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Old 01-04-2010, 11:53 AM
 
454 posts, read 1,204,252 times
Reputation: 294

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Hi,
We live in Northern VA...and it gets cooooold!
3k sqft total (2 levels, one basement). All electric (no gas).

just got the bill today.....$250 bucks for 11/24-12/29. that hurts! we pay about $60 a month during the summer....which is great!!!!!!!!

here is what we've done since moving in:

- isolated rooms we don't use. close room doors and the vent opennings.
- open ALL the vents in the main floor. close ALL the vents upstairs. Close ALL the vents in the basement. results: basement is always warm (not sure why), main floor nice, upstairs nice.
- heat pump/ system somewhat newer ('04)
- use fireplace once in a while
- filter changed monthly
- wood blinds on all windows
- windows all brand new (1 year old)

here is our last year's usage:

Usage History
Month--------------- Yr--------------- Kwh
Dec--------------- 08---------------1145
Jan--------------- 09---------------5129
Feb--------------- 09--------------- 2007
Mar--------------- 09--------------- 1487
Apr--------------- 09--------------- 844
May--------------- 09--------------- 506
Jun--------------- 09--------------- 598
Jul--------------- 09--------------- 639
Aug--------------- 09--------------- 652
Sep--------------- 09--------------- 490
Oct--------------- 09--------------- 840
Nov--------------- 09--------------- 1049
Dec--------------- 09--------------- 2489
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Old 01-04-2010, 12:30 PM
 
6,400 posts, read 6,499,594 times
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Ouch. Our electric bill (all electric house) is the same every month, as we are on budget billing. It's handy, because we know what to expect, and we never have to pay more at the end of the year. It's pretty spot-on.

You may find that you've unbalanced your system by closing off vents, and that may cost you more money. Someone with more expertise than I can probably advise you.

If you have a programmable thermostat, use it to full advantage. We don't, but we turn our heat down at night, and back up in the morning. After it warms the house enough to be comfy (mid-60's), we turn it back off again. The heat of the day here is enough.
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Old 01-04-2010, 12:48 PM
 
Location: Mayberry
31,573 posts, read 12,707,494 times
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I just got mine 200.00 in northwest north carolina!! Yes it has been freezing, but I turn it to 67 at night 70 during the day, guess I will have to change that. The house is 1 year old. Thankfully my work schedule for January is very heavy so I won't be home much.
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Old 01-04-2010, 01:10 PM
 
454 posts, read 1,204,252 times
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my expensive/newer model programmable thermostat is set to 66 from 9:30 pm to 5 am
then is at 67 from 5 am to 4 pm
then 68 from 4 to 930 pm

i'm not sure if we can go any lower. lol

and i'm not sure if we should reduce by 2 or 3 degrees and instead start using the personal space heaters in whichever room we're in. do you think that would be smart?
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Old 01-04-2010, 01:17 PM
 
Location: Vermont
10,089 posts, read 10,606,893 times
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Electricity is an inherently expensive way to heat space, but if you really want to save electricity and money I would suggest being more aggressive with the thermostat. We turn our thermostat up to about 65 during the day, then down to 55 when we go to bed, and we find that plenty warm. This is also in Vermont, where the gradient between inside and outside temps is much greater than where you are.

I also support the idea of using budget billing.
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Old 01-04-2010, 01:24 PM
 
454 posts, read 1,204,252 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackmccullough View Post
Electricity is an inherently expensive way to heat space, but if you really want to save electricity and money I would suggest being more aggressive with the thermostat. We turn our thermostat up to about 65 during the day, then down to 55 when we go to bed, and we find that plenty warm. This is also in Vermont, where the gradient between inside and outside temps is much greater than where you are.

I also support the idea of using budget billing.

Thanks.

But see, if you have such a large gap (10 degrees), then your aux/emergency heat will have to work overtime EVERY NIGHT in order to bring up the temp to 65! that is a HUGE strain on your system! and may even cancel any savings you would be having during the night (when it's 55). what has been your experience though? how long have you been doing this and what has been the result money wise?)
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Old 01-04-2010, 01:46 PM
 
Location: Vermont
10,089 posts, read 10,606,893 times
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We've never heated with electricity, and I understand that heat pumps can be a very inadequate way to heat, so I don't really know how changing the thermostat affects them. I have heard people say that it puts a strain on the system, but since I don't know how they work I don't really understand why that would be.

However, even if you just kept it turned to 65 or 60 all day you would be using less heat than you're using now, or 65 when you're home and 60 at night and when you go to work.

Again there is that geographical difference, but if we kept our thermostat at 67 at night the temperature would be warmer in our house at night during the winter than it is in the summer.

As for cost savings and how long we've been doing it, that's hard to answer. We've been doing this pretty much since we stopped heating with wood back in 1989 (when we moved out of the house that we heated with wood--you probably wouldn't want to wake up in a 40 degree house after the wood fire went out), so we have nothing to compare, except that we know we're spending a lot less fuel heating the house when we're asleep and when we're at work. I also know that our hot water system works much better than the forced air system we've had in other houses.
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Old 01-04-2010, 01:49 PM
 
Location: Mayberry
31,573 posts, read 12,707,494 times
Reputation: 68359
I'm definitely going to lower mine and see what happens as Jan will be cold also.
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Old 01-04-2010, 02:00 PM
 
Location: southwestern PA
20,426 posts, read 35,707,564 times
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When we had a place with a heat pump, we were told to NEVER vary the thermostat by more than 5 degrees. Otherwise, it runs and runs and takes forever to "catch up".

To the OP: you house is 3000 square feet and you are using electric heat. It will always be expensive for you to heat your house! Try the budget plan.
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Old 01-04-2010, 02:02 PM
 
Location: Falls Church, VA
722 posts, read 1,714,202 times
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When we had a heat pump system in Nebraska, we programmed the thermostat to go down to 62 at night while we slept. If you have a down comforter or other toasty bedding, it should be comfortable enough, and might shave a few dollars off.

Edit: We had it at 67 during other times, so it never had to jump more than 5 degrees.
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