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Anyone else have a ridiculous electric bill?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Firenutz, Nov 11, 2009.

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  1. fataugie

    fataugie New Member

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    Western NY
    Back on topic...I used to. I'm hoping to fix that.

    We have electric heat. Ouch. The good news, we've had pretty cheap kWh cost, last month total delivery and supply cost worked out to $0.085 a kWh. Normally we have it in the range of $0.10 to $0.12 kWh.
    We've used up to 2950 kWh during a month in the dead of winter. And that's keeping the house at 65 with a set back going down to 62 over night and during the day while we're at work. BTW, try finding a setback thermostat for electric baseboard. It's like searching for hen teeth.

    I have only a month or two actually burning pellets, but already compared to last year my cost for heat is down. The design of the house allows for a pretty good flow of air from where the insert is located, so I should be able to really kick these bills back to something more reasonable.

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  2. mark d fellows

    mark d fellows New Member

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    I have a heat pump. That is about what we got in winter. 65 to 62. It costs us plenty with the high electric bills. I hated it. I like my house to be warm in the winter and now it is. My heating cost are looked in at fall for the winter season. Now the house is around 73 to 75 in the winter. cost me 800 for 2.6 tons which should last the winter. That is about 200.00 per month for 75 degrees versus >300 for 65 degrees. I choose the first option.

    Mark :)
  3. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    "So far it really only comes on at night." says Firenutz .

    Do you by any chance have your stove set to cycle on/off to answer a T-Stat ?

    If so that might account for some of it, but even at that I'd expect that stove to have a huge set of fans compared to anything I've seen.

    The single biggest culprit for 'tricity use in a house would be water heater where the hot water side plumbing drips all the time; a refrigerator that needs its gaskets replaced, is low on coolant, or is set too low; a freezer in the same situation, or a ton of incandescent lights on all the time. Also I should add that in some houses a dripping faucet also makes a well pump cycle a lot.
  4. seige101

    seige101 Minister of Fire

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    Also bet this was it. When you say it was not hot enough anymore, was it hot enough before? I would flush it out, sediment can severely reduce the capacity. You should do it at least once a year, more often if you have lots of minerals or sand in the water. On my well i have to do it every 6 months.
  5. CanadaClinker

    CanadaClinker New Member

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    see any good look'n pellets, er,seeds??? NWOntario
    Hey Scoop..... PM sent to ya..... .it's in a .pdf file attached......let me know how it works for ya..... cc.☺
  6. Firenutz

    Firenutz New Member

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    I did replace the vent cap on the top middle of the tank. The old one was heavily built up with deposits and black, nasty smelling. Is this any indication as to the condition of the tank?
  7. CanadaClinker

    CanadaClinker New Member

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    see any good look'n pellets, er,seeds??? NWOntario
    Usually at the top middle of the tank, there is a screw in cap which has an sacrificial 'anode' suspended from it. When the tank is new, it is usually about the diameter of a quarter and almost as tall as the tank. Its job is to sacrifice itself to corrosion rather than the outer wall of your tank. Over time it corrodes and falls into a sediment in the bottom of the tank. Thats why you should drain off some water about every 3 months to get rid of any sediment from this or your water supply.

    My experience is that once this anode has been consumed, you can expect a 'leaker' within about 3 years. In some areas where the water has a high alkaline reading, you can buy a tank with a polly liner ($$$) rather than metal.

    And yes, it smells when you remove that cap. That's why they say that a setting of 140 deg. is better than 120. Remember your are washing yourself and possibly consuming 'that hot water' every day..... I'd rather spend a little more $ (not very much more) on my hydro bill having the temp at 140 deg than chancing getting sick from bad water from your HW tank....you can save that $ by insulating the hot water pipes if they aren't already.........but that's just me..... cc .... ;-)
  8. gripper93

    gripper93 Member

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    If you use a water well check it to make sure the pump is not running all the time. This happened to me it took 3 months to figure it out. I had a hole in the line which made it run all the time. Besides that the electric company is raising rates. Wish I could raise my working rates when I wanted to.
  9. tjnamtiw

    tjnamtiw Minister of Fire

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    Checked the Kill-a-watt just now and after several weeks it says that it will cost $20.49 to run the tv and DVR per month. A sizeable sum and also surprising.
  10. tjnamtiw

    tjnamtiw Minister of Fire

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    That 'vent cap' might be all that is left of your anode!!!! Hot water and the anode react to form hydrogen sulfide gas if you have sulfur in your well.
  11. rowerwet

    rowerwet Minister of Fire

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    does your pellet stove have electric ignition? those little heat coils will suck a lot of juice to get up to the high temps they need to light the pellets with hot air (thinking of a PC45) 1200 degrees I think. doing this on a thermostat cycling on every so often= big power use. Also do you use electric heater in bathroom, you would start using it about the same time you would fire up the pellet stove.
    I just replace the quartz heater in the bathroom with a FHW baseboard plumbed into my OPB directly, waiting to see the savings in a month or so.
    The best electric bill we had here was $30 for this past June, a whole month of clouds and cool weather= no fans, no heat.
    My tankless hot water heater is rated at less than two watts mostly for the ignition (sparks like a gas stove) the fan uses very little watts.
    teaching my 5 yr old how to shut off lights, 7 yr old already is good about that, most of my house is CFL except dimmer circuits.
  12. Jakethepup

