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Old 05-29-2009, 07:10 PM
 
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We live in far south Georgia so winter heating isn't a big issue. Coldest month is January and leave the heat off except for a few minutes first thing in the morning.

Worst month is January, wake up at 6:00 AM, house is at 56 degrees and chilly. Wife stays in bed as I flip the coffee pot on then turn the heater on for 5 to 10 minutes. House heats to 65, we turn the heat off and so it stays until the next morning.

All electric house and the highest bill we get is $120.

Summer is a different story. In south Georgia you need air conditioning and it runs constantly. Used to be our summer electric would run $250 but two summers ago our old unit crapped out, replaced the old unit with a new high efficiency unit and cut a good $75 our of our monthly cooling bill.

We have the little fluorescent lights throughout the property.

I can be frugal but two things I will never compromise on. I will never dwell in the dark, let there be lots and lots of lights on in my house when I am there and I will not endure uncomfortable heat. Our thermostat in summer is set to 70 degrees.
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Old 05-29-2009, 09:17 PM
 
Location: Planet Eaarth
8,957 posts, read 17,009,429 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rock Hard View Post
Not necessarily.

My wife & I live in a 4,000 sqf foot two-story brick house, that was built in 1928. We didn't go out looking for a huge house, but when this one became available - and for the price - it was a no-brainer. Within 5-10 years we'll be able to double our money on it.

Even so, we pay less to heat and cool our house than does my brother-in-law & family, whose house is just over 1,000 sqf.

I've super-insulated and sealed, and have an ultra-high efficiency furnace, central air unit and heat pump. Plus we keep our windows open as long as we can, into the summer, and the furnace off in the fall until we can't stand it any longer.


It's not that hard to save money on heating and cooling, if we're just willing to do it.
Granted that your "older" home was easy to re-fit with better windows
and heating systems but your home does not qualify as a McMansion
in anyway due to the basic building materials used to build it.

New McMansions are built from OSB and sticks called lumber with no
plan for the house to last much past the mortgage. The basic materials
used in modern McMansions are all inferior to the large homes of the
past. I know as I live in a 2500 sq ft older home that is well past 100
yrs old and it too is very frugal with energy use.

If you want to see the modern McMansion get built visit a site where
one is going up and bring a barf bag 'cause you'll be sickened at the sight
of OSB , vinyl and dry wall that is called a house. Not so the well cared
for older homes before 1960.
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Old 05-30-2009, 06:05 AM
 
Location: Oklahoma
288 posts, read 816,077 times
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This will sound so out there, but...open the windows. *rolls eyes* We've got neighbors who run the a/c ALL FREAKING NIGHT LONG even though it gets down into the 50s at night. Open the windows, air out the house, get some fresh air, and save on some costs. Shut the windows when it starts to warm up or before you leave to go to work. Close the blinds/curtains. Open everything at night once it has cooled down.

Now, this is Oklahoma, so this doesn't work all summer long, but it's nearly June and one can still do this. We have neighbors who started running up their electric bill with a/c months ago. (I have yet to turn on my a/c so far this year.)

Also, accept the fact that summer is hot and go with it. You don't need 70 degrees. I keep mine set at 80. Even 75 would save you more money than 70 would. Dress appropriately. Turn on the exhaust fan when cooking to send hot air outside.

Winter? Dress appropriately. I wear layers whether I'm inside or out. I tend to get cold at 70 degrees, so setting the thermostat at 60 is a bit of a hardship for me (shivering-wise, certainly not financially) but I do it because I don't believe I need/deserve to be at an ideal temperature all the time. I keep moving. If I sit, I cover up with an afghan. Temperature goes down to 55 at night. Next winter I plan to shoot for 50 at night. For those of you who are like me and get cold easily, invest in a small heat pad. The amount of electricity is uses is practically nothing compared to your furnace and you'd be surprised at how warm a small heat pad can keep you. During the winter, close blinds and curtains at night to help insulate the house. Open them during the day after the sun starts shining in. The sun is a nice, cheap heat source--let it in.
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Old 05-30-2009, 06:32 AM
 
37,072 posts, read 38,297,253 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RHB View Post
I don't worry about cooling costs (I live in Maine) but was wondering if anyone has any tips/hints to keep these costs down. Looking at the years buget, heating is a big chunk (as I trust cooling is in the south) and was looking for ideas to keep those costs down, while still staying warm.

We are well insulated, have the energy windows, and I'm working on making curtains that will be pulled over the doorways.

We've started collecting firewood, and fire starter material for next winter. We are thinking we want to try going straight wood this year and not turn on the gas heating system.
Considering you're in Maine you're on the fringe area where anthracite coal heating is still affordable and the shipping costs won't eat your lunch. It's the highest rank of coal ideal for heating in a urban environment unlike wood or wood pellets which might thoroughly annoy the neighbors.

Also much easier and the closer you get to Northeast Pennsylvania the cheaper it gets.

I have forum member in Maine that got bulk delivery of a tri-axle which is certainly not a option for everyone because of the large storage you need. In any event he paid about $250 per ton. Locally it starts at about $150/ton delivered.

1 ton of anthracite equals:

1.5 ton of wood pellets
180 gallons of oil
1.2 cords of wood

There's a nice fuel comparison calculator here so you can put in your local rates:

FUEL COST CALCULATOR!!! - Anthracite Coal Discussion and News

Coal? What am I nuts? That's what everyone thinks until they put one in or see one in operation. Coal burning appliances come in every size, shape or type you can want. Everthing from small hand fired inserts up to fully automated boilers that can range up to 1 million BTU.


