Author Topic: Help Me Fix My Electrical Gluttony  (Read 5418 times)

The Dutchman

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Help Me Fix My Electrical Gluttony
« on: July 16, 2014, 08:17:37 AM »
I have attached this month's usage and my history.  Note that I moved in a year ago so start at August.   

I use CFCLs, recently insulated my attic, and don't have security lights running all night.  I live in Michigan where you can swim through the air because it is too humid some times.  So even though it may only be 85 it could feel like 95 and you will not be able to get away from the heat.  Running the AC is a necessity to bringing down the humidity. 

Do you guys have any suggestions of how to bring down this bill?  For a full year my average bill has been 116 $/month or 749 kwh/month.  I feel like I am living in a clown house. 

HELP!
« Last Edit: July 16, 2014, 08:31:01 AM by The Dutchman »

frugalnacho

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Re: Help Me Fix My Electrical Gluttony
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2014, 08:32:59 AM »
Where in michigan are you?  I am near detroit and have yet to run my AC this year.

Timmmy

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Re: Help Me Fix My Electrical Gluttony
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2014, 09:05:31 AM »
Where in michigan are you?  I am near detroit and have yet to run my AC this year.

You are a better man than I.  I have a window unit in the bedroom (door closed) that I run starting in the evening through the night when the heat/humidity is too much.  It's been turned on about a half dozen times this year.

I have a well insulated house with new windows.  I open them at night and use a window fan and a box fan to create a nice breeze through the house.  It will cool the house to match outside temps by AM.  In the AM I close the windows and it will stay cool all day. 

The Dutchman

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Re: Help Me Fix My Electrical Gluttony
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2014, 09:55:53 AM »
Where in michigan are you?  I am near detroit and have yet to run my AC this year.

You are a better man than I. 

Better than me too.  I have a wife who stays at home all day so the AC is on during peak times.  We have the t stat set to 76 I am thinking of bumping it up to 78. 

seattlecyclone

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Re: Help Me Fix My Electrical Gluttony
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2014, 10:58:41 AM »
Some tips:

1) Insulate your house.
2) Get thick curtains and keep them closed as much as possible when the sun is out.
3) Use your outdoor thermometer. The second the outside temperature dips below the inside temperature at night, open all the windows and use fans. Close the windows first thing in the morning.

This is our general strategy in Seattle. It's not as humid here, but we also have no air conditioning, so we have to do the best we can to keep the heat from entering the house during the day and cool it down as much as possible during the night.

okashira

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Re: Help Me Fix My Electrical Gluttony
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2014, 11:04:51 AM »
I have attached this month's usage and my history.  Note that I moved in a year ago so start at August.   

I use CFCLs, recently insulated my attic, and don't have security lights running all night.  I live in Michigan where you can swim through the air because it is too humid some times.  So even though it may only be 85 it could feel like 95 and you will not be able to get away from the heat.  Running the AC is a necessity to bringing down the humidity. 

Do you guys have any suggestions of how to bring down this bill?  For a full year my average bill has been 116 $/month or 749 kwh/month.  I feel like I am living in a clown house. 

HELP!

Your problem might be lack of information. Go through your entire house and inventory (make/model) every single thing plugged into the wall. Then determine how many hours per day each item is "used."
(that's two columns)
Then you will need to do the same with everything else that's wired to the house (heater, AC unit, etc)

Then size?, age of your house?, 2 story?


Timmmy

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Re: Help Me Fix My Electrical Gluttony
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2014, 11:15:57 AM »
Where in michigan are you?  I am near detroit and have yet to run my AC this year.

You are a better man than I. 

Better than me too.  I have a wife who stays at home all day so the AC is on during peak times.  We have the t stat set to 76 I am thinking of bumping it up to 78.

What does being home have to do with anything aside from a bit of heat generation?  My house using the above strategy stays nice and cool all day.  At night the house is cooled to well below the 76 you have your t stat set to.  It slowly warms throughout the day but it rarely even gets to the 76 you are talking about. 

If your wife is home she can manage this natural "AC" even better than I can.  I leave the house at 5am so I often miss out on ~2 hours of cooling in the morning. 

Seriously try this for a few days and be amazed at how well it works. 

1. Open windows at night when temps drop below your current indoor temp. 
2. Position box fans, or better yet buy a window fan or two, to create a cross breeze.  Blowing in from one side and out the other.  Cross breeze is key!
3. In the morning when temps outside rise above current indoor temps, close all windows.
4. Roll around in the pile of money you save.

There is nothing wrong with turning on the AC if it ever does go above your desired temp.  That's what I do.  If it ever gets too hot I run the AC for just my bedroom to make sleeping nice and comfy.  Like I said though.  I've only had to do that a few times this year.

I picked up a window fan at Home Depot a couple weeks ago for $35, FYI.

MayDay

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Re: Help Me Fix My Electrical Gluttony
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2014, 11:37:51 AM »
Wife being home matters because wife doesn't want to spend the day in the 86 degree 100% humidity house. Or so I have heard ::cough::.

