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How does your home's energy usage compare?

Post in 'The Green Room' started by semipro, May 20, 2013.

  1. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Highbeam: I varied my wood usage a good bit, and my score held strong at 0.3, either way. Maybe it hates electric use more than wood? <>

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  2. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    I don't think there is any bias against wood. I used a "standard" house at 1500 sq ft and then ran the numbers assuming only wood at 3.25 cords oak, what our house would use if we burned oak, 3400 lbs/cord, 6050 btu/lb available heat. The program requires some use of electricity, so I put in 1 kwh/mo. The number was 9.9.

    Then I assumed only electricity at 325 kwh/mo, 3900 kwh total for a year, which is the available btu/equivalent of 3.25 cords of oak. The number again was 9.9.

    Then I assumed LP at 100,000 btu/gal for equivalent btu use, also 1 kwh/mo electric. The number was 10.0, and the difference is not significant and probably a result of rounding.
  3. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    Guess I didn't experiment enough.
  4. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    5.3 here.
  5. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Keep an eye on it, there's more going on in this black box than we can see. I suppose that's why it is called a black box.

    Just got my last month's electric bill. 34.8 kwh per day actually up 1.5 kwh from last year despite warmer temps for the month.
  6. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    electric clothes dryer?
  7. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Yes, and cycles on and off at 23 amps as it runs as it should. Moisture sensor and with a HE front loader, the clothes going in are spun damp.

    I've been researching energy consumption meters such as The Energy Detective. About 200$ and you can log the house's use. Each appliance has a signature amperage draw so it wouldn't be too hard to figure out what is cycling.

    Taking advantage of the free PSE fridge program on Friday. The power company will replace your fridge for free if it is 1992 or older.
  8. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    We had a contactor in our HVAC go bad which energized one of the resistive backup elements 24/7. I noticed heat coming up through one of our floor vents when the system was off.
    Our power bill sure spiked that month.
  9. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Same here.
    Maybe its your doorbell transformer. ;)
    Seriously, I wish I could find that little bugger in our house so I could disconnect it. Can't remember the last time someone used the doorbell.
  10. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    My house is from 1963 when they didn't install doorbells I guess.
  11. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    This is interesting to me, why 1992? Did they change to R134a from R12 then? Even though R12 is more efficient at moving heat, but much worse for the ozone.

    I've been in some old apartment buildings where they used pnumatic door bells. The "button" is a bellows and a little hose go to the bell in the apartment. From the 60s I'd guess, but man I wish I could find something as elegantly simple as that now, that wasn't made in China.

    TS
  12. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    If I hadn't of had the whole house electricity monitor I don't know how long it would have been before I found out the check valve down on the submersible pump had rotted. The pump would pump up the bladder, shut off and the water would immediately drain back down into the well. Electric use went nuts for two days and I went hunting and found it.
    PapaDave likes this.
  13. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    No idea. It's a sweet deal though. In fact, worth buying a crappy old refer off CL to qualify. A 1992 model is dang old, 21 years, maybe they were going for "20 YO" models.
  14. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Wish somebody would trade a new one for my 1985 one. ;lol
  15. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    I just find it interesting, when we were paying $0.17/kWh it cost me just over $10 / month to run my garage sale side-by side manufactured in 1995. At $120 of electricity a year and it's less now that our rate dropped to 0.147/kWh, I can't see much savings by junking a perfectly good food cooler, with working ice maker. The throwing out of appliances because they are outdated seems way more wasteful to me than burning up a few more kW until their useful life is actually done, then buying a more "efficient" one. I just can't stand the thought of throwing something aways that still works, and well. Less than $10/month is not an energy hog IMHO. The energystar website's calculator says my fridge used alot more kWh than it actually does as measure with Kill-A-Watt meter, which I know is reasonably accurate as I tested it with several known loads for weeks.

    TS
  16. pdf27

    pdf27 Member

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    Depends on the price of electricity - I'm paying $0.30/kWh. It's also probable that being in a garage in Maine your fridge has significantly cooler ambient temperatures than say one in a kitchen in Texas. Energy Star will be calculating an average for the entire country, probably based on an ambient of 70F for the entire year. Both will make an enormous difference to how quickly a replacement fridge will pay for itself.
  17. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Bummer, no free fridge. The man came and claimed I needed an R-12 fridge to qualify and mine is R-134. I could have told him that and saved lots of time. Since we had the old fridge cleaned out and its compressor was clanking on shutdown I replaced it with a new e-star unit last night on my nickel.

    I went out to see how fast it made the meter spin and by golly, I have a brand new meter. We had called the power company to ask about why our bill was so high and they had no idea. Bam, new meter. Funny huh? Anyway, this new one is all digital and I am dating the install on the meter to log daily use. It is so much easier to read than those dial types. Too bad they buggered up the rubber meter gasket so I'll have to cut their tag.

