Author Topic: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?  (Read 199636 times)

MrSal

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #650 on: April 13, 2015, 11:15:08 AM »
My solar power system was installed last month and has been generating around 14 kwh per day on average since then, which has reduced our consumption cost by nearly half. We now try to use high power appliances during periods of peak generation to take best advantage of the system.

If anyone is interested, the following is a link to the pvout website with stats for my system http://pvoutput.org/intraday.jsp?id=37052&sid=34002. Due to problems I was having for a while feeding correct consumption data to this website, these statistics are only useful since I fixed it on 09 Apr15.

how much did it cost? 14 kWh a day would be enough for us and still sell almost 4 kWh a day!

Ozstache

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #651 on: April 13, 2015, 04:13:07 PM »
My solar power system was installed last month and has been generating around 14 kwh per day on average since then, which has reduced our consumption cost by nearly half. We now try to use high power appliances during periods of peak generation to take best advantage of the system.

If anyone is interested, the following is a link to the pvout website with stats for my system http://pvoutput.org/intraday.jsp?id=37052&sid=34002. Due to problems I was having for a while feeding correct consumption data to this website, these statistics are only useful since I fixed it on 09 Apr15.

how much did it cost? 14 kWh a day would be enough for us and still sell almost 4 kWh a day!

It cost $7000, which is quite high for a 3.7kW system (even for expensive Oz!) because I went with quality panels and micro inverters. The micro inverters were necessary because I have a neighbour's tree shading some of the panels during winter mornings and it allows the system to still function at 75%+ generation capacity (versus 0%) during such shading. The system will probably take 8-10 years to pay itself off.

Although 14kw is more than I need in a day too, in winter I will be more inclined to use an electric heater to warm up the room I am in while the sun is shining rather than using the gas central heating. While this means my electricity consumption will go up in winter, it will not cost me any more and I will instead be saving money on gas.

One thing that has happened in Oz lately is the Feed In Tariff (FIT) rates have dropped quite significantly, meaning you are far better off using any excess generation you have (if you practically can, like in my heating example above) rather than passing it back to the power grid. The FIT is currently about 1/6 of the consumption rate for where I live.

Regardless of the economics of the system, the thing that pleases me most is that I produce more electricity that I consume, hence I am as close to environmentally neutral as possible with this amenity.

LennStar

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #652 on: April 14, 2015, 02:05:02 AM »
Funny looking LED - Mark thinks its good and cheap

http://boingboing.net/2015/04/13/philips-dimmable-led-bulb-for.html

The first time I have ever seen this shape.


dunhamjr

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #653 on: April 15, 2015, 09:29:38 AM »
Funny looking LED - Mark thinks its good and cheap

http://boingboing.net/2015/04/13/philips-dimmable-led-bulb-for.html

The first time I have ever seen this shape.

i have bought a large number of these.  HD had them on sale 6 months ago or so, for about $3.  i think i ended up buying about 25 of them.  i have replaced pretty much every bulb in the house possible so far.

i like that they dim, they give off even less heat than a CFL and they are essentially all plastic, so are very safe for kids/lamps (won't burn or shatter)

Bardo

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #654 on: May 02, 2015, 08:44:38 AM »
For April my usage was 4.8 kwH/day, a new record for me.  Unfortunately we're headed into the cooling months so it will be going up, but I'm happy to have a new low baseline.


MrSal

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #655 on: May 03, 2015, 06:39:58 PM »
And as expected we hit about 230 kWh  for 32 days in the cycle! Pretty good! Our bill will be about 38 dollars which the evolution from the past is staggering.

Heat for April also dropped by 59% compared to last year.



Savings of 1000 dollars a year on utilities continues on track!

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #656 on: May 04, 2015, 07:32:00 AM »
Billing period: 10 January to 10 April
Total kWh: 269.6kWh
Total kWh per day: 2.96 kWh

Billing rates (inc GST):
Usage: ~24.5c/kWh
Supply charge: $1.0977/day

Total bill: $165.97 for the quarter

I think I need a new power provider. I used a shade more this bill than last bill (which was 2.7kWh a day). I attribute this to purchasing a TV and replacing my tiny little stereo (which died), with my older, bigger stereo. Maybe getting a new small stereo is worthwhile. :)

As the weather is cooling down, and I don't have central heating, I expect my electric column heater to see more use soon (although I'm trying to see if I can make it until June before plugging it in).