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Old 05-30-2009, 09:04 AM
 
13,710 posts, read 22,838,286 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thecoalman View Post
Considering you're in Maine you're on the fringe area where anthracite coal heating is still affordable and the shipping costs won't eat your lunch. It's the highest rank of coal ideal for heating in a urban environment unlike wood or wood pellets which might thoroughly annoy the neighbors.



Coal? What am I nuts? That's what everyone thinks until they put one in or see one in operation. Coal burning appliances come in every size, shape or type you can want. Everthing from small hand fired inserts up to fully automated boilers that can range up to 1 million BTU.


My FIL is a farmer has a wood furnace in NE Ohio. A few years ago, he was paid in coal for a job that he for some people. He used the anthracite in place of the wood. That stuff burned hot and threw off the heat. A small amount of coal replaced quite a bit of wood.

He is back to burning wood as he has an ample supply and it is "free".
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Old 05-30-2009, 09:11 AM
 
13,710 posts, read 22,838,286 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tightwad View Post
New McMansions are built from OSB and sticks called lumber with noplan for the house to last much past the mortgage. The basic materialsused in modern McMansions are all inferior to the large homes of thepast. I know as I live in a 2500 sq ft older home that is well past 100 yrs old and it too is very frugal with energy use.
You are becoming the master of generalizations. However, generalizations are pretty useless.

Many modern homes are well constructed and built as energy efficient. A lot of these "century homes" lack even the most basic insulation.

By the way, since you are on your high horse, a 2500 sq ft home is pretty excessive to me. After all, a 2500 sq ft home is larger than nearly 90% of the earth's population? Why don't YOU find a 700 sq ft place that would reduce your carbon footprint?
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Old 05-30-2009, 11:11 AM
 
Location: Planet Eaarth
8,957 posts, read 17,009,429 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlawrence01 View Post
You are becoming the master of generalizations. However, generalizations are pretty useless.

Many modern homes are well constructed and built as energy efficient. A lot of these "century homes" lack even the most basic insulation.

By the way, since you are on your high horse, a 2500 sq ft home is pretty excessive to me. After all, a 2500 sq ft home is larger than nearly 90% of the earth's population? Why don't YOU find a 700 sq ft place that would reduce your carbon footprint?
I'm glad to meet you too.

I speak in generalizations to keep the response civil a skill you may
not have yet learned but need to.

I just left a forum that was full of folk's like you that nit picked
instead of comment in a meaningful manner. Sigh! I guess there
are people like you everywhere.
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Old 05-30-2009, 11:43 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlawrence01 View Post
My FIL is a farmer has a wood furnace in NE Ohio.
Generally speaking the wood/coal furnaces do not work very well with anthracite because of the design. He probably had soft coal which will work better because it burns much easier. Some wood stoves/furnaces are designed like a coal stove and will work. There's a saying we have which is "You can burn wood in coal stove but you can't burn coal in a wood stove". Anthracite needs all the combustion air from underneath in fire box with steep vertical sides like this:



With coal you would just fill this up as much as you can, you then set the draft to control the fire. A hand fired unit like thiswill burn for at least 12 hours.


Quote:
He is back to burning wood as he has an ample supply and it is "free".
If you have the equipment, the resources and the time it's certainly very cheap. A farmer is already going to have the tools necessary or most of them to make the job that much easier. Wood is lot of work for the average person though. Locally because you can get it so cheap it's almost pointless even if you have the right tools, in Ohio the price may be almost double for the coal than it is here. Even doubled its still cheaper than most fuels... also keep in mind anthracite is generally double the price of bit. coal to start with.

EFM a very old name in the anthracite industry was experimenting with a soft coal stoker last year. It's in Wyoming right now and used quite sucessfully over the winter. Coal there is something like $60 a ton, you need about 5 tons per year for your average 2000 sq ft. home. With a cost like that you're looking at $300 a year and that includes doemstic hot water.

$300 is not typo either.


Here's the base from last summer during testing:


YouTube - Marks Supply Co. / EFM - Soft Coal Stoker - Video 1

Full boiler looks like this:


More pics here: Installation of a stoker boiler at efm - e-f-m Heating
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Old 06-13-2009, 02:34 PM
RHB RHB started this thread
 
1,096 posts, read 1,831,747 times
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Thanks coal man. We did burn some coal, but we need to change grates (I think that's what hubby said) We have a lot of free available wood so that's where our focus has been. When we were in Scotland we burned coal (and peat) and liked them...ummm, need to talk to hubby about the coal thing again....
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Old 06-14-2009, 02:55 AM
 
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Like I said you really need a coal stove, the ones listed as dual fule rarely work well for both. Most of them are wood stoves and you might not have a very good experience with them.

Burning anthracite from here will be a very different experience that what you are used too. I'll bet you never saw coal burn like that picture I posted. Probably the biggest difference being anthracite creates no soot or smell like soft coal. Typically a bit. fired coal stove will produce soot and strong sulfury odor. With anthracite you don't get that at all at least to the extent it's an issue. A new neighbor moved in a few years back and he was qite suprised to learn we burned coal... a few years after he moved in. This is very close neighborood with houses 10 to 15 feet apart.

We do a monthly live broadcast, if you're interested here's the archive from April for people considering getting it:

Ep3: I want to heat with coal, what should I get? - April 9 - Coalcast Broadcasts with Patrick and Paul
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