Power Bill is killing me!

The last power bill was over 221.00. Since it really got cold, I live in fear on the next bill! I have Carrier electric furnace model 4B4BNF042000AAAA.
Here's some other info:
Location = Nebraska House = 1568 sqft ranch Walls R-19 Ceiling R-38 Poured concrete full basement with 9' walls, unfinished and uninsulated w/open staircase to basement We usually try to keep it 71-72 degrees in the house.
The house is new and pretty tight. I am working on air-sealing and insulating the rim-joist. Is there anything else I can be doing? Would adding another R-19 in the attic help? The ducts are in good shape and all properly taped, but how much do returns matter? The house has 5 returns total. One in each bedroom (3), one in the dining area, and one in the hallway. The returns in the bedrooms are installed near the ceiling, and the hall and dining room returns are near the floor. Also, our installer cut in a return near the airhandler in the basement. He said it would keep the basement warmer, because it would pull more warm air in. Is this a bad idea??
Is this Carrier furnace just an un-efficient cheap piece of crap? Besides turning the heat down to 60 degrees, is there anything I can do to reduce these scary power bills, or do I need to invest in better equipment?
Thank you, J.A. Michel
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Insulate your basement- its probably your biggest heat loss.
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If you indeed have an electric furnace and not a heat pump, that is probably about what your bill is going to run-- actually for your area I would have guessed it would be even more. All electric furnaces or air handlers are 100% efficient -- there is no loss as you would have with a gas or oil furnace with a percentage of the heat going out the vent pipe. All electric units will put out the same amount of heat per watt of electricity. regardless of brand, age etc. The amount of current the blower uses may vary somewhat, but given the amount of power the heat strips are sucking up, the difference is a drop in the bucket. Electric heating is almost always the most expesive heat source to operate, unless you happen to be in an area with very low electric rates. That is why they make heat pumps. If you have no other options for heat, all you can do is seal and weathersrip as well as possible, and insulate-- and then keep the thermostat as low as you possibly can stand. Larry
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Good advice and I would add that you should call your electric supplier and see if they have an all electric rate- worth a shot and it could save you a substantial amount of money.
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Thanks for the post. Our old house had a Trane heat pump, and the bills were certainly lower with that unit. We live in a small town, with no gas available. A guy can go with propane, but the tank is ugly, and I'd just rather not mess with that. I'm pretty tapped out right now, so putting in a heat pump will have to wait. In the mean time, I'll finish the insulating on the rim-joist and try to add some insulation to the basement walls. Time to break out the sweaters and long underwear. :-(
J.A. Michel
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J.A. Michel posted for all of us...

Don't forget the fur lined jock strap!
--
Tekkie Don\'t bother to thank me, I do this as a public service.

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Ugly tank. High bills. Ugly tank. High bills.
Me, I'd find a way to decorate the tank. I was going to suggest much the same thing. Put in a petroleum fuel heat. Or, a wood stove.
--

Christopher A. Young
You can\'t shout down a troll.
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Heating with propane is only slightly cheaper than electric heat. If I figured correctly, 1 gal propane=approx 24KWH. assuming a 90% efficincy furnace. So, it all hinges on the cost/gal of propane vs the cost per KWH, Factoring in the cost of installing a new propane furnace, along with a tank, and it is going to take a very long time to break even, especially if there is a lower rate for all electric, which you will no longer get-- and that rate will be for a/c and everything else as well, not just heating. I know of more people here who have switched to all electric from propane than the other way around. Come to think of it, I don't know of a single person who has switched to propane. I even know of some who have switched to all electric with heat pumps from natural gas. Propane has it's place, but it is not a cheap way to heat. Larry
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There's a handy little calculator for comparison here :
http://www.usepropane.com/esc /
--





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*Exactly!!* We had propane once. Never again!!

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Close off the staircase and zone your ducting so that you aren't unnecessarily heating largely un-occupied space.

Stick frame a false wall, insulate and sheetrock....
( Not to take credit where it isn't due )--Paul had suggested to me the below where I had a similar situation myself )
Best to frame away from the concrete by a few inches......then during summertime can circulate some room air behind the wall--allows the concrete to help with cooling the place....
--







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On Thu, 18 Jan 2007 18:50:03 -0600, "J.A. Michel"

You could turn it off. Dont thank me. You're the one that asked. Check with your utility company. See if they will do a free energy audit and give suggestions. They do it here for free and even give you a box of free stuff light fluorescent bulbs, shower head, insulated receptable covers, and loads of other stuff along with a printout on energy saving tips. Bubba
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"Check with your utility company. See if they will do a free energy audit and give suggestions. They do it here for free and even give you a box of free stuff light fluorescent bulbs, shower head, insulated receptable covers, and loads of other stuff along with a printout on energy saving tips. Bubba"
Yeah a new shower head will save on electricity! HAHA you dumb shit bubbs!
"ehhhhhhhh does the poop come from this end guys? - bubba"
HAHA +6 DANgER
-Canadian Heat
-- --------------------------------- --- -- - Posted with NewsLeecher v3.7 Final Web @ http://www.newsleecher.com/?usenet ------------------- ----- ---- -- -
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On 20 Jan 2007 21:55:52 GMT, DANgER ( snipped-for-privacy@heat.com) wrote:

Once again you prove how stupid you are. I wouldnt expect some dumb Canuck to figure out that a water saver shower head uses less water which in turn uses less electricity to heat said water in an electric water heater. The same is true for gas but I guess thats way over your head too.. Bubba

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On Thu, 18 Jan 2007 18:50:03 -0600, "J.A. Michel"

Insulate your ducts. They are probably R9.
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wrote:

all
keep
bad
Besides
Only were the ducts located in an attic, etc will this make a nickle's worth of difference.
--





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wrote:

I thought about that, and asked my HVAC guy about it when he was installing the furnace. He said there was no need. Ducts are all in the basement.
J.A. Michel
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Is the ceiling of the basement, (floor of the 1st-ground floor) insulated?
J.A. Michel wrote:

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When you have a high power bill, then let us know.
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