Ottawa

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #657 on: May 13, 2015, 06:13:12 PM »
Last year of electricity for us.  Not many new tweaks to save...close to half of our use compared to pre MMM!
Basically, when the furnace isn't running (March - Nov) our use appears to be around 8kWh per day.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2015, 06:16:25 PM by Ottawa »
Signing up for Tangerine Bank?  Let's both earn some cash!  Here is my Tangerine Key: 43684467S1  Cheers.

1967mama

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #658 on: May 16, 2015, 06:12:44 PM »
I'm into my 2nd year of tracking/reducing our power usage. Last year, we were down 13% for the year, so my power company sent me a cheque for $75 (it was a contest to reduce usage by at least 10%). 

This year, I am down another 1%, 6 months in but we still have ahead of us: reducing use of summer a/c, hanging more laundry loads, and NOT using heat until late in the fall. 

I am still really enjoying my little power usage device (mentioned upthread) that shows how much we are drawing in any given second ... good automatic feedback. As an example, I can't believe how much MORE power my oven uses on convection mode vs. regular baking mode!


MikeBear

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #659 on: May 16, 2015, 08:19:05 PM »
I'm into my 2nd year of tracking/reducing our power usage. Last year, we were down 13% for the year, so my power company sent me a cheque for $75 (it was a contest to reduce usage by at least 10%). 

This year, I am down another 1%, 6 months in but we still have ahead of us: reducing use of summer a/c, hanging more laundry loads, and NOT using heat until late in the fall. 

I am still really enjoying my little power usage device (mentioned upthread) that shows how much we are drawing in any given second ... good automatic feedback. As an example, I can't believe how much MORE power my oven uses on convection mode vs. regular baking mode!

Convection mode also uses the broiler element, I believe. So both the baking element, and the broiler element running at the same time. That's a lot of wattage.

bzzzt

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #660 on: May 17, 2015, 06:13:36 PM »
I threw the Kill-a-Watt back on the old "tan with wood handles" fridge when I noticed our usage was already up for this month only 10 days in. It had used 1.5kWh in 6 hours! Granted, it's almost 80 here today. Time to really get with the program and hunt up a newer one on CL.

tlps

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #661 on: May 25, 2015, 04:25:52 PM »
having read through this very interesting thread I have just checked my last couple of bills.......

23 Dec 14 to 28 Jan 15: 37 days - 154kWh (ave for this bill = 4.16kWh/day)
29 Jan 15 to 11 Mar 15: 42 days - 164kWh (ave for this bill = 3.90kWh/day, overall ave = 4.03kWh/day)
12 Mar 15 to 28 Apr 15: 48 days - 171kwh (ave for this bill = 3.56kWh/day, overall ave = 3.85kWh/day)

going to try to remember to submit my meter readings online each month to my supplier so I can keep an eye on the usage.......but it doesn't seem to bad.......

Tenlha

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #662 on: May 29, 2015, 04:41:40 PM »
New Mustachian. Check out the May bill! I think we started cutting the a/c usage several days to more than a week after the start of the billing period, but I'm not sure exactly when. I'm actually excited to see next month's bill! I already cleaned the dryer vent and the fridge filter. Next, starting to line-drying clothes...

                         2014        2015
January           $103.09    $98.36
February         $99.61      $94.23
March              $85.31      $88.17
April                 $96.30      $90.36
May                  $134.40    $78.93
June                 $148.78    
July                  $192.19    
August             $167.44    
September       $191.44    
October            $132.78    
November        $105.95    
December        $89.69    

MoneyCat

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #663 on: May 29, 2015, 10:19:55 PM »
With two days left in the month, we reached a new record in solar energy production this month: 519 kWh.  We've been banking over 100 kWh of power per month over the past three months to use in July and August when we'll be forced to use our central air conditioning.  We've been producing an average of 17.89 kWh of power per day and using about 9 kWh per day.  If that seems a little high, it's because my wife drives a plug-in hybrid car.  We actually bought the car after the 3.57 kW system was designed, so we're happy that the system supports it so well.

tlps

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #664 on: June 04, 2015, 04:09:32 PM »

23 Dec 14 to 28 Jan 15: 37 days - 154kWh (ave for this bill = 4.16kWh/day)
29 Jan 15 to 11 Mar 15: 42 days - 164kWh (ave for this bill = 3.90kWh/day, overall ave = 4.03kWh/day)
12 Mar 15 to 28 Apr 15: 48 days - 171kwh (ave for this bill = 3.56kWh/day, overall ave = 3.85kWh/day)
29 Apr 15 to 31 May 15: 33 days - 111kWh (ave for this bill = 3.36kWh/day, overall ave = 3.75kWh/day)

still going down...........

zephyr911

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #665 on: June 06, 2015, 07:28:50 AM »
3.12kW of solar is being installed at our place this week... I've wanted it for years and finally have everything in place!
It won't cover all of our usage at current rates, but we have lots of energy upgrades planned - eventually I want to turn our current place net-zero.
Semi-FIREd December 2017, part-time entrepreneur, lover of puppies and saltwater.

