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DPChallenge Forums >> General Discussion >> The (high) cost of heat
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12/08/2005 10:19:02 AM · #1
Anyone seeing high gas prices yet ( for home heating)? Still $7.99/thousand CuFt here.

Between that threat and my old inefficent gas furnace, we switched to an electric boiler (from a 55% efficient gas one) about 2 months ago. Still trying to decide how much money we'll save, if any....

Before: $152/mo gas budget and $79/mo elec budget.
Now...gas bill is goofy. Guessing $20-35/month when it settles down. They took us off the budget plan, but then tried billing us for 3 months of estimates, still assuming we had gas heat. Got that straightened out, still caryying a surplus of money in the account from the aug and sept budget payments.

Th elec company...they changed us to the Residential Heat rate, and put us on some budget plan. The discounted elec price is only effective Nov1-apr 30, so the October bill was $160. From what i figure, there was no way we used that amout of electricity (our thermostat tells us how long the furnace was on, simple math tells me how much elec we used).

Today i get the second elec bill. the new rate is in effect. $74 budget amount. Hmm...lower than before we had an elec furnace! Too low...

We averaged 730 KwHr before the furnace. In the last month we used some 5,136 KwHr! Owooow baby. The utility told me that no residential customer used more than 4,000 in the coldest months...like January. November was not cold.

So i still have no clue what it will cost me to stay warm. I do know the new furnace cost $4700.
12/08/2005 11:30:33 AM · #2
We have a High Efficiency Furnace, and plan to burn a lot more wood in the fireplace, wear sweaters etc. As long as I can't see my breath in the living room, it's warm enough.
12/08/2005 11:34:45 AM · #3
My parents have a wood burning stove in the lounge with boiler tanks attached. It all supplements the solar panels and gas boiler and electric immersion heater.....

Seriously though, when the stove is going for it, we have all the doors open. Well, they do (apart from the outside ones). I live 500 miles away, so I don't.

Hmmm..... sorry to potentially hijack....




EDIT: typo

Message edited by author 2005-12-08 11:35:10.
12/08/2005 11:37:58 AM · #4
We have a pellet stove here. Have had it for a couple of years now. When we started out with it, a ton of pellets was $150. Now we're up to $250 and can't find any. Places like Home Depot and Lowes are telling us it will be at least the end of January before they get any. UGH!! Even people who paid for theirs in April and bought tons at a time are still not getting any. Our local feed supply store is limiting their regular customers to 10 bag at a time. This is approximately a ten day supply for us. We got lucky last month and an Agway in Pennsylvania that we had called looking for pellets called and said he got a few tons in. I drove almost 3 hours in a snow storm with my step-dad and his pick-up in tow to buy a ton. If it hadn't taken so darn long to get there and the weather hadn't been so bad, I would have made another trip. The next day, he was sold out. Oh well.

Jen
12/08/2005 11:44:17 AM · #5
i have a leaky 103 year old house with no storm windows (didn't get new ones in place before winter). it's like a wind tunnel.

so, i've got towels stuffed everywhere i can think of, 4 layers of shirts on, and an electric space heater under my desk.

my normal gas budget was $90/month. they upped that to $130/month, and i decided that i just couldn't deal with paying that much for heat in the middle of the summer. so i went off of the budget plan and my first bill for november, which was NOT cold, was $117. i live in fear of my next one.

i have the thermostat set to 70 from 4:30am - 6:30am, 55 the rest of the day, 65 from 6:30pm-10:00pm, and 50 at night (i like it cold when i sleep). if my heating bill is over $200 i may just crank it up, pay what i can, and let them come after me, 'cause i have seriously been trying.

BUT it's supposed to snow 5-7" this evening, which means i'm going sledding tomorrow morning while all of the bratty kids are stuck at school! woo woo!!!! there is something to be said for winter... :) :)

Message edited by author 2005-12-08 11:45:04.
12/08/2005 11:59:18 AM · #6
ROFL Muckpond. We have a similar house. Ours was built in the 1860s. We didn't get our now windows in before the snow hit either. We've been put off until April now. We live at the top of a hill and the wind comes right across the cow pasture out front in into the house. Duct tape is our friend. LOL We have plastic up on the windows and duct tape over any cracks. The kids have a tower heater that rotates and blows hot air placed in the hall between their rooms.

I feel your pain with the snow. I've decided to boycot the weathe reports as each time I hear one the total accumulation goes up. Started at 1-3 and was up to 6-10 last time I heard. UGH!! I have to drive 40 miles to work tonight and back in that.

jen
12/08/2005 12:56:16 PM · #7
I have a newere house. 3 bedroom, 3 bath and all that good stuff. It's all electric. I have a heat pump with along with my furnace. My electric bill is $140 a month. Remind you, my range, dryer and hot water tank are all electric. Not to mention the hot tub thats been running at 104 degrees.

I am pretty pleased with the amount of my heating expense.
12/08/2005 01:05:00 PM · #8
hot tub?

