor. Too much cycling may wear your motor out early, but I think that they are built to last for quite a while. Most fridges, which have a smaller motor and cycle on-off quite a bit, often last more than ten years. The forced air motors are the sacrificial part of your furnace/air conditioner--most likely to wear out first. I suspect you should probably just keep doing what you've done in the past. A programable thermostat, to my mind and in your case, adds an unjustifiable new complexity of replacing your current thermostat, programing it, and monitoring the batteries that it requires. Given a clear and simple choice, I like to fiddle manually as need be rather than having things on automatic. 8) Don't forget to oil your motor at least once/year. Too many people forget to do this and--I think--burn out their motors way too early. Now is the time.

--Greg
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Re: heating bills
Old 10-08-2005, 02:57 PM   #60
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Re: heating bills

Sealed buildings are great BUT you need to watch humidity.* A building needs to breathe OUT to expire the moisture generated by heating and human occupation.* Failure to account for that is the primary cause of the dry rot many are seeing in buildings (and perhaps contributing to molds).

Hubby and I had a condo in Sunriver (near Bend, OR) before the micoporus membranes for construction were developed.* The weather there is very cold in the winter, warm and dry in the summer.* It had an appliance that de-humidified in the winter, humidified in the summer.*
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