Ozstache

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #666 on: June 07, 2015, 01:49:45 AM »
I'm giving my solar power system a good workout during our Australian winter, using power that would otherwise have been exported for a low feed-in-tariff to run a normally-wasteful electric heaters in the room in which we spend most time during the day, opening out to the rest of the house in the afternoon. This has meant our gas central heating bill has nearly halved, on track to save us around $500 for the winter gas bill quarter. Electricity consumption from the grid has also dropped by around 50% and we are still exporting some power to the grid, which will save us another $200 a quarter. At this rate of saving, our solar power system should have paid itself off within 5 years.

wkumtrider

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #667 on: June 09, 2015, 06:28:30 AM »
The worst is when the local utility reads your meter incorrectly.  I got my bill for May and it was much higher than expected ($147!!).  I checked the meter against the reading listed on the bill and they were off by almost 1 kw.  I called the utility and they sent me a corrected bill.  Only $67!  This was the second time this has happened.

wintersun

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #668 on: June 09, 2015, 05:32:40 PM »
How do you figure out whether solar is a good idea for your budget?  How long do you all think it takes to see a return and how long will the panels last?

grantmeaname

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #669 on: June 09, 2015, 08:27:07 PM »
That depends an awful lot on how much electricity you use and how much sunlight you get. Google provides some good guides like this one.

LennStar

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #670 on: June 10, 2015, 01:06:29 AM »
How do you figure out whether solar is a good idea for your budget?  How long do you all think it takes to see a return and how long will the panels last?
Its really all about your local situation. Thats one thing where you need a "specialist" or spend weeks doing nothing else then get informed about it. It depends on your yearly sun hour (can be quite different between spots only 20 miles away from eah other), the horizontal and vertical degree you can use, if you can clean the modules (and how!) and very very important the shadows. Dependig on how its made a single shadow from a street lamp can reduce the energy production to nearly nothing.

Ozstache

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #671 on: June 10, 2015, 03:23:06 PM »
How do you figure out whether solar is a good idea for your budget?  How long do you all think it takes to see a return and how long will the panels last?

You need to run an ROI calculation, which most solar power companies are happy to do for you but there are also some free independent ones out there in googleland, to see if/when solar power pays for itself. In my case, I was looking at around a 10 year payback on the expectation that I would consume 40% of my generated power and be paid for the excess that I exported, and I was happy with that. I have easily exceeded 40% since installation and now, in early winter where I am using localised electric heating during the day to offset gas central heating costs, I am currently averaging around 85% consumption of generated power and have reduced my winter gas consumption by over 50%, leading to a reigning in of ROI by around half.

Re panel life, mine are warranted for 15 years from one of the largest solar power retailers in Australia, which improves the chance they would actually be around in the event of failure many years away. I will be very happy if they last at least 20 years.

LennStar

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #672 on: June 11, 2015, 06:50:55 AM »
Panel life is not panel life.
Some parts break down after a certain time, but the rest still works. Also there is "wear and tear" on the glass and so on...
Thats why companies give "80% for 10 years!" guarantees and such like.
Theoretically, perhaps with a bit rewiring and a few parts (power converter) exchanged, there is no reason why you shouldn't get out above 50% after 50 years of the panels themselves. But of course you cant know that, there is no real live module working that long.

I heard of both low-quality modules (first china ones) going under 60% after 10 years and high quality products going way above 80% after 20 years.
Kyocera says the modules itself are above 90% after 25 years on their first big installation.
And another producer gives nearly 87% guarantee after 30 years (for their best products) and 80% after 25 years for the normal ones. 

So photovoltaic may not be the best investment compared to stock, but they should always give a good return on money and environment in the long run if you have the conditions for them.
Now we only have to figure out how to store the energy better...

grantmeaname

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #673 on: June 11, 2015, 06:53:43 AM »
Don't worry, Elon is on it.

nawhite

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #674 on: June 11, 2015, 09:55:42 AM »
How do you figure out whether solar is a good idea for your budget?  How long do you all think it takes to see a return and how long will the panels last?

