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Old 12-14-2007, 07:44 PM
 
169 posts, read 606,663 times
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I'm trying to get some ideas from everyone as to what they do to try and lower their heating bills.

We heat with oil and already went through 80 gallons in 4 weeks for heat and hotwater. Thats $240 for the month of November and it hasnt been that brutally cold yet.

We have a fireplace that we just started using while having the furance shut off. We light a fire from 4 - 9 pm. I also just started using 2 oil filled electric space heaters placed on either ends of my home. At night we are lowering the temp to 62 degrees.

What strategies have you been trying to lower your heating bills?

Usually we can use anywhere from 600-800 gallons a year depending on the weather and our usage. This is for our hotwater all year long as well.

I'm hoping I see a big reduction in our consumption this year.
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Old 12-15-2007, 10:48 AM
jjj
 
168 posts, read 767,347 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by valentine92 View Post
I'm trying to get some ideas from everyone as to what they do to try and lower their heating bills.

We heat with oil and already went through 80 gallons in 4 weeks for heat and hotwater. Thats $240 for the month of November and it hasnt been that brutally cold yet.

We have a fireplace that we just started using while having the furance shut off. We light a fire from 4 - 9 pm. I also just started using 2 oil filled electric space heaters placed on either ends of my home. At night we are lowering the temp to 62 degrees.

What strategies have you been trying to lower your heating bills?

Usually we can use anywhere from 600-800 gallons a year depending on the weather and our usage. This is for our hotwater all year long as well.

I'm hoping I see a big reduction in our consumption this year.
We use our wood stove most of the time so no need to worry about turning the heat down in the evening. It was the best investment we made when building our home 8 years ago. During the day our home temp is about 74 and in the evening its around 72. Look to get a wood stove or an insert for your fireplace for maxium heat. A fireplace with no glass doors just lets all your house heat escape up the chimney.
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Old 12-15-2007, 06:23 PM
 
Location: Sunshine N'Blue Skies
13,320 posts, read 20,807,123 times
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Yes, that is true. A fireplace is really not a good heater at all.
A pellet insert will heat your home day and night. Wonderful heat, but bags weigh 40 lbs and they can be costly too.
A wood stove is fantastic if you can get free wood and store it during the year.
Then you'd not have to worry on any heating expense.
I used a wood stove one year and only had one tank of oil, which lasted through the winter!!! That gave me my best savings regarding heat costs.
I am thinking of having some insert put into my fireplace. I like being warm, they make the house nice and toasty.
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Old 12-17-2007, 06:48 AM
 
Location: PA
1,032 posts, read 3,976,980 times
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Our house has two heating zones, so at night we turn the heat down to 60 downstairs. During the day we keep the house between 66-68.

I am nervously awaiting our first heating bill....
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Old 12-17-2007, 07:32 AM
 
12,878 posts, read 29,576,874 times
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We have a heating plan through PPL where we have a lower rate if use less major appliances during the weekdays from 7 am- 5pm and our hot water heater only works at night. The hot water heater heats up the water all night and it's stored for use during the day but doesn't heat up anymore during the day. This works out fine and we don't run out of hot water unless we have alot of company and everyone wants a shower. I tend to wash most of my clothes with cold water anyway. We keep our heat set at 70 degrees.

We have an all electric house but our electric bills are less here in PPL territory then in our previous houses in Delaware and Chester County that had oil heat and we used PECO electric.
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Old 12-17-2007, 11:08 AM
 
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valentine, what do you do for hot water when you shut your boiler off like you said? And shutting it off is not such a great idea as it then has to recover and uses a lot of oil to do that.

I know fireplaces do one thing, heat up the outside air. they are really just for nice. The fact is, fireplaces are the least efficient means of home heating when you go by BTU content and if you buy wood its worse than cutting, satcking, carrying yourself.

Its tough heating with oil especially if you have an old boiler, anything over 12 years old is actually said to be old in the trade, which I cannot completely agree with but I went to school for heating.