We turn the a/c on when the house gets to about 85, which is frequently in the summer. We try to do windows open at night to cool everything down but 1. Overnight lows are frequently about 75 degrees. And 2. There are frequently thunderstorms overnight so we can only crack the windows.  My point is; it's highly dependant on local weather. Blanket statements arent really helpful.

That said, we try to keep the a/c off, run a fan, sleep naked, etc. We try to only turn the a/c on from say 3-8 pm if we do need it. And we have it set I think to 80 degrees, as we mostly just need humidity control.

FrugalSpendthrift

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Re: Help Me Fix My Electrical Gluttony
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2014, 11:42:50 AM »
  • How old is the air conditioner?  Central air?  Can you close off portions of the house that don't get used and don't need to be cooled?
  • How old is the refridgerator?
  • Do you have more than one refridgerator?
  • Do you run a dehumidifier?
  • Is there a DVR or desktop computer running constantly?

Pick up a Kill a Watt meter and figure out where your electricity is actually going.  Then it'll be pretty easy to decide where to reduce your usage.

MillenialMustache

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Re: Help Me Fix My Electrical Gluttony
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2014, 11:52:42 AM »
What temperature do you run your air at? We live in FL with high humidity and do 84 during the day when we are not home, 80 when we are home until bedtime, and then bump it down to 78. I even consider this a luxury, as my in-laws do not have AC in FL (yes, it is possible). Also, we run a dehumidifier all the time (it kicks on automatically once there is a certain amount of humidity in the air) This means we can run our AC less.

An old adage from my mother "fans cool people, not rooms" - are fans and lights ALWAYS turned off in a room when you leave them?

Our electric bill was $46 in June in FL last month, but we do have a solar hot water heater my DH built that causes us to heat water less, as well as a metal roof my DH installed.

TrMama

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Re: Help Me Fix My Electrical Gluttony
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2014, 12:05:56 PM »
What was going on in April? You have a weird spike in usage there. April seems like a month where you probably didn't use heat or AC but your usage was significantly higher than March and June. Whatever you did that month, stop doing it.

Are you running the dryer? If so, stop that. How old is the house? Does it have greenhouse-style windows? How old is the AC unit? Does your wife run the TV all day? Does she cook using the oven in the summer, thereby negating the AC? You seem to use the most energy in the summer, so I'd focus your efforts on getting the house as cool as possible without using the AC in order to save the most $.

Long term, can you put in a heat pump? These are commonly used in the PNW to provide heat in the winter and AC in the summer.

The Dutchman

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Re: Help Me Fix My Electrical Gluttony
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2014, 12:10:53 PM »
Seriously try this for a few days and be amazed at how well it works. 

1. Open windows at night when temps drop below your current indoor temp. 
2. Position box fans, or better yet buy a window fan or two, to create a cross breeze.  Blowing in from one side and out the other.  Cross breeze is key!
3. In the morning when temps outside rise above current indoor temps, close all windows.
4. Roll around in the pile of money you save.

Did this all the time when I lived by myself.  However I have a wife with Anxiety issues.  It is unthinkable for her to leave the windows open at night unless we sleep in that room.  I am trying to figure out how to get around this.  I am threatening security grates.  However, at the current time this is not an options.  Before anyone starts spouting off about going over this with her logically... stop.  You have clearly never delt with a person who has some sort of anxiety issue.  Logic does not govern.  Trust me I have had many fights trying. 

Wife being home matters because wife doesn't want to spend the day in the 86 degree 100% humidity house. Or so I have heard ::cough::.

We turn the a/c on when the house gets to about 85, which is frequently in the summer. We try to do windows open at night to cool everything down but 1. Overnight lows are frequently about 75 degrees. And 2. There are frequently thunderstorms overnight so we can only crack the windows.  My point is; it's highly dependant on local weather. Blanket statements arent really helpful.

This hits the nail on the head.  I 100% agree with what was said here. 

  • How old is the air conditioner?  Central air?  Can you close off portions of the house that don't get used and don't need to be cooled?
  • How old is the refridgerator?
  • Do you have more than one refridgerator?
  • Do you run a dehumidifier?
  • Is there a DVR or desktop computer running constantly?

Pick up a Kill a Watt meter and figure out where your electricity is actually going.  Then it'll be pretty easy to decide where to reduce your usage.

I may need to pick up a Kill A Watt meter. 

AC only 7 years old.
Refrigerator is 4 years old. 
One refrigerator and 1 chest freezer.  This is necessary because I will get a dear or two a year and need room for the meet.  My wife also may freeze some garden produce (fruits).
Dehumidifier pops on automatically in the basement when humidity is reached. 
Computer runs 24/7

... We live in FL with high humidity and do 84 during the day when we are not home, 80 when we are home until bedtime, and then bump it down to 78. I even consider this a luxury...

This is not an option as I have a stay at home wife.  So my house will need to be habitable 25/7.  Also, I will likely bump things up to 78; however, my wife is chasing around 2-3 kids during the day.  I will have a very grumpy sweaty wife if I go any higher than that.  Maybe you guys are not sweaters or do not have a 1 and 3 year old in the house. 