You need to run an ROI calculation, which most solar power companies are happy to do for you but there are also some free independent ones out there in googleland, to see if/when solar power pays for itself. ...

I used this:
http://pvwatts.nrel.gov/

You enter your address, your panel orientation, the number/size of panels and your current cost of electricity and it dumps out your expected energy production and savings based on weather in your area and expected losses from other equipment. It's pretty slick for a free government tool.
We live in an RV full time while still working remotely. Check it out at http://therecklesschoice.com

UKfire

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #675 on: June 12, 2015, 12:15:11 AM »
My solar power system was installed last month and has been generating around 14 kwh per day on average since then, which has reduced our consumption cost by nearly half. We now try to use high power appliances during periods of peak generation to take best advantage of the system.

If anyone is interested, the following is a link to the pvout website with stats for my system http://pvoutput.org/intraday.jsp?id=37052&sid=34002. Due to problems I was having for a while feeding correct consumption data to this website, these statistics are only useful since I fixed it on 09 Apr15.

Hi Ozstache,

How are you uploading your consumption data to PVoutput?  I upload my generation data PVoutput but not currently my consumption.

Thanks,
Steve

Ozstache

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #676 on: June 12, 2015, 06:46:54 PM »
My solar power system was installed last month and has been generating around 14 kwh per day on average since then, which has reduced our consumption cost by nearly half. We now try to use high power appliances during periods of peak generation to take best advantage of the system.

If anyone is interested, the following is a link to the pvout website with stats for my system http://pvoutput.org/intraday.jsp?id=37052&sid=34002. Due to problems I was having for a while feeding correct consumption data to this website, these statistics are only useful since I fixed it on 09 Apr15.

Hi Ozstache,

How are you uploading your consumption data to PVoutput?  I upload my generation data PVoutput but not currently my consumption.

Thanks,
Steve

I use an Efergy Engage Hub internet kit to feed my consumption data into pvoutput, which accepts Efergy data through an API key you pre-configure. When my solar power system was installed, I had the electrician put the sensor clamp around all main supply wires coming off the main circuit breaker with the specific exception of the solar feed in wire, so that true consumption can be monitored.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2015, 06:49:37 PM by Ozstache »

b4u2

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #677 on: June 15, 2015, 08:57:08 AM »
I am still searching for a cheap way to monitor our energy usage so I can see what we are using in real time. I have a TED but it's not tied into the whole house so was basically a waste. I almost need a way to monitor the main wires coming in. It would be nice to just shut the whole house down and turn things on one at a time and start monitoring what each appliance, light bulb, cell phone charger, dryer, washer, dishwasher, air conditioner, costs us to run. I have a kill-a-watt but even it only provides data for the device it's plugged in to.

MoneyCat

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #678 on: June 15, 2015, 02:14:42 PM »
If we can hold out on not turning on the air conditioning for another two weeks, we'll have saved up enough power to run the air conditioning for the entire summer for free.  It's been tough the last few days, though.  It's been in the 90s and very, very humid.  We've been spending our days in the basement to stay cool.  It will be worth it, though, if we can stay net zero on our electric bill and help save the planet.

UKfire

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #679 on: June 16, 2015, 02:46:46 AM »
Take a look at www.openenergymonitor.org  it's low cost, realtime, very configurable but needs some experience with electronics and software.  I've been playing around with for the past year or so.

wintersun

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #680 on: June 16, 2015, 07:24:49 AM »
Our electric bill has gone down again. it looks as though it is due to not using the dishwasher and turning off the hot water heater to the kitchen.

I have a question, when people talk about wrapping their water heaters is that because they live in very cold places? Is there a temperature above which it is not worth the investment?


Mikhial

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #681 on: June 16, 2015, 07:30:51 AM »
Our energy usage confuses me. We average about 14kWh a day, but it will sometimes spike up to 30kWh. This past weekend I figured we'd see another spike. I did 4 loads of laundry on Friday and cooked a decent amount on Sunday while having the AC set less than normal. Both days our usage wasn't to high. I'm not sure what's causing those spikes.

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk


Mikhial

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #682 on: June 26, 2015, 09:04:30 PM »
Our energy usage confuses me. We average about 14kWh a day, but it will sometimes spike up to 30kWh. This past weekend I figured we'd see another spike. I did 4 loads of laundry on Friday and cooked a decent amount on Sunday while having the AC set less than normal. Both days our usage wasn't to high. I'm not sure what's causing those spikes.