    The new fridge uses less than one amp so about 100 watts when running. Freaking weird. The tag claims 6 amps but that is surely during defrost.and maybe when the ice maker (I don't have) is fired up.
  18. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    Never said my fridge is in the garage, it's in my kitchen. Conditioned space, about 12' from the wood stove so I'd think it does have to "work harder" at removing the heat from it's internal space.

    According to the DOE in the US the average electric rate is $0.107 and I measured my fridge (in conditioned space) at $0.17/kWh, don't remember what the actual useage was it was a couple of years ago. I was just interested in the $$$ number.

    TS
  19. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    The fridge may have a defrost heating element in it, the amperage listing is for the MAX amperage (used for sizing the circuit). Generally any houshold refridgertion compressor is 150W or less.

    TS
  20. TradEddie

    TradEddie Minister of Fire

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    I had the exact same problem last September, my electricity bill was way higher than usual, higher than July or August, but I put it down to visitors in the house taking long showers or blasting the a/c instead of opening the windows. Then Hurricane Sandy hit and when the power went out I soon realized that the water pressure was lost immediately, and when power came back I couldn't get up to pressure at all. The next day, as I'm calling the well contractor, I open my October electricity bill...

    It probably cost me $200 in electricity, some huge loss of pump life, in addition to the cost of digging up my garden to replace the pitiless adapter. Who the hell thought is was a good idea to bury brass fittings in acidic soil to carry acidic water?

    Anyway 5.2 was my score with consumption figures from memory.

    TE
  21. TradEddie

    TradEddie Minister of Fire

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    You see, that's just cheating! The only way we Americans (now that I've become one) can believe ourselves to be remotely energy efficient is by comparing with ourselves!

    I like to pretend that four people in my 2200sqft house on one acre of land, 5 miles from the nearest store, kept at 20C/72F year round is energy efficient because I have a wood stove that I light a few weekends a year... never mind the two cars with 3.5L engines...

    If I was paying the electricity or petrol prices I paid in England, we'd have much shorter showers and a much warmer house in summer, but I couldn't give up the volume pedal on my car!

    TE
  22. pdf27

    pdf27 Member

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    Yep, seen all that (my in-laws are from the NJ/PA border). When they were over 18 months or so ago you could tell what rooms they had been in by lights on, etc.

    I try to be energy-efficient, but the reality is that most of my lifestyle choices which end up saving energy aren't really for that reason. The new gas boiler was fitted because the old one was dilapidated and in the wrong place, not to burn less gas. Likewise with the extra insulation and probably new triple-glazed windows next year - my wife feels the cold badly. Solar hot water and PV, when it goes in (probably over the winter!) will be as much a toy and an investment as to be eco-friendly. 80% of my commuting, on average, is by bicycle for ~10 miles a day - saving money on diesel and gym membership is the main motivation there. The wood stove (couple of months time) will be as much for the ambience and ability to keep one room really warm as anything else.

    Prices for comparison:
    Natural Gas: $2.32 / Therm
    Electricity: $0.26 / kWh
    Gas (Petrol): $7.95 / Gallon
    Heating Oil: $3.36 / Gallon
  23. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    The difference between your petrol price and your heating oil price tells the real story. Your high energy prices are due to optional taxes placed onto you by your lords. The side effect is conservation.
    BoilerMan and Joful like this.
  24. Where2

    Where2 Member

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    In America, you can get vehicles with something smaller than a 3.5L engine. Every vehicle I own has less than a 2L engine. Two get 40+MPG on the highway and have enough torque to spin 225/45/R17 Continental ProContact tires. The third car will do 140MPH flat out and 0-60 in 7.5 seconds. All three were designed in Germany and have forced induction.
    BoilerMan likes this.
  25. pdf27

    pdf27 Member

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    Indeed, although the fact that petrol taxes are high doesn't tell the whole story as taxation is distributed differently. Property taxes, for instance, are radically less than US ones are (mine is ~$1,800/year on a ~$400,000 house in a fairly nice area with lots of schools), while income taxes are a little higher and VAT (~sales tax) is 20%. As a fraction of the economy government spending is slightly higher, but on current trajectories will go below that of the US by about 2020. Per capita government healthcare system is, for instance, already higher in the US than UK.

    And conservation isn't so much a side-effect as a deliberate policy decision to use taxation to shape consumption. This is also shaped by the nature of the country - travelling from place to place takes a LOT longer by car in the UK than the same distance would in the US, largely caused by a mixture of dense population and small roads. That seems to be working fairly well - cars are significantly newer, smaller and more efficient relative to size than they were a few years ago, with I think people driving fewer miles as well.

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