HOT TUB?!

the closest i can get to that is to fill my old clawfoot up to the brim and sit in it while eating a lot of baked beans. :P
12/08/2005 01:09:08 PM · #9
I got it for free...and it was free for a reason lol. I had to basically rebuild all the mechanicals...but it works just fine now :)
12/08/2005 01:30:27 PM · #10
you guys have nothing to complain about- you should see my electric bills in the summer! :0P
12/08/2005 01:46:27 PM · #11
Originally posted by oOWonderBreadOo:

you guys have nothing to complain about- you should see my electric bills in the summer! :0P


same here, this was the first summer in my new home and I did not plan on a $400 electric bill. we have a programable theromostat so its not running all day long. and Im constantlly turning lights off that my wife leaves on.

in our little condo we moved out of we kept it a 65 degrees during the summer and the highest out bill ever got was $120

James

12/08/2005 01:48:05 PM · #12
Originally posted by muckpond:

the closest i can get to that is to fill my old clawfoot up to the brim and sit in it while eating a lot of baked beans. :P


ROTFLMAO - I somehow don't think that is a fair comparison :-)

Not even talking about heating - I have the second oil bill sitting at home but I am still getting my heart started from the first one :-0) I am thinking of turning the heat off and throwing some water on the hardwood floors - at least I can make some $ from renting out skates.
12/08/2005 02:03:07 PM · #13
Well, you could always do what we do. Our house was built 1900 ish and is just as drafty as can be (tho not as bad as it was before we insulated it), and we have one heater at the other end of the house from the bedrooms. The rooms are all laid out in a line, so naturally the bedroom was freezing. We went and got a Mr.Heater for under 40 bucks and a propane tank like you use for grills. I know it says they're for outdoor use only, but lemme tell ya, it works GREAT as supplemental heat, especially if you're just trying to warm up a room that doesn't get used all the time. Gotta be careful, but it's a lot cheaper to refill one of the little tanks than it is to run up the gas bill by having the regular heater set on high all the time (and making the living room unbearably hot).
Just a thought...
12/08/2005 02:04:22 PM · #14
Can someone say carbon monoxide poisioning?
12/08/2005 02:11:57 PM · #15
Well yeah, if you leave it on for too long and don't have a window cracked (which you're supposed to do with any gas heat, by the way, so that moisture doesn't build up). However, the most we can stand to run it is 15-20 minutes at a time tops because of the amount of heat it puts out. I might worry more about it if I were running it in a closed room with no ventilation, but again, the heat buildup would be absolutely intolerable before you could even start to worry about CO poisoning.
Besides, as drafty as our house is (and I imagine it's on par with some of the older houses already mentioned here), it's not something I am concerned about since we don't run it for more than a few minutes at a time. Heck, I've got plastic and blankets over my bedroom windows, and I still get a breeze strong enough to blow out a candle coming in around the windowframe.
I wouldn't recommend it for a well-built, newer house, but for old drafty ones, running it for a few minutes at a time shouldn't cause that much of a problem. 'Sides, if you are worried about it, get a CO detector - we did.
12/08/2005 03:18:25 PM · #16
Last time gas prices spiked as 3 years ago or so. We are on teh budget, but the gas bill still tells you how much it would be other wise. In january we wold have had a $420 gas bill for one month. Yuck.

The draftiest place(s) in the house? The new windows! The PO replaced all but 4 of th eoriginal 1936 wood windows/storm windows with vinyl double glazed windows. Big mistake. The are drafty SOBs, leaky and cold. On the plus side, they are easy to clean (tilt in) have nice screens and stay up. Great summer windows IMO ;)

I keep telling myself every spring that i'm gonna plant trees as a wind break for winter, but 6 years later still no trees, adn i think it is getting windier each year! A windmill is $30,000 though.
12/08/2005 03:20:56 PM · #17
Originally posted by jab119:

Originally posted by oOWonderBreadOo:

you guys have nothing to complain about- you should see my electric bills in the summer! :0P


same here, this was the first summer in my new home and I did not plan on a $400 electric bill. we have a programable theromostat so its not running all day long. and Im constantlly turning lights off that my wife leaves on.

in our little condo we moved out of we kept it a 65 degrees during the summer and the highest out bill ever got was $120

James


ouch- you win. I think $270 was my high...
12/08/2005 03:31:04 PM · #18
Thanks to TXU's 24% increase this summer our highest electric bill this summer was around $450! Now they are getting over $0.12 per Kilowatt hour! We built our house about 20 years ago and I think it is time to replace the old heat pump!

We have a progammable T-Stat also and we keep it set at about 80-82 deg F all summer. For winter it is set about 68 deg F :)

I have done all the cleaning on the indoor and outdoor coils and had the freon charge checked can not do much more to keep this old unit running.

Originally posted by jab119:

Originally posted by oOWonderBreadOo:

you guys have nothing to complain about- you should see my electric bills in the summer! :0P


same here, this was the first summer in my new home and I did not plan on a $400 electric bill. we have a programable theromostat so its not running all day long. and Im constantlly turning lights off that my wife leaves on.

in our little condo we moved out of we kept it a 65 degrees during the summer and the highest out bill ever got was $120

James

12/08/2005 03:37:05 PM · #19
Now that they are putting in a subdivison across the street and killed off all the trees, i can see the smoke/steam and stacks of the local utility (Beaver Valley Nuclear Units 1 & 2, and a coal/gas/?? cogeneration plant) - i want a distributiuon discount for living so close! LOL

Elec here is 9.5 or per KwH. If you have elec heat after the first 500Kwh it drops to 3.3. At one point i remember we were the highest in the nation at 12 or 13c per, back before deregulation.

I like heat pumps, but it gets too cold here for too long for them to be efficient. I would like geothermal, but that guy talked me into the electric conversion.
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