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk
Well, I didn't have any more 30kWh days. Just got our bill for this month. $85 down from $135 two months ago! Our usage went down to what we were using in the winter.

urover

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #683 on: July 02, 2015, 05:17:59 AM »
March is one of the warmer months of the year here in tropical India, followed by intense heat in April and May. Our bill for the month of March came to less than 10$ for 190 units (kwh). We pay 5cents per unit, which is not very expensive. We are an upper middle class family that more or less lives on american middle class standards in terms of what we own and use. Our house is 1700sq ft in area.

Let me know if anyone's interested in knowing the details of how we achieve low bills.

Yes, please.

Okay, where do I begin.

We're a total CFL family with just one LED fitting that we purchased for "testing". We've equipped every bedroom with two 20W CFLs (3 bedrooms). We use only one for all purposes except if we're reading or doing some light-intensive activity. The one LED is 10W that outs as much light as the 20W CFL (consumes as much electricity as the Nexus 7 charger I own - very little )

Unlike some typical American bathrooms with 4-6 traditional bulbs lighting up the tiny space, we run a 5W CFL in the smaller baths and a 11W CFL in the large bath. Believe me, this is sufficient lighting for even shaving!

Our large living room gets one tubelight at one end and three CFLs in the other end. Most of the time, for TV watching, we use one CFL. We switch on all lights when we have visitors - it's very bright but the total consumption is still only 83W all fixtures together!

We don't need water heating at all during these months as water is sufficiently hot with sunlight on the external pipes. 0$ on water heating.

Every member in the family owns a laptop (all of them are atleast 4 years old minimum) and a smartphone each. The laptops are rated 65W each when charging, but don't consume much (didn't measure) when only topping up. Smartphones are already quite efficient. I calculated and realized I was spending less than 50cents to charge my phone annually.

Our Air Conditioners are all semi-programmable. We don't run them until bedtime. And then we program them to run for 2-3 hours and switch off. This is enough time to cool down your body and then comfortable enough to continue to sleep with help from the ceiling fans. Yes, you may feel the heat a bit during daytime without AC, but we're all used to it in this part of the country.

We have a average sized fridge that was rated 4/5 stars on energy efficiency when we purchased it. Will post the exact wattage when I take a look at the back of it.

Ofcourse, cooking is on gas (LPG) so we don't get elec bills for cooking.

MrSal

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #684 on: May 01, 2018, 04:41:50 PM »
Update:



This is our average now... we still have an old fridge that is being replaced... honestly, we use the Dryer a lot... the amount of time and hassle of taking out and hanging lots of little things on the line does not seem worth it for the most part... I do tend to not put in the dryer heavy things like jeans, towels and sweaters. Those I do hang on the line. Other things that I deem "thin" enough I mostly put them in the dryer.

Our electrical bill is around 50-60$/month

We have NG heat and water heater.

I expect the average to go down with the new attic insulation... also eventually in the future, once our dryer dies out... I will buy an European dryer that uses 50-60% less energy than an american dryer - European dryers are heat pumps.

SmartMoves

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #685 on: May 03, 2018, 03:51:04 AM »
My gf has a habit of leaving the lights on so I installed a motion activated light in the hallway. It hasn't solved the issue in the rest of the house but I do get a sense of satisfaction from sorting it out in the hall at least!

dcheesi

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #686 on: May 03, 2018, 12:56:31 PM »
I've been spending a lot of time at my gf's place recently (she's allergic to my cats). I realized the other day that my electric bill is likely to be higher than normal this Spring, simply because I'm not home to open the windows in the evenings.

I've already got the Heat and AC settings dialed back as far as I'm willing to go, even unoccupied*, so there's not much room for improvement there. Once we're solidly into the Summer months it won't matter, but right now I'm missing out on that sweet, sweet night-time cooling!

[* medicines etc. tend to list storage temps of 77F or below, so that dictates the high end for me. Low is of course dependent on how well your pipes are insulated, and in my case how much I like my cats ;) ]

Arbitrage

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #687 on: May 03, 2018, 08:10:43 PM »
Looks like a bit over 11 kWh per day for a family of four.  Near-coastal SoCal (about 5 miles inland - if you're not familiar with SoCal microclimates just know that every mile inland raises the summer temperature quite a bit), medium-sized house, gas for water heater, dryer, and furnace.  Furnace doesn't get a whole lot of usage, as you'd probably expect.  We do have central A/C, but only really turn it on (typically no more than a few hours per day) for the occasional heat wave in July, August, and September most years. 