The Dutchman

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Re: Help Me Fix My Electrical Gluttony
« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2014, 12:12:36 PM »
What was going on in April? You have a weird spike in usage there. April seems like a month where you probably didn't use heat or AC but your usage was significantly higher than March and June. Whatever you did that month, stop doing it.

Long term, can you put in a heat pump? These are commonly used in the PNW to provide heat in the winter and AC in the summer.

No idea what happened in April.  Seriously a mystery. 

As far as long term items I plan on only living here 4 years.  So a 3 year pay off is the farthest out we can go. 

The Dutchman

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Re: Help Me Fix My Electrical Gluttony
« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2014, 12:17:00 PM »
A little more on the house:

Built in 69. 
1250 sf Ranch with Full Basement. 
Detached Garage.
Shingle roof with turtle backs. 
Brick Facade on 3 sides vinyl on the back.  The vinyl areas are insulated and the brick are not (no plans to do this as it is a 4 year pay back). 
Insulated the attic myself just prior to the winter with a ton of blow in. 

Furnace and AC 7 years Old High Efficiency (I don't remember the %)
Gas stove, dryer, and HW heater. 

Rollin

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Re: Help Me Fix My Electrical Gluttony
« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2014, 12:26:03 PM »
  • How old is the air conditioner?  Central air?  Can you close off portions of the house that don't get used and don't need to be cooled?
  • How old is the refridgerator?
  • Do you have more than one refridgerator?
  • Do you run a dehumidifier?
  • Is there a DVR or desktop computer running constantly?

Pick up a Kill a Watt meter and figure out where your electricity is actually going.  Then it'll be pretty easy to decide where to reduce your usage.

+1

It sounds like you have some older inefficient systems and appliances.  You'd be surprised how much an old fridge can eat.  Also, if they are inefficient they can be the equivalent of running a 1,000 watt space heater for four hours a day.  That is a lot of heat build up.  It may prove more mustacian to get a new unit.

Also, kill the vampire loads if you haven't already.

FrugalSpendthrift

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Re: Help Me Fix My Electrical Gluttony
« Reply #15 on: July 16, 2014, 12:35:41 PM »
  • How old is the air conditioner?  Central air?  Can you close off portions of the house that don't get used and don't need to be cooled?
  • How old is the refridgerator?
  • Do you have more than one refridgerator?
  • Do you run a dehumidifier?
  • Is there a DVR or desktop computer running constantly?

Pick up a Kill a Watt meter and figure out where your electricity is actually going.  Then it'll be pretty easy to decide where to reduce your usage.

I may need to pick up a Kill A Watt meter. 

AC only 7 years old.
Refrigerator is 4 years old. 
One refrigerator and 1 chest freezer.  This is necessary because I will get a dear or two a year and need room for the meet.  My wife also may freeze some garden produce (fruits).
Dehumidifier pops on automatically in the basement when humidity is reached. 
Computer runs 24/7
The appliances aren't too old, so they aren't likely to be huge energy hogs.  At least take a look at the a/c condenser, to make sure it isn't filthy, because that could ruin it's efficiency.  Chest freezers are generally pretty efficient because they are rarely opened and the cool air doesn't poor out when the lid is opened.

On the dehumidifier, can you change the settings?  When I set mine below 60%, it runs way too frequently and makes the basement a little too dry.  Not really necessary for comfort.  The 60% setting on my dehumidifier is way off from my analog humidity gauge, it actually gets much drier than 60%.

Can you shut off the computer or at least make it automatically go to sleep?

Timmmy

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Re: Help Me Fix My Electrical Gluttony
« Reply #16 on: July 16, 2014, 12:43:27 PM »
Wife being home matters because wife doesn't want to spend the day in the 86 degree 100% humidity house. Or so I have heard ::cough::.

We turn the a/c on when the house gets to about 85, which is frequently in the summer. We try to do windows open at night to cool everything down but 1. Overnight lows are frequently about 75 degrees. And 2. There are frequently thunderstorms overnight so we can only crack the windows.  My point is; it's highly dependant on local weather. Blanket statements arent really helpful.

That said, we try to keep the a/c off, run a fan, sleep naked, etc. We try to only turn the a/c on from say 3-8 pm if we do need it. And we have it set I think to 80 degrees, as we mostly just need humidity control.

Well considering he lives in the same state as I and I live fairly close to the southern border I'd say my blanket statements are pretty accurate.  If anything, the weather in the rest of the state requires less AC. 

$98.65
$82.53
$84.79
$72.58
$71.17
$65.30
$65.58

That's my 2014 amount billed so far.  I run about 100 gallons of tropical (read: heated) aquariums and a tankless electric hot water heater.  My usage goes down in the summer as the tanks no longer require much heating and I rarely use the AC. 

Your usage is off the charts! 

If AC adjustments are off the table a kill-a-watt would help.  At least figure out where it's going. 
« Last Edit: July 16, 2014, 12:54:25 PM by Timmmy »