Eletrical Usage Question

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
5,165
Downeast Maine
We're a family of 4 with the kids only being 5 and 3 so the bathing time is pretty standard. They get the usual and we get whatever we can whenever we can lol.

The primary heat system is a heat pump with auxiliary electric heat. The main reason I decided to go wood was to avoid using it. Ive had it set to 60 since its been cold and I've never seen the thermostat go below 62. With the stove running on a cold day it's usually 68-72 in the far rooms and 72-78 close by.

The lights are all LED inside so those don't concern me much but thats interesting about the water heater...that never crossed my mind. We just had it replaced about 3 months ago. Its just a basic AO Smith model, nothing fancy. But it is fairly cold in the basement as the stove is on the first floor. Maybe its chugging to keep the water warm? We have a well so its definitely cold water.
I'm not that much further north than you and I know our well water is definitely less than 40 df, especially in the winter. I suspect your "backup" heat is coming on more often than you think. Our first winter I had the baseboard heaters set to come on about 64df and turns out they would kick on before the stove stopped carrying the load due to the thermostat being on the other side of the room, behind a TV. It was only an hour or so a day, but it added up. I turned off the power to the heaters and thermostat and have noticed a reduction in use between our first winter and second winter. I actually never go around to putting them back in, especially since we never go anywhere.
 

Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
1,588
Woolwich nj
Unfortunately we are paying just shy of $0.23 per kWh and the entire house is electric so it sucks. I have two kids under 6 and a giant dog who are all energy hogs! Baths, never ending laundry, AC for the dog, well, wife working from home etc. It adds up. Normal bills for us are $200-$250 then more like $300-$350 during summer AC months.

I can stomach those numbers knowing that we use a lot and our rates are stupid high but the winter bills should be lower than the AC month bills. The stove burns 24/7 and its nice and toasty inside. Shes cruising along at 550 degrees on some nice maple and it's 72 as we speak!
I was in the same boat as you when I purchased my home back in 2004. All electric.. well, stove everything except heat which was an oil fired boiler.. I took a little time to make the changes necessary. Gas at the time was not available In 2005 we installed 2 fireplaces propane and got rid of the electric cook top. In 2016 I did a full renovation as well as added an addition to the house. By 2016 gas was available so I got rid of the propane and went gas for the 2 fireplaces and cook top. In 2017 I went all solar, installing a system large enough to cover my usage. There are bills you can eliminate and bills that you can reduce. I went from spending thousands of dollars a year un utilities to almost nothing. I spend less than 180 dollars a year in gas, I pay nothing to heat my home as my wood is free, my solar covers mostly all my electric. I paid less than 200 for the year in electric. but received 4800 in serec, so I'm 4600 ahead which I use to pay towards my system. The way I have looked at the electric bill is that I can purchase my solar system outright and pay it off. I turned a monthly bill that will be paid forever into a payment that will end. Between what I make in serec and what I got as a tax rebate the system pays for itself. I just fronted the money. You also can eliminate and reduce your bills. It will take time, but put together a plan. I don't know what your states Incentives are but is worh looking into, and making some changes every couple years adds up.. If I were to heat my house with oil it would cost me about 2k per year to keep it as warm as my stove does. over 10 years that 20k saved.. over 15 years thats 30k. Im not interested in helping the utility companies reach their record profits every year. The money is better served staying in my bank account or put into my investments.
 
  • Like
Reactions: stoveliker

Caw

Member
May 26, 2020
207
Massachusetts
I'm not that much further north than you and I know our well water is definitely less than 40 df, especially in the winter. I suspect your "backup" heat is coming on more often than you think. Our first winter I had the baseboard heaters set to come on about 64df and turns out they would kick on before the stove stopped carrying the load due to the thermostat being on the other side of the room, behind a TV. It was only an hour or so a day, but it added up. I turned off the power to the heaters and thermostat and have noticed a reduction in use between our first winter and second winter. I actually never go around to putting them back in, especially since we never go anywhere.
Heat was set to 58 and it never got below 62 on the thermostat. HVAC guy confirmed the system is functioning normally the other day. We don't have any other mini splits or heaters so I think its safe to eliminate that as the source. Im also just leaving it off the rest of the year...we never need it. If I do need it one day for some reason I'll turn it on and give it a couple hrs for the compressor to warm up before firing it.