Unfortunately, we do have some of the highest energy rates in the country, so our electric bills still aren't that cheap.  Rooftop solar would be a pretty good option for us, though the payoff would be far longer than we're planning to stay in this house.  Yes, I know we might recoup some of the cost on sale, but my preference is to have that money invested.  Trying to get out of SoCal to retire, after all!

JoshuaSpodek

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #688 on: June 08, 2018, 10:59:17 AM »
My latest electrical bill shows my usage is slightly up since last year. I'm still working on lowering it since i don't like polluting.

It's me in Manhattan in a 500 square foot apartment. The pressure cooker and fridge probably use the most. I use a/c and heat about 10 or 20 hours per year, mainly when people visit and "need" more than a fan. The washing machine is in the basement so doesn't show on my bill, but I dry using a rack in the sun.

I average around 1.5 kWh daily. I think in April I was out of town and unplugged my fridge.

I pay 3 times more on taxes and surcharges than for the power I use.

« Last Edit: June 08, 2018, 11:04:59 AM by JoshuaSpodek »

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #689 on: June 08, 2018, 11:33:13 AM »
Glad this thread popped up! We're higher than we would like to be. We're coming on our second summer in this house. Dryer and water heater are natural gas, so really we should be EVEN lower. Heat pump is our primary HVAC source though, and it's original to the house. Actually just had a tech out yesterday- should run better now and last a couple more years, and then we'll go for a more efficient model.

Going through my bills, a couple things I noticed:
-the wildfires last year KILLED us. The air was rated "hazardous," so we couldn't open up for weeks at a time. So August and September of last year had more than double our usual energy use- usually I open up at night, close up during the day, that standard.
-Months my parents come to visit were way worse on the electricity front. No surprise there.

This thread got me looking into my oven habit. It looks like, while convection may draw more energy, it's better than conventional since it reduces cook time so much? Still, I was shocked at the absolute energy use of the oven. I really need to curb my oven habit. I just LOVE roasted vegetables though, so much more than any other form of cooking. Sigh.

This whole thread and subsequent investigation was eye opening. I thought we were more energy efficient than we are. That was a bummer to discover.

Ran numbers on electric panels. We really want them, since we have a S facing roof and my electrical engineer husband loves PV. But it calculated out to a 12 year payback period =\ Not great. Too grey too much of the year I guess, boo.
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Gremlin

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #690 on: June 11, 2018, 10:28:48 PM »
We've got solar on our roof.  Due to govt incentives that were in place when we installed, we generate a MUCH higher rate pumping back to the grid than we are charged taking FROM the grid.  This creates some really perverse disincentives to use our own solar generation.

In addition, we've just gotten a plug-in hybrid car.  The (dis)incentives are such that I get lowest net costs from the car when I charge it during peak electricity times from coal-fired sources, moderate costs when I run it on petrol and highest net costs when I use the solar panels on my roof to recharge the batteries.

On an almost daily basis I flip-flop between wanting to do what's most cost effective and wanting to do what's best for the environment!  Any tips?

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #691 on: June 12, 2018, 06:37:25 AM »
Keep in mind that someone is using the solar-generated power even if you donít, so youíre still providing a net improvement to the power system as a whole. I think you can do whatís most cost-effective for you with a clear conscience.

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #692 on: June 13, 2018, 11:40:08 AM »
Advice Wanted!

We are using up to 3,000 kWh per month in the winter and up to 1500 kWh in the summer -- YIKES! What should be some next steps?

~Family of 5, 1890 sq ft single family home with no basement. 1974 house w/a thin layer of batting insulation under housewrap and plywood siding. Attached garage is totally uninsulated/no HVAC. Attic has quite a lot of batting.

~We live in Virginia, USA. Swampy summers and cold winters.

~All electric utilities. Baseboard heaters and central a/c. We had a propane fireplace that heated 2 rooms, but it was costing $300+ to fill twice per winter so we've turned it off.

~We don't have the right wiring for programmable thermostats. So we turn them all down/up daily.

~10 loads of laundry washed and dried per week. I've tried to reduce this, but we exercise, have multiple kids in sports, school uniforms come home muddy every day, and DH is VERY picky about cleanliness (and clean sheets, towels, etc.). Washer and dryer are HE bought in 2012.

~Our house and yard are HEAVILY shaded with oaks and hickory -- I have tried hanging laundry out and it is filthy after a few hours with all of the dirt, pollen, insects, and other debris that falls from our 100+ year old trees, plus there isn't much sunlight.

