City-Data Forum Cost of Electricity Revisited (Dallas, El Paso: how much, new home, refrigerator)
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07-18-2007, 04:04 PM
 53 posts, read 183,859 times Reputation: 22

I've been doing some more figuring and can now see how some people are having \$500.00 + electric bills.

According to the Energy Information Administration in Washington DC, the average cost of electricity in Texas is12.24 KWH.

I figured the cost of running an A/C below. This is based on an older 12 SEER 4 ton unit. I know some have more efficient units, but not everyone has the latest.

4 ton A/C 12 SEER = 4kwh per hour

48.96 cents per hour Rounds up to 50 cents for figuring.

Let's say the A/C runs 24 hours a day = \$12.00 per day

A month would be \$360.00

Most A/C's are rated to run around 60% of the day. This would equal 14.4 hours. 14.4 x .50 = 7.2
A month would now cost \$216.00.

Please understand that I know that not everyone is going to run the A/C 60% of the day. Some will be less and some even more. These figures are to just help people moving from a cool climate to a much warmer one realize the costs that are involved.

And this is just for A/C! Remember, that the average household uses much more than just the A/C. For example:

Cooking:

Coffee Maker - 8 kWh per month
Dishwasher - 4.3 kWh per use
Freezer - 180 kWh per month
Microwave Oven - 1 kWh per hour
Range - 100 kWh per month
Refrigerator - 180 kWh per month
Toaster - 3.3 kWh per month
Toaster - Oven .5 kWh per hour
Garbage Disposal - 2.5 kWh per month

Laundry:

Dryer - 3 kWh per use
Iron - (1 1/2 hour per week) 5 kWh per month
Washer - (hot wash,warm rinse) 8.1 kWh per use
Washer - (hot wash, cold rinse) 6.6 kWh per use
Washer - (warm wash, warm rinse) 5.8 kWh per use
Washer - (warm wash, cold rinse) 3.1 kWh per use
Washer - (cold wash, cold rinse) .3 kWh per use

Water Heating:

No. of People in Household Average kWh Usage Per Month
1 117 kWh
2 202 kWh
3 287 kWh
4 374 kWh
5 456 kWh
6 541 kWh

Home Entertainment:

Radio (3 hours per day) - 7 kWh per month
Television (3 hours per day) - 33 kWh per month

Miscellaneous:

Clock - 1.4 kWh per month
Heating Pad - .06 kWh per hour
Light Bulb (100 watt) - .1 kWh per hour
Well Pump (1 hp) - 1 kWh per hour
Pool Pump (1 hp) - 1 kWh per hour

To calculate the exact usage of any electrical item, divide the wattage by 1,000. Multiply that figure by the number of hours run per month to get kWh per month.

Example: A 100 watt light bulb runs 300 hours per month (10 hours per day). 100 divided by 1,000 equals .1 kWh per hour. If the bulb is used for 300 hours per month the total kWh per month is 300 x .1 = 30 kWh per month. To calculate the dollar figure, multiply 30 x 12.24 cents per kilowatt hour (\$3.67).

The following maps illustrate the Summer Cooling and Winter Heating Load Hours and are compliments of the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute, ARI.

Last edited by SprintRider; 07-18-2007 at 05:05 PM..

07-18-2007, 04:17 PM
 53 posts, read 183,859 times Reputation: 22
Looking at the summer map above, I think Dallas would be in about the 1800 mark. That means that in Dallas (on average), one would expect to run their A/C for 1800 hours in the summer.

Let's assume that the summer lasts 5 months. Taking the numbers from above, .50 per hour for running a 4 ton 12 SEER A/C, it would cost \$180.00 per month average to run that single A/C.

I know this is all theoretical, but it's a base for people to think about.

07-18-2007, 04:41 PM
 53 posts, read 183,859 times Reputation: 22
To ramble on even further on the subject...

The figures above were based on a 4 ton 12 SEER unit and had a cost of \$180.00 per month.

On a 13 SEER unit, the cost per month would be \$166.00, a 14 SEER unit, \$154.00, a 15 SEER unit, \$144.00 and a 16 SEER would be \$135.00.

07-18-2007, 07:09 PM
 Location: Lake Highlands (Dallas) 2,395 posts, read 7,340,523 times Reputation: 1026
Well, I want a 50 SEER unit then. Yeah, I know, they don't exist...