I now fully suspect the water issues. Cold well water + hot water leaking shower = significant extra well pump and hot water heater time. Outside of the heater those are the big energy users in the house.

My basement is also like 48-50 degrees during the winter. The water heater is brand new and fully insulated but I wonder if a heater jacket would help?

I checked my 2 fridges too and they are all set/running properly. Had to reschedule my plumber to the 7th unfortunately due to a conflict. Solar guy also coming the 7th so it'll be a fun week.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SpaceBus

CaptSpiff

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2014
527
Long Island, NY
.... but received 4800 in serec, so I'm 4600 ahead which I use to pay towards my system.
Why are the SREC's so lucrative in New Jersey?
They seem near worthless in New York. I think my neighbor had to sign ownership of his SERC's over to the Utility to qualify for the Utility Company Solar Rebates.
 

Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
1,588
Woolwich nj
Why are the SREC's so lucrative in New Jersey?
They seem near worthless in New York. I think my neighbor had to sign ownership of his SERC's over to the Utility to qualify for the Utility Company Solar Rebates.
NJ is closed border when selling them. So I have them and a company in my state needs them and we don't get any outside influences. Were selling each anywhere fron 210 to 230 per serc.. Im guaranteed to have mine for 15 years..
 
  • Like
Reactions: CaptSpiff

fbelec

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2005
2,949
Massachusetts
what i'm about to say can be big if this has never been done which would cause the fridge to run way longer. most people don't do this so when they buy a new fridge they say their power usage went down. refrigerators that don't have a coil on the back of the fridge have them on the bottom of the fridge behind the front kick vent with a fan that pulls air across the coils and then across the defrost pan to evaporate the water. most people have no idea and those coils especially if you have pets get packed with dust and the fridge doesn't cool that good so it runs longer. i do mine every year and they are packed. i took a fridge for my brother that i got from a friend that says it wasn't cooling anymore. my brother needed a fridge. i tipped it back and had to scrap out the dust with a screw driver it then worked for him for another 7 years. all that has to be done is tip the fridge back and vacuum the coils. it runs so much less after doing this. the dust forms a blanket over the coils and it can't remove the heat from the coils so it runs more to do the same job
 

fbelec

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2005
2,949
Massachusetts
here is another thought. i had a customer a few years back that had someone wire his shed about 75 feet away from his house. the guy wired the shed underground and used regular romex and not the uf cable that is supposed to be there. he called me in to check everything because his kids would use the spicket on his shed for the sprinkler. everytime they were finished they go to shut off the water soaking wet in bare feet they would get zapped. i started taking readings with a meter to figure this out. to see if it were him or a neighbor. i was getting readings from a metal fence gate. 3 feet apart one post to the other 120 volt and this was in the front yard and the shed was in the back yard. so i went into the panel and the leakage was drawing 10 amps. he said to me that his electric usage was way up. sure 10 amps 24/7 don't know if this is your case so i figured i'd throw it in
 

heat seeker

Minister of Fire
Feb 25, 2011
3,181
Northern CT
A friend of mine has an inground pool. Hubby installed a pole light near it, didn't have a long enough run of wire, so he taped the connections and buried them. About 15 years later, they removed the light and wiring. The electric bill went down $20/month after that. Those taped connections, buried in moist ground, ate up $20 a month for 15 years. If my math is good, that's around $3,600! He never heard the end of that from the (now ex-)wife.
 

fbelec

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2005
2,949
Massachusetts
sometimes it's not worth cheaping out. especially around the pool. somebody could have got killed. 90% of people just don't know how to say (i don't know)