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Old 01-22-2010, 08:19 AM
Status: "Summer, please don't leave!" (set 9 days ago)
 
Location: Asheville, NC
11,475 posts, read 25,708,361 times
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Do all the houses there have heat pumps? What other options are there? Do you have to have the heat pumps? What purpose do they serve?
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Old 01-22-2010, 08:35 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
494 posts, read 1,551,810 times
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Well I'll give you something to make you feel better. We have our downstairs heated with a heat pump and upstairs with gas (former owner did that... don't ask me why). Amerigas hit me with a $1200 propane bill a week before Christmas. While that seems outrageous, in fairness to them, they hadn't been since March. I let them know that wasn't acceptable when I paid it. They were just back this week and put quite a bit in. Now the worse part... my Progress Energy bill that just came this week is $442. So figuring a couple hundred for gas, my electric/gas for the past month was probably close to $700... Ouch! I just moved down from NY and I think we pay more here for utilities in the winter. I know our house has a ton of drafty places, so I guess I need to start calking some things.
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Old 01-22-2010, 08:38 AM
 
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Default what you can do

Insulation....the best place is the attic and then second to that leaky air throughout the house....have any of those small attic access panels behind knee walls, check them on a windy day.

Door thresholds can leak alot.
There are prog. thermostats that can actually stage the heat to rise slowly instead of acting like you woke up and uped it by 5 degrees. (they are special for heat pumps).

Realize that this weather doesnt always get this cold and windy so it will pass.
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Old 01-22-2010, 08:43 AM
 
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Heat pumps are the most economical choice for us PROVIDED your house is insulated well. Anything built by a builder probably doesn't fit into that category (they tend to use MINIMUM required insulation and leave lots of holes), these days if you want it done right you have to supervise it yourself.
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Old 01-22-2010, 08:46 AM
 
Location: Oxxford Hunt, Cary NC
4,188 posts, read 9,814,976 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beckycat View Post
Do all the houses there have heat pumps? What other options are there? Do you have to have the heat pumps? What purpose do they serve?
No, all houses do not have heat pumps. My two here have both had gas heat, but that's my preference so I leaned towards gas in my house hunting. Heat pumps are very economical for cooling, and also for heating in mild temperatures - but as you can see by this thread the cost really goes up when it's very cold. Luckily our winters aren't that cold overall - My sister pays over $3000 a year to heat her house in NY (heated by oil)!
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Old 01-22-2010, 08:48 AM
 
258 posts, read 576,493 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hammester View Post
Even with bad insulation a $400 bill for a 1,000 sqft house is outrageous. Is the new HVAC energy efficient? It sounds like your AUX heat stripes are coming on A LOT.

I agree!! However this is the first solid 30 days with the heat pump doing its thing.

for the last 4 years we've used a "can style" kerosene heater while I did serious research on the best option. Originally this house was built with an "Apollo Hydro Heat" system. A gas water heater had two lines to a radiator style unit in the air handler. Like a heat pump it's not very efficient in this region. To top it off the gas it used was Delivered Propane. The bills were through the roof.

I replaced the water heater with electric.

I replaced the HVAC myself with a 2 ton Lennox unit, new air handler, and AUX heat strips. All New Duct as well on lower level.

I had the unit charged and "hooked up" by a professional, I just did all the manual labor.

They are coming back out to check the unit. I want to be sure

Insulation is coming this spring.

I just think the $400 is outrageous! Escpecially since we tried so hard to conserve this month.

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Old 01-22-2010, 09:23 AM
Status: "Summer, please don't leave!" (set 9 days ago)
 
Location: Asheville, NC
11,475 posts, read 25,708,361 times
Reputation: 4209
Does it help to use a gas/wood fireplace, a gravity fed oil stove, or pellet stove? It's tricky trying to figure out what is most economical.
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Old 01-22-2010, 10:04 AM
 
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Pellet stoves are economical, they are designed for heating homes.

Fireplaces in general are wasteful BUT it depends on the fireplace. My in-laws heat their house in northern NH with a soapstone fireplace and 12 hours after the fire goes out the surface temp of the soap stone is still 150-200 degrees. It radiates heat.

As a backup they also use a pellet stove in their basement which heats the house from the bottom up. But they also have a very well insulated oak log home.
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Old 01-24-2010, 07:41 PM
 
406 posts, read 695,751 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by convergent View Post
I just moved down from NY and I think we pay more here for utilities in the winter.
You won't hear that in all those "best places" lists

Cost of living in the triangle is not low.
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Old 01-25-2010, 09:27 AM
 
97 posts, read 182,380 times
Reputation: 38
I found out what it was. Someone accidentally set off the Em Heat. It made my bill triple. So check your thermostat.
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