    Jakethepup New Member

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    I used my Kill A Watt meter and checked the following setting, but my insert is DC control so these number well be lower than your AC stove. Just plugged in not running, 5 watts, Stove charging the battery just plugged in not running, 15 watts. Start up, igniter 210 watts. Stove running on low speed fan 12 watts, on medium 16 watts, high 21 watts on high setting. This was a selling point when buying this stove, uses less energy.

    So in my case the most energy used is the igniter, and that only stays on about 6 to 8 minutes. But I have read here that some people igniter take more wattage while igniting. If you igniter is not turning off and staying on that would increase your energy consumption greatly.

    I highly recommend a kill a watt meter they are so handy, if anyone is interested in the Kill a Watt meter I would suggest the Kill A Watt EZ P3, the nice thing about this model it does not lose its memory if you unplug it from a outlet, which comes in real nice if you have it plugged in behind a refrigerator and the display is hard to read. I think this model is only like two dollars higher in price. There are limits to this meter it will only work on 120 volt ac with no more of a load than 15 amps, it will not work on 240 circuits. But it is a great little device to find all the vampires’ sucking up electric that you thought were turned off, everyone one needs one of these they are great.
  13. Skippydo

    Skippydo New Member

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    Butler, Pa
    I take the total amount of my monthly bill and divide by the KWH used.....that include taxes, distribution, etc. etc. etc.
    I am running at .085, .087 per month.
    That includes one upright freezer, one medium chest freezer, two 50 gallon hot water tanks, two refrigerators with side by side
    freezers (kitchen upstairs and one downstairs), water well, Pellet furnace with variable speed, electric baseboard heat in case I
    feel cold (on coumanin), three tv (wife has hers on 24 hours a day), plus all the fans, lights, dishwasher, double ovens, two electric
    stove tops, and I am sure I missed a few items.
    House is self built, and I believe that all new electric wiring has a lot to do with keeping the bill under control.
  14. imacman

    imacman Guest

    Yeah, I wish.....my local power company is currently at .16/kwh......that should make you feel even better that you don't live HERE.....and my company is one of the cheaper ones in this area!!

    Last bill for 2700sq. ft log home with all the usual electric things was $265 for 2 months, 1617 kw used. YIKES!!! >:-(
  15. teddy1971

    teddy1971 Member

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    Was that 1617kw per month or @ 808kw per month? I used to use 1500kw per month and pay @ $250 per month prior to going solar.
  16. imacman

    imacman Guest

    Yes, 808/month, 1617 total for 2 months. And that includes shutting off all computer equip. ea. night, and 90% of the bulbs in the house are CFL's.

    I gotta get/borrow a Kill A Watt and check my frig, though. It's 10+ years old (probably closer to 14).
  17. cac4

    cac4 New Member

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    just looked at my most recent electric bill, which lists the consumption for the last 11 months. looks like I average around 900kwh/month. Most expensive months: Jan and Feb...at around 1100. after that, the highest was August. (there was 1 week of really hot weather, that I can remember...a/c running alot for a week. also, we were away for a week, and I shut down the hot water heater during that time.). Cheapest: october, at 800. go figure.

    ~1800 sq foot house, although, I'm not sure if that is really pertinent; more likely, the number of people has more impact, I would think. (2 adults, 1 kid who leaves alot of lights on in his wake).

    house has electric hot water, electric dryer, and a well pump, too. furnace (not run too much anymore...got pellets!) is fha/oil...but also has a power vent, which ads a few more amps to the equation. (no chimney).

