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Electric utility cost in southeastern PA

Post in 'The Green Room' started by Ashful, Jun 6, 2013.

  1. Ashful

    Ashful Minister of Fire

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    Yikes! I thought I was burning some electrons! You must have some form of electric heating?

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  2. Hearth Mistress

    Hearth Mistress Minister of Fire

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    You can always install light switches that have motion sensors on them. My boss put them in his house after he was sick of his wife and kids always leaving the lights on all the time. http://www.amazon.com/GE-57884-Motion-Sensing-Switch/dp/B0006JMNJ6

    I have a few of those curly cue bulbs and hate them. I have tried several different brands, they hum when they are on and make me crazy. I have very sensitive hearing (and perfect pitch) so back to the old bulbs on the lamps near the sofa and bed ;)
    firebroad and Ashful like this.
  3. Laszlo

    Laszlo Member

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    Yes, electric hot water and an ASHP. Not always the best climate for a heat pump, especially in January (which used to be a 5K month for us). But then again, we've never had to refill an oil tank like most of our neighbors.
  4. TradEddie

    TradEddie Minister of Fire

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    I just bought my first Cree LEDs, and I tried them first in my most difficult room, a downstairs powder room with no natural light, obvious need for instant-on, and with colors that many incandescent bulbs make sickly. I was immediately impressed. Even nicer is the immediate benefit of not walking into a sauna when the kids leave the lights on and close the door. Those Cree bulbs will be my first choice from now on, I can't fault the color, and if they last a year, they've paid for themselves.

    TE
    Ashful likes this.
  5. Ashful

    Ashful Minister of Fire

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    I'm thinking of trying some for exterior floods, as that's my biggest lighting load, and one of the few where the physical appearance of the LED bulb isn't a major detractor. Can't really use those things in shallow can lights, where the bulb lens is flush with the surround, unless they made a "shallow" PAR38 version to hide the bulb body up inside the can better.
  6. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    For can lights with fixed bulbs I tossed the existing trim and used these. They are HD brand but made by Cree (the actual bulb has a Cree label), only difference is a shorter warranty and half the price. In a new install they are actually as cheap or cheaper than incandescent since the trim is integrated.

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/EcoSmart...D-Downlight-E-ECO-575L/202240932#.Uf-jYG0zJ8E

    For the cans on my sloped ceiling with eyeball trim I used these. Light is not quite as good as the Cree but still miles better than CFL. (price is for 2). These are made by Lighting Science group. If I were to do it again I might look at the new Philips BR30 also.

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/EcoSmart...ck-ECS-BR30-W27-FL-120/204108894#.Uf-j7m0zJ8E
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  7. Ashful

    Ashful Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for posting that, Jeremy. I'm going to have to check those out, next time I'm at the Depot.
  8. Ashful

    Ashful Minister of Fire

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    Oh... one question. How low can these things dim? Our kitchen separates one wing of the house from the other, so we're frequently passing thru it all evening long. We typically like to keep four of the cans in the kitchen dimmed VERY low, like barely glowing, just to keep enough light on the floor that we don't run into anything. I believe most of these LED's will flicker on a very low dim setting.

    Our kitchen is open to our great room, and although we don't spend a lot of time out there (we're mostly at the other end of the house in the evenings), there's thirty 45 watt cans in that space. That could add up to some serious energy savings, over time. Unfortunately, almost half of them are set into a cathedral ceiling, so I require "sloped recessed" trims.
  9. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    If they did blink, just replace the dimmer with a 'LED' rated one and it will be fine. I can get mine down as low as you describe, and they are both steady and light at that setting.
    Ashful likes this.
  10. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    If you like, I can take some photos tonight of the bulbs at full bright, half and full dim so you can get a sense of the color. I have both styles of bulb on dimmers.

    Let me know.
  11. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Just got a new recessed LED bulb to try in my kitchen. It was $15. TO my surprise its 18W and the old CFL was 15w . But it is at least twice as bright. Too bright for my taste.
  12. Ashful

    Ashful Minister of Fire

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    Thanks, Jeremy! Sure, if it's not too much trouble. However, after looking and not finding any with sloped surrounds, it looks like I'm back in the territory of a non-surround PAR38 form factor.
  13. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    At least you could probably dim it if you wanted to.
  14. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    The thing gets pretty hot too. I guess once you get up to 1000 lumens they start producing heat as well as light. THe xmas LED lights are not even warm.
  15. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Ok, these are the Home depot Branded Cree CR6s. 9.5w and to my eye brighter than the 65w incandescents we used to have.

    I tried my best to shoot without flash at low ISO to get the colors. There were no other lights on in the area so at full dim its pretty dark, but not as dark as appears in the photo. The color at full bright is very warm, at full dim they go more whitish, rather than reddish as incandescents do, but even at full dim that are warmer than a daylight bulb.

    Full dim on these bulbs is quite low.



    Full bright:
    IMG_2732.JPG IMG_2737.JPG
    Half:
    IMG_2733.JPG IMG_2736.JPG
    Full dim:
    IMG_2734.JPG IMG_2735.JPG
    Ashful likes this.
  16. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Next up are the Homedepot BR30s, made by Lighting Science Group. These are 15w and VERY bright. Brighter than CFLs and I think brighter than the old 65w incans. The color at full bright is decent, but not as nice as the Cree. they dont dim quite as low and the color does go a bit whiter at full dim.

