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Old 01-02-2010, 10:47 PM
 
10,706 posts, read 20,126,250 times
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Ours is running $10/day since 12/11 (billing cycle date) to heat the house to 67F. We're lucky we spent 10 days away but $200 for 20 days of "heat" sounds insane. I went into my attic and my tract home builder only put around 10"-12" of insulation in and in some areas less than 4". I guess that would be why...I thought homes were supposed to be inspected by the city for this stuff?!?

Largest bill last year in the winter was for around 1600 kwh total and we used 1000 kwh in 10 days.

We have two units and they are running great, 85F output air in 26F outside temps is about as good as you can get from a heat pump...
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Old 01-03-2010, 06:09 AM
 
Location: Oxxford Hunt, Cary NC
4,188 posts, read 9,813,507 times
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Once the temps drop below freezing, heat pumps switch to the electric coils for heat - which is very expensive. They are great for moderate temperatures, and very economical in summer, but the downside is definitely cold weather like this.

That said, if you've used a month's worth of electricity in 10 days, you may want to get the units checked out. If a compressor goes out you'll still get heat from the backup coils - which leads to a very high electric bill (this happened to me once).
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Old 01-03-2010, 06:57 AM
 
Location: The South
3,629 posts, read 5,014,950 times
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Keep in mind, too, your electric bill includes the hot water heater, lamps, cooking, etc. It's not just the heat pump. Put a wrap on the hot water heater and turn off extra lights.

Also, builders use cheaper windows so weatherstrip all the leaks around windows and doors.

And here's a small tip -- put your hand near the electric outlets on exterior walls; a lot of air blows in there and you can get foam at Lowe's to fit under the switch plate. Then put baby plug covers in; you'll be surprised.

Homeownership has it's perks but also it's headaches!
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Old 01-03-2010, 08:13 AM
 
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Budget at least 200 more because of this cold spell. This is going to hurt everyone down here. Hope for some warmer weather.
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:18 AM
 
10,706 posts, read 20,126,250 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adlnc07 View Post
Once the temps drop below freezing, heat pumps switch to the electric coils for heat - which is very expensive. They are great for moderate temperatures, and very economical in summer, but the downside is definitely cold weather like this.

That said, if you've used a month's worth of electricity in 10 days, you may want to get the units checked out. If a compressor goes out you'll still get heat from the backup coils - which leads to a very high electric bill (this happened to me once).
Yeah my units have an indicator on the thermostat that shows when the electric heat strips are on. They only go on if you move the temp more than 1 degree up. So the heat strips aren't on and the pumps are working just as they should.
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:28 AM
 
Location: Cary
239 posts, read 1,004,018 times
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If your heatpump ALWAYS operates in the emergency mode, the strip heaters have activated and your electrical meter will be spinning like a top and costing you a fortune. Better get this checked by a HVAC technician to make sure that your unit is operating properly.

Concerning insulation, almost always, more is better!

With energy costs continuing to escalate folks frequently ask, "What can I do to lower my heating and cooling costs?"

The simple answer is to increase the physical mass or the "dead" airspace between the "conditioned" area and the "unconditioned" areas to reduce the transfer of air temperature differences. Often this is not practical because most of us don't live with several feet of earth around and above our homes or have concrete walls a foot thick.

On the practical side, anything that you can do to stop the exchange of air between areas of different temperature is a good thing. Taking a few simple steps could save you as much as 30% on energy costs and some improvements offer a tax savings as well.

Some Do It Yourself (DIY) projects include:

1-Adding insulation in the attic- If you can add insulation in the walls or in your crawlspace that would help (but it is expensive and usually is not a DIY project) , but the attic is where you get the best return on your investment. Don't forget to insulate around ceiling light fixtures- Note: care should be taken to determine if a fixture is designed to allow direct insulation contact, otherwise create an insulation "envelope" around ceiling fixtures to prevent air transfer.

2-Add weatherstripping around windows and doors- If you can see light around these areas or feel air on a windy day you should address these areas. This can be corrected inexpensively-

3-Seal small openings- Apply foam or caulk around plumbing supply and waste pipes, around electrical outlets, vents, or any other penetrations in the building envelope (outer shell)- Expanding foam and elasto-meric sealants are excellent for this purpose along with foam panels designed to seal around electircal outlets and switches.

4-Install heavy insulated drapes- Slowing or blocking the transfer of heated (or cooled) air from inside to outside (or in reverse) will save you money.

5-Close the fireplace damper- You'd be surprised at how many folks leave their fireplace damper open year round. (Or in some cases, don't even know what a damper is or if they have one.) Imagine opening a window in your home and leaving it open year round. That much heat can be lost through an open damper. A fireplace damper can literally "suck" the heat out of your home.

Hope that this helps. Sorry that you are cold.

J. Trent
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Old 01-03-2010, 12:30 PM
 
10,706 posts, read 20,126,250 times
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Trent as I said the electric heat strips aren't coming on. It's just that my house needs insulation. The wife and I (if we can keep our house after paying our electric bill!) will be blowing in insulation this spring. Home Depot has a free loaner blower that you can use if you buy 20 units of insulation. We'll need around 40 @ $9/piece to make the insulation in our attic R-50. So fairly inexpensive to DIY.

We're also thinking of removing our gas logs (useless) and replacing it with a pellet fireplace.
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Old 01-03-2010, 01:57 PM
 
9,680 posts, read 23,488,687 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wheelsup View Post
Trent as I said the electric heat strips aren't coming on. It's just that my house needs insulation. The wife and I (if we can keep our house after paying our electric bill!) will be blowing in insulation this spring. Home Depot has a free loaner blower that you can use if you buy 20 units of insulation. We'll need around 40 @ $9/piece to make the insulation in our attic R-50. So fairly inexpensive to DIY.

We're also thinking of removing our gas logs (useless) and replacing it with a pellet fireplace.
A fireplace can suck heated air right up the chimney resulting in a great burden on the HVAC system.
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Old 01-03-2010, 04:09 PM
 
10,706 posts, read 20,126,250 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saturnfan View Post
A fireplace can suck heated air right up the chimney resulting in a great burden on the HVAC system.
Fireplace yes which is why we are getting rid of our useless gas logs. Pellet stoves are different, they add quite a bit of heat to your house.
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Old 01-03-2010, 05:29 PM
 
Location: Wendell NC
331 posts, read 512,556 times
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I just moved into this nice apt complex...its fairly new...however I noticed almost immediately that all of the windows are leaking cold air ...2 days ago we went to the home depot and for $10 bought 1 window insulating kit...You tape a shrink plastic that is clear over the windows and use a hair dryer to get it taut...the results are no more cold air draughts or losing heat and did every window with the one kit...also in the utility room we elected not to have a washer and dryer ..costs $40 more a month...the connections are there and the dryer vent tube was wide open pouring cold air into the apt...closed it up and insulated it...now the apt holds the heat much better and the heating unit isnt working as much...Still I find homes down here aren't as well insulated as homes further north...its obvious why that is so not really surprised.
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