    On the fridge thing: There was an article in the Family Handyman recently that talked about electric appliances, and so-forth. they said that it makes sense to replace a >10 year old fridge, just for the electrical savings. apparently, they've made big strides in efficiency in just the last few years. Hard to believe...I guess it all depends on how much you pay per kwh. anyhoo...just thought I'd throw that out there.
  18. imacman

    imacman Guest

    yeah, I think I saw something like that before too. That's why I wanted to try the Kill A watt to see if it's really the frig or not. I have indirect oil fired hot water, gas dryer, no well pump, and 2 people living here.
  19. rowerwet

    rowerwet Minister of Fire

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    one other thought, is the power co changing the rate summer to winter? my sister in lake placid is on a co-op they get cheap rates when they are cheap and more expensive ones when wholesale is expensive, her bill can double or triple month to month. (from $10 to $40)
  20. Scoop

    Scoop New Member

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    Got your instructions. I'll try them ou
    t thanks
  21. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    macman,

    Get a switchable power strip for your computer/monitor/speakers etc. that way you can be certain to kill the juice. Most of those devices are ghost electricity suckers as is anything with a standby mode (TVs/some Irons etc ...) or a clock running on it. The rule I use is if it has a light you can see then it is a ghost load. He!! even those stupid GFCI with the little green leds. Oh yeah and hard wired smoke detectors and your door bell system.

    Those wall warts you use for charging your cell phone, shaver, whatever, are all electricity suckers.

    There are two people living here and we have a well pump, electric stove, high powered microwave, and a dishwasher and I'd totally flip out over an electrical bill that averaged 808 KWH usage for two months.

    Good luck.
  22. CanadaClinker

    CanadaClinker New Member

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    see any good look'n pellets, er,seeds??? NWOntario
    ......in my line of work in NW Ontario, I have looked at many customer's bills over the past 31 years. For myself, I had to come up with a system which looks for a reasonable 'per day' Kwhr usage for what was considered 'normal' for various types of buildings and heating. This is what I am still using today and seems to work well at finding Kwhr consumption that is excessive.

    *A small summer cottage used intermittently .... 0 to 20 Kwhr/day.

    *A normal sized house (not excessively huge) using ‘non electric’ heat such as Wood, gas, oil etc. ....20 to 45 Kwhr/day.

    *A normal sized house using 'some supplementary electric heat’ on top of their Wood, gas, oil etc. ... 45 to 90 Kwhr/day.

    *A normal sized house using 'mainly electric' heat.... 90 to 150 Kwhr/ day.

    ……….........Take your total Kwhr used over a period of time and divide it by the number of days in which the usage occurred.

    For example…..I have a supplementary form of electric heat which is a water source heat pump. In the previous 41 days, I have used on average 42 Kwhr/ day. The first 2/3 of that time period was fairly warm out so very seldom heating was required.

    Since yesterday at this time, I have used 61 Kwhr/day. It is much cooler now ( 32F and below). When winter really gets here, I average 93 Kwhr/day.

    Our hydro charge after all the smoke clears with delivery charges etc. is around $0.10 per Kwhr….. therefore since yesterday, I have spent $ 6.10 to run the house using the pellet stove in the evenings and heat-pump over night.

    Hydro rates ‘change over time’, but the thing that doesn’t change is the Kwhr. ………therefore, to help find excessive Kwhr consumption which is outside the ‘norm’ if you first look at your usage by looking at the Kwhr/day (and see how it fits into my daily values above ) ……then later apply the rate ($ per Kwhr), it helps to focus on the consumption first …which is better for tracking down say a deep well pump with a leak (found 2 of them for people among other weird things I have uncovered).

    Hope this will help some others to get a better feel for what is ‘normal usage’ and what is ‘excessive’…at least here in this part of the country where heating is more dominant than air conditioning…..of course in the lower climates you can maybe look at Air Conditioning like we look at supplementary heating…. Sorry for this being so wordy but electricity is a difficult subject to explain…… :cheese:
  23. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Ours breaks pretty evenly between heating and cooling over the year and if I used 90 KWH in this house in one day somebody either here or at the electric company would die! I have the daily usage numbers for the last three years and heating this 2,500 sq. ft. all electric barn and two people with wood we have averaged 23 KWH per day over that three years. That's with the wife's tv and dvr running 24/7 and three fridges.
  24. imacman

    imacman Guest

    Thanks Smokey for the ideas. unfortunately, I already have the computer/monitor, etc on a power strip that gets turned off when not in use, smoke detectors are all battery, all chargers get removed from socket when not in use, etc. We DO use the microwave a lot, and the stove/oven are electric too.

    And it's 808 for 1 month....1608 for two.
  25. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Yes, I know you had 808/month for 2 months making it a total of 1617 on your bimonthly bill. My usage for the period 11/08 to 11/09 billing cycles never exceeded 586 KWH/month. The 586 KWH month was due to brooding the baby chickens (250 watts/hr times 24 hrs = 6KWH/day) that are now pullets providing over a dozen eggs per day. The next highest month was 572 when we ran just a few holiday lights, then 552 when I was using the high heat and sanitize cycle on the dishwasher (yet another thing to check) during canning season. It was 386 KWH for the 11/08 cycle.

    I don't even want to contemplate a 90KWH day that CanadianClinker is talking about. The electrical rate including everything here was $0.153/KWH for the recent billing cycle.
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