    Full bright, with flash (L) and without flash (R):
    IMG_2728.JPG IMG_2729.JPG

    Half:
    IMG_2730.JPG
    Full dim:
    IMG_2731.JPG
    Ashful likes this.
  17. Ashful

    Ashful Minister of Fire

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    Awesome! Thanks, Jeremy! I always like getting a peek inside other old houses, as well. ;) Are those HD BR30's in your summer kitchen?
  18. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Yes, the BR30s are in our modern kitchen that is in the end of the ell that would have been a summer kitchen if the house had one. This house is really small however, and in this area There is no attic floor above so I suspect it may also have been a workshop or firewood storage area with access to the kitchen and up to the attic space. A couple of the museum houses at Sturbridge have a similar layout, at hte back of hte ell you go into a storage area that has a door into the ell kitchen, an a ladder up to the attic above the kitchen.

    I used to have a big photo thread on oldhouseweb with a lot of interior shots but its gone now.

    Totally off topic but you would appreciate it... whats driving us nuts here is that the most famous historic house in town just went on the market 5 minutes down the street. An 1802 center hall federal house with a massive rear addition, 3 chimneys, 6 rumfords, 3x the square footage and 2x the lot size as us...

    for only 80k more than this place is worth!!!! If only the kids where in school and my wife was back to work full time.............
  19. Ashful

    Ashful Minister of Fire

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    Oh, man... you gotta find a way to work that! Do you have any relationship with the seller? If you have plans for the wife to go back to work in the future, you might be able to work something out. The seller of our place, who was trying to sell us on an additional 7 acres surrounding our property, had made the offer to finance a portion of the cost for us for a few years.

    It's not a bad time to secure a new mortgage, if you can! A co-worker scored 2.75% on a 15-year fixed earlier this year, we got 3.375% in 2011. I have a good friend who owns a mortgage brokerage, if you're interested in talking numbers with someone.
  20. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Oh do I wish. I'm fairly sure the bank would approve us for the loan (we just refi'd our existing note from 4.75 down to 3.5 without issue), assuming I was able to sell this place simultaneously and roll the proceeds into a decent down payment. Thing is that the bigger note is more than I want to carry right now until I'm sure of when/how my wife will go back to work, etc. There would also be be a lot of other increased carrying costs with the new house - about $3k higher taxes and a huge utility hit - its much larger and all Oil :( vs natgas here. And we really need a bigger second car as well, plus the kids will be starting preschool next year (all private around here), and I'm not yet saving as much in their college fund as I'd like.

    The other thing is that I can see from the listing photos about 100k worth of obvious work Id want to do to it. The house has great bones and still maintains almost all the original detail but the low listing price for its size reflects the fact its desperately in need of updating - oil heat and hot water (but there is city gas on street), no woodstove, ancient coil electric stove and other dated appliances. No garage. No patio. 60s kitchen and lots of dated wallpaper. Probably needs a lot of electric work too and who knows if its ever been weatherized and insulated. Considering the time since it last sold there is a 50/50 chance the title V inspection will fail and require an all new septic (20k+ job in this market).... Bottom line, we would be starting from scratch again doing all the updates we put so much hard work into here (new entry doors, extensive interior repainting, starting the exterior repaint, full electric, insulation, all new appliances, new kitchen gas line&range, new exterior cedar fencing/lamps/mailbox, patio, roof repairs, new sump system and on and on)

    The final piece of the puzzle is that we figure this house will be hard to sell until we find a way to add a second bath to make it more market competitive. the 5-7 year plan is to finish up the kitchen updating and windows/exterior work while we save up, then either add a small half bath and sell - or decide to stay longer term and finance a bigger addition to add a master suite.
  21. Ashful

    Ashful Minister of Fire

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    It sounds like you have a solid plan, and where you are, there WILL be other nice old houses coming on the market when you're ready to make the move! I do know how hard it is to watch a place like that sell, though. I watched my aunt's 1692 farm house sell (actually in my family since 1692), as well as my father's house, both when I was too young to afford them. On the flip side, when I was ready to buy a big old house, I couldn't talk my uncle into selling his 1740 farm (or my wife into taking on such a big project). His place is 100% original, right down to the dust collecting in the corners. ;lol
  22. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    Just saw this one in my inbox: http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/cat...815_sbotd_2609145-_-sbotd_cta&et_rid=41286148
    Philips 9.5-Watt (65W) BR30 Indoor Flood Soft White (2700K) LED Light Bulb (4-Pack); $45
    Not sure if that is available everywhere but maybe you can check your HD. We have those in the kitchen and love them. Nice bright light, only a split-second delay when turned on and immediately full brightness.
  23. Ashful

    Ashful Minister of Fire

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    Came inside from mowing last night, and the house is like an oven. I ask the wife why, and she said our electric bill last month was off the charts (for reference, $400 has been "on the charts" many times before, so it must have been high), so she turned up the thermostat. I point out that she had, by my count, more than fifty x 50W floodlights plus two TV's turned on, on the first floor alone. She doesn't seem to understand that lights not only use energy, but that 2500W of lights plus two TV's going (no one was watching either) makes the AC work harder. Instead, she likes to think the fact that I have a window torn out (opening sealed with plywood and 6 mil polyethylene, while I rebuild the window), and the fact that I like to keep the joint cool, as the cause of the high electric bill.

    Not a major issue, as it's not going to bankrupt us, either way... but frustrating, nonetheless.
  24. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Whats the LUMEN output on those? EDIT: just checked the website ,its 650. thats probably about right as the one i just installed is 950 and its too dang bright. I took it back out and the wife put it back in. Id be happy with 650.
  25. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    Quite frankly, I don't make a science out of it. We got them for $5 a piece and they are much more convenient than our CFLs we had in before. The light is certainly great for a kitchen although I am sure I would not mind it in other places around the house if we would have more floodlights.

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