~Lots of lights on all day because with our heavy shade, it is DARK inside of our house during the day. Can't see to cook, read, play, clean etc. without lights on.

~Youngest child and I are home all day, older 2 kids are home all summer, and DH often works from home too. He runs a server with an uninterruptible power supply, we keep a Disney Circle on for filtering, we have frequent use of 2 laptops, 2 phones, 1 ipad, 1 kindle, and Amazon echo and some TV and Playstation. Kids also run in/out often which means doors are opened frequently.
 
~Hot water heater and fridge/oven were new in 2005, dishwasher was new in 2012. I cook/bake all of meals from scratch so use the kitchen appliances daily.  Dishwasher runs 2 full loads per day. No second fridge or freezer.

~1 outdoor light (porch light) on a motion sensor.

~Solar seems like it isn't an option with the limited sunlight that reaches us.

Heat pump and new siding seemed like obvious steps to us, but 2 different neighbors who have the exact same model house upgraded to these and tell us they had no measurable difference in utilities. It's possible they don't pay close enough attention, but that was discouraging.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #693 on: June 13, 2018, 12:54:24 PM »
Advice Wanted!
Yes, you have issues.  Our house (2006) is almost twice the square footage and we peak at about 1,800KWh/mo.

Step 1 is to gather information.  Rent an FLIR camera on a cold day in winter and tromp around in your house to find the cold spots.  After that, it's a matter of:
--air sealing everything
--making sure attic insulation is deep enough and there aren't gaps
--making sure attic is vented properly
--setting thermostat appropriately.  BTW, I don't understand how you can't install a programmable thermostat.  At worst, you'd have to use a battery-powered one.

Other thoughts:
--HE laundry usually means a larger number of smaller loads, so the gains in efficiency may not be as high as you expect. (You'll pry my top-loading, enormous capacity, water-guzzling, electromechanical washer from my cold, dead hands!)
--If you find that you're losing a lot of energy through your walls, if you're considering installing new siding, you might as well spring for the extra expense of packing your exterior walls with high-density blown-in cellulose.
--Since you have electric heat, lights in the winter won't actually affect your bills--any electricity they use will heat the house, slightly reducing the load on your baseboard heaters.
--How beefy of a server does DH run?  If he's mining cryptocurrency with it, then yeah, that'll drive up your bill. If it's just a low-load file server or web server, he might be better off replacing it with a laptop or a virtual server on Linode or Digital Ocean.

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #694 on: June 13, 2018, 01:14:43 PM »
Advice Wanted!

We are using up to 3,000 kWh per month in the winter and up to 1500 kWh in the summer -- YIKES! What should be some next steps?

~Family of 5, 1890 sq ft single family home with no basement. 1974 house w/a thin layer of batting insulation under housewrap and plywood siding. Attached garage is totally uninsulated/no HVAC. Attic has quite a lot of batting.

~We live in Virginia, USA. Swampy summers and cold winters.

~All electric utilities. Baseboard heaters and central a/c. We had a propane fireplace that heated 2 rooms, but it was costing $300+ to fill twice per winter so we've turned it off.

~We don't have the right wiring for programmable thermostats. So we turn them all down/up daily.

~10 loads of laundry washed and dried per week. I've tried to reduce this, but we exercise, have multiple kids in sports, school uniforms come home muddy every day, and DH is VERY picky about cleanliness (and clean sheets, towels, etc.). Washer and dryer are HE bought in 2012.

~Our house and yard are HEAVILY shaded with oaks and hickory -- I have tried hanging laundry out and it is filthy after a few hours with all of the dirt, pollen, insects, and other debris that falls from our 100+ year old trees, plus there isn't much sunlight.

~Lots of lights on all day because with our heavy shade, it is DARK inside of our house during the day. Can't see to cook, read, play, clean etc. without lights on.

~Youngest child and I are home all day, older 2 kids are home all summer, and DH often works from home too. He runs a server with an uninterruptible power supply, we keep a Disney Circle on for filtering, we have frequent use of 2 laptops, 2 phones, 1 ipad, 1 kindle, and Amazon echo and some TV and Playstation. Kids also run in/out often which means doors are opened frequently.
 
~Hot water heater and fridge/oven were new in 2005, dishwasher was new in 2012. I cook/bake all of meals from scratch so use the kitchen appliances daily.  Dishwasher runs 2 full loads per day. No second fridge or freezer.

