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Old 09-06-2010, 01:25 AM   #1 (permalink)
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My electric bill was $27 last month!!! (221 kwh)

My electric bill was $27 last month! Peaked at $68 in January with electric heat! That's the month it went below 20F !!

Mods to my house include:
- insulated windows
- adding double walls to my bedroom (two layers of exterior wall!)
- six more inches of attic insulation
- replacing central gas heating with fanless electric room heaters
- replacing bulbs with CFLs
- ceiling fans in living room and bedroom
- this summer I hung shade cloth from the western eaves.

The shade cloth alone dropped the interior temperature from 80ish to below 75.

I am still using a gas water heater for $12/mo.

This is for a 1300 sq.ft. house!

The outside temperatures this year have ranged from 12F to 95F.

And I am adding more insulation to the attic this winter to try to knock another $20 off the heating bill. Last time, the 6 inches of insulation paid for itself in three months.


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Last edited by hypermiler01; 09-06-2010 at 06:41 PM.. Reason: added chart
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Old 09-06-2010, 03:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
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That's awesome, I have a few questions.

How much are you paying per kWh (and is there a monthly fee)?
Is it just you, or are there others in the house as well?
By electric room heating, do you mean oil column heaters, or heat pumps?
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Old 09-06-2010, 05:04 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The basic fee is about $9.50
Just me
Fanless oil heaters for now

I like the electric carpet pad heaters, but the oil heaters are almost as efficient and cost much less. I also use an electric mattress heater.

With the room heaters, I primarily heat the bedroom suite. The rest of the house is heated mostly by heat lost from the bedroom.

My electricity usage was the same last summer, but with the shade cloth, the house is about 5 degrees F cooler.

I also keep the shower water in the tub so that its heat doesn't just get flushed during the winter, then flush the toilet with it.

Last edited by hypermiler01; 09-06-2010 at 06:35 PM..
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Old 09-06-2010, 06:37 PM   #4 (permalink)
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More details on the double wall:

Besides doubling the attic insulation, I framed and insulated another wall right inside the existing wall, so there is:
wooden siding | fibreglass | drywall | fibreglass | drywall.

When it was 20F, the inner drywall was cold to touch, now it is just a bit cool. The whole wall is probably about a foot thick now. This is more effective than just one thick layer of fibreglass, and doesn't require any demolition. It has more "thermal mass" and is much quieter also.
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Old 09-06-2010, 06:54 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I've thought about doing that, myself. How did you handle the windows?
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Old 09-06-2010, 08:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I just built right around the windows. Now the sills are wider, that's all.

The wall is thick enough that you could install a second layer of windows for even better performance.

I also have panels of 1.5" R4.5 styrofoam cut to fit the windows for the really cold months. It is translucent so it still lets light in.
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Old 09-07-2010, 10:27 PM   #7 (permalink)
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My highest electric bill ever was less than $45 (I'm 54 years old). My average electric bill the previous three years was about $18 a month, with $8.03 plus tax of that being a fixed monthly hookup charge. Rates are about $0.125/kWh in my area. So I was averaging about 90 kWh a month, or 1100 kWh a year.

January this year I finished having my house converted to run on solar photovoltaic power. To date, I'm generating over three times as much electricity as I'm using and selling the surplus back to the power company. More info on this system may be found at Stone Marmot goes solar.

My house is about 1100 sq-ft, of which 900 sq-ft is heated and cooled. I have over 30 years worth of mods, too many to list, to get the electric use this low. But some include:

Extensive effort in insulating
Ground water referenced (geothermal) heat pump
Solar attic fan
Awnings or roll down shutters on all windows (partly for hurricane protection)
Compact fluorescent lights
Extensive effort in eliminating phantom loads
Careful appliance choice (not just Energy Star, but the lowest energy use on the market)

Some other articles on the above website discuss some of these things.

And I'm still making mods (presently fixing some weak spots in the insulation and sealing my ductwork).
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Old 09-07-2010, 10:30 PM   #8 (permalink)
sid
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I forgot to list the most important reason for my low electric bills: I've been single my whole life and living by myself for over 30 years.
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Old 09-07-2010, 10:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hypermiler01 View Post
I also have panels of 1.5" R4.5 styrofoam cut to fit the windows for the really cold months. It is translucent so it still lets light in.
I've been doing that for a few years now too. On several of the windows I "framed" the perimeter of the foam plug with clear shipping tape so I could install/remove them daily without dislodging hundreds of little styrofoam balls every time. In spite of the translucence, the plugs turn rooms into black holes during the day so I like to take some of them out until dusk.

Edit: Forgot to mention I'd painted the ones that I leave in black on the outer surface in a feeble attempt to still capture some solar energy when they're in.

Unfortunately I have no good way to quantify any energy savings there may be.

BTW I went on a phantom load reduction campaign years ago and have been averaging about 120 kwh/month since (down from my old average of 330 kwh/mo). This is in a full-size house with it's own well, an old energy hog fridge, and many other modern conveniences. Oh, and it's up in the frozen north.

The local electric utility keeps raising the monthly fees so the actual electricity portion of my bills is the smallest part of the bill now. Now dreaming of going off the grid and telling them to stuff it...
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Old 09-07-2010, 10:52 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I see that you've also painted your roof and siding white.

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