One thing I do is set my Low Limit temperature down to 120 degrees and my High Limit at 170 degrees on my Aquastat-all year long. When there is no call for heat, it maintains 120 degrees only and that is plenty warm for hot showers with the right shower head. Only when the home calls for heat does the boiler reach 170 degrees (technically 180 as there is a 10 degree built in difference on most controls)

The aquastat is usually in a grey box and has temp. settings in it. Thast what I do and it makes a very, very big difference in amount of oil I go through. The boiler is never allowed to cool too low as it would when shutting it off completely-so recovery is much shorter, hence less oil, and hot water is always available. I also just installed an electric water heat er that I paid nothing for (40 gal.) and piped it into my boiler coil for domestic hot water. In summer, I shut boiler off completey after I completely service it. I fire it once a month to keep condensation out, let it run up to 120, than shut it down again. This also keeps the coild gasket from shrinking.

Hope that helps.
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Old 12-17-2007, 12:57 PM
 
169 posts, read 606,663 times
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I have a winter/summer hook, up to my furance. If I shut the heat off at the thermostat I still have hot water. When I shut it off it never drops lower than 60 in my home. I figure if we all gather in the living room to watch TV during the evenings we mind as well light a fire that will warm up the living room dining room and kitchen areas to 70 degrees while the rest of the house cools off to 60.

I am interested to find out what is the average amount of home heating oil that families use in PA? I am grateful that our consumption has been down in the 600 range for the past 2 years and I hope it continues.
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Old 12-18-2007, 12:46 PM
 
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valentine,

Making a fire sounds like a great idea, especially with this wind and cold. I would use a fireplace if I had one. I only meant to say that from what I was taught the amount of heat loss from a fireplace is very high. The hotter your chimney gets the more heat gets sucked up and out, but nothing wrong with making a nice fire I would love to have a fireplace.

I get a bit technical when it comes to heating, I'm sorry about that. And turning your thermostat down to 60 is fine with a summer/winter hook-up. I thought you meant you turned the boiler off completely. You have a boiler which creates and circulates hot water versus a furnace, which creates and blows hot air. Most people just call them all furnaces, I understand. But you have a boiler and that is a very good means of heating a home here in PA.. I would guess you either have radiators in every room or baseboards running along the walls?, either way it is a good way to heat with oil.


As far as oil consumption goes, I delivered home heating oil for many years. All I noticed was some homes that were old but had upgraded windows used normal amounts of oil while other older homes, circa 1900 with old wooden windows, etc. really go through oil. I often wonered how they afforded their bills after pumping in 180 gallons or so every 3 weeks. Most homes are on an automatic delivery schedule with their heating oil companies thus eliminating checking the gauge on the tank. It is all done using degree days relative to outside air temps., that way your tank never really gets much below 3/8 full and you should not get hit with a large bill for, lets just say 225 gallons, which today would cost around.....700 dollars. Instead, you get bills for maybe 120 gallons (was average) every couple of weeks and with that came a boiler servicing at a reduced cost, or even a service contract for any "no heat/no hot water" service calls during the year.

It certainly depends on the age of the boiler, if it was sized correctly when installed and how many rooms you are heating of course. But yes, a fireplace would be a nice form of supplemental heat, enjoy!!

To anyone on a low income for whatever resason-remember, you can apply for heating oil assistance through your county. Also, 1-877-JOE-4-OIL is a program advertised where a one time delivery of 100 gallons, absolutely free if you qualify, will be granted.

It is worth applying or inquiring if someone is out of work or whatevr. Many older folks on my route, widows, disabled or with a lot of children regularly get approved. just a suggestion to anyone.
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Old 12-20-2007, 06:36 AM
 
21,122 posts, read 19,019,832 times
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Using a fireplace generally warms one room and makes the rest of the house cold. Most of the heat is drawn right up the chimney. Those oil filled radiators are nice because you can warm one room, safely, and keep the thermostat down.
We replaced an old garage door with an insulated one and that made a big difference in the basement and cut down on drafts.
Also check your radiators and "bleed them". This means using a screwdriver to open them at the valve at the end. If air escapes then that means you have an air bubble which will prevent them from heating properly. Once water starts trickling out just tighten it and close them again.
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