~1 outdoor light (porch light) on a motion sensor.

~Solar seems like it isn't an option with the limited sunlight that reaches us.

Heat pump and new siding seemed like obvious steps to us, but 2 different neighbors who have the exact same model house upgraded to these and tell us they had no measurable difference in utilities. It's possible they don't pay close enough attention, but that was discouraging.

Use cold water on your washer loads. My wife is very picky as well to the point if she uses a sweater!! once it goes to wash even if it isnt dirty... even jackets/winter jackets and Blazers!!! i have seen her put in the wash after 1 or 2 uses... since they are not dirty, i just wash all the time in cold water. Energy usage is pretty low on a washer at 150 watts per load or so...

Lights make sure to be LEDs or CFLs ... makes a big difference

If you are on the way to replace heating system and or AC don't go the normal heat pump route... go for the Mini split systems. They have COPs of 4, meaning that they use 1 kwh of energy and create 4!

That means your 3000 kWh during winter time, if 2000 kwh is just for heating, with minisplit it would only use 1/4 of that. Not to mention you only heat the areas you want to heat... and it also works as AC very efficiently. Its even cheaper than having natural gas heating since 1- its cheaper on a kwh basis... and 2- by not having NG you dont have to pay a customer fee.

I would also insulate the heck out of it... especially attic. I did mine from R12-15 to R60 and the difference is ridiculous... in heating alone it saved us 40% ... still awaiting to see AC... however my report says so far this year I have only used 2 hours of AC! vs last year at 12 hours.. all this being hotter this year 15% so far...
« Last Edit: June 13, 2018, 01:46:05 PM by MrSal »

TheWifeHalf

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #695 on: June 13, 2018, 01:36:33 PM »
We get a total for last year, so it's 25/day
We use air conditioning June- beginning of Sept, on average.
Heating, cooking, clothes dryer are gas, but of course use electricity.

The nuclear power plant in this county is shutting down, and THH says they built an electricity generating plant out by where he works that's already working, and another is being built. They use natural gas - Why? - fracking made it cheaper!

wauske

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #696 on: June 13, 2018, 10:57:17 PM »
Heat pump and new siding seemed like obvious steps to us, but 2 different neighbors who have the exact same model house upgraded to these and tell us they had no measurable difference in utilities. It's possible they don't pay close enough attention, but that was discouraging.

Advice for the heatpump: look it up! A heatpump works best at  higher outside temperature and the colder it gets the less efficient it gets. There are exclusions to this like a CO2 filled units but these use air to water and not air to air.
If you are not willing to use air to water then at least set the air blown at the lowest temperature you need to keep the house comfortable. It's better to run the unit continuesly at lower power than intermittently at peak power.

Because your siding is wood I presume your flooring is too, this means you have no thermal mass in which underfloor heating can pull the most efficiency out of a heatpump. It is likely that the investment into a heatpump is not cost effective if you dont add insulation and add thermal mass to help store heat for a while.

Insulation is also major factor, if your house loses heat fast a heatpump has to work at higher temperatures to compensate that which also means higher electric and lower efficiency.

Disclaimer: I have a new heatpump which uses my water filled radiators so not a comparable situation. Also, my house is entirely made of stone with very thick insulation and highly insulated windowpanes.
 The contractor rated our installation at around 1200kwh per year where the previous used 18-20GJ which is around 5000kwh.
Everything I say is my personal opinion which is based on my subjective experience.

kei te pai

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #697 on: June 14, 2018, 12:28:10 AM »
Are the trees on your property? A skilled arborist should be able to selectively open and prune or remove trees to allow adequate light to your house. Winter sun makes a substantial difference to comfort.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #698 on: June 14, 2018, 08:11:12 AM »
Are the trees on your property? A skilled arborist should be able to selectively open and prune or remove trees to allow adequate light to your house. Winter sun makes a substantial difference to comfort.

Yeah, you'll also get some major quality of life improvements having more regular natural light. And it's good to have them checked for disease and pests periodically anyway.
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Re: Why do you use so much electricity?!?!?
« Reply #699 on: June 14, 2018, 09:27:55 AM »
It's a bill that I do not pay, but the SO's two kids will leave the door open while the heat or AC is on. I am the only one who knows how to operate a lightswitch it seems. One kid has a fan running 24/7, he keeps his window closed so I don't see how it actually does anything. They wash one shirt and one pair of pants putting the washer on super wash / heavy load. Multiple computers running 24/7. I just hate how wasteful they are.