07-18-2007, 07:21 PM
 53 posts, read 183,859 times Reputation: 22
Yeah, me too! And just think how much good insulation and windows add to that! It really makes sense to do it all because it'll sure pay off.

07-18-2007, 08:33 PM
 6,585 posts, read 21,562,620 times Reputation: 3150
What about computers? I have 2 on all the time, and sometimes an Xbox 360.

07-18-2007, 08:44 PM
 Location: Lake Highlands (Dallas) 2,395 posts, read 7,340,523 times Reputation: 1026
Quote:
 Originally Posted by SprintRider Yeah, me too! And just think how much good insulation and windows add to that! It really makes sense to do it all because it'll sure pay off.
Keep in mind that windows actually DON'T pay for themselves when replacing, even single-pane aluminum windows. With a window replacement, sure, you'll save 15-30% of your heating/cooling portion of your bill, but that will pale in comparison to the cost of replacement windows. When you replace windows, you do it for other reasons and saving money is a side-benefit. New windows will:

- look nicer
- make your home quieter (drastically when comparing to old, leaky aluminum single-pane windows)
- cut down on UV light - which fades wood, fabrics and carpet.
- they definitely increase resale value and ease of resale (I read recently windows will return 76%)
- you'll save energy, and every bit does count when trying to minimize your carbon footprint

As an example, I got a quote of \$11K for new windows. It will only lower my heating/cooling bills by ~\$250 per year. Factoring in resale, the cost would be \$2860 (\$11,000 minus resale value of \$8,140). That's well over 10 years to break even - well beyond the average stay in a home. While not financially a reason to do it, we still want to do it - but will wait a couple years while we work on other projects.

Brian

07-18-2007, 09:07 PM
 Location: Zone 6- South Jersey 258 posts, read 981,552 times Reputation: 90
Thanks for the info

07-19-2007, 07:45 AM
 20,658 posts, read 41,112,487 times Reputation: 10153
SEER ratings often don't represent the savings people anticipate--SEER efficiency goes down the hotter the outside ambient temp is--so on hotter days like 100+ which we might still see this summer--the SEER effectiveness if cut to almost half--so that in realtity a/c is operating at less than half of what you expect---

SEER rating is tested at 80-85 degree temps in laboratory--optimum operating conditions--not in real world situation--A/C units that have some type of water cooling/misting to cool compressor will maintain and even allow more efficient operation so that SEER effiecency is increased not decreased--

this is not a "Swamp cooler" like they use in El Paso or Arizona but more of what commercial HVAC units employ---right now there are almost none going into residential construction--they are expensive and newer concept that most builders aren't aware of or most HVAC intallation companies---

but there are places on internet where plans/descriptions for making an add-on type of water mister are available and a COMPETENT HVAC technician could probably construct one...needs a water source close to the unit and water usage would increase but there is probably still a savings to be had...

right now people have to have a 13 SEER for code in new homes or replacements but people are buying upgrades to 14-16 SEER thinking they will save money on electricity but it really does not work like they anticipate--they just don't know it...

07-19-2007, 08:34 AM
 1,005 posts, read 3,189,116 times Reputation: 631
Quote:
 Originally Posted by lh_newbie As an example, I got a quote of \$11K for new windows. It will only lower my heating/cooling bills by ~\$250 per year. Factoring in resale, the cost would be \$2860 (\$11,000 minus resale value of \$8,140). That's well over 10 years to break even - well beyond the average stay in a home. While not financially a reason to do it, we still want to do it - but will wait a couple years while we work on other projects. Brian
Given the volatility of energy prices (e.g. the horrendous run-up in electricity rates in Texas), I think it is difficult to know, if a windows replacement will be financially sound.

So within 5 years, the electricity bill went up by 80%. This was one reason, why I moved to a smaller house on a lot with huge shade trees. My bills went from about \$330/month in the summer to over \$600/month. In my "new" (1960s) house with the shade and expensive Green Mountain prices, my highest bill so far was \$120/month.

I don't believe that energy costs will go down significantly but rise instead. Those are always linked with policy and both the right (concentration and record profits for energy companies) and the left (global warming, carbon neutral) have policies that don't point to lower energy prices.

So what if the price of electricity goes up another 80% (and it will in the next 10 years, I believe). How does the replacement windows financial calculation look, if a homeowner has to pay \$1000/month for AC to keep the house comfortable with cheap windows?
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