I am certainly no expert on efficiency, but agree it is inefficient to
generate electricity from fossil fuels.
On the other hand, power plants are more likely to make upgrades to improve
efficiency than millions of homeowners who have old inefficient furnaces
(oil, coal, whatever).
Since electricity is 100% efficient, any upgrade the power plant makes
immediately applies to all of it's customers (not factoring in
inefficiencies in the power grid).
Electricity is expensive in most parts of the country because it is
generated with fossil fuels. As direct renewable sources (wind power, solar
power, hydropower, gothermal, wave generators, etc.) continue to make up
more of the total energy package, it should balance out with the price of
other fuel sources.
An electric ground source heat pump is probably the most efficient heat
source with the lowest operating costs. It's the installation costs that
make it unattractive. :)
On Friday, February 28, 2014 12:20:57 AM UTC-5, HerHusband wrote:
You'd have to have one hell of an inefficient old furnace to make
it more expensive to heat with nat gas or oil than electric in most places.
Burning a fossil fuel for heat and capturing most of that heat is easy.
Heat is created and it's the heat that you want.
Burning a fuel, converting it to steam, generating electricity,
boosting it up in voltage, transmitting it hundreds of miles, stepping
it down, etc., a lot of what was once heat energy is lost. You wind
up with less than 50% efficiency.
But the power plant and the grid are inefficient, less than half the
energy of the fuel source going into the power plant makes it to the user.
They don't generate it with what is expensive, they generate it
with what is cheapest, available and works.
As direct renewable sources (wind power, solar
So far solar, wind, etc has only driven up the cost of energy, not
lowered it. Here in the Peoples Republic of NJ we're paying a surtax
on all electric bills to help pay for the rich to put up solar panels
that are still economically unviable. Hydro is great, but there are few place left that haven't been tapped.
It can't compete with natural gas for heating here in NJ, even on
an operating basis.
On 2/28/2014 3:40 AM, email@example.com wrote:
From what I can figure, every time you change
energy form, you lose a lot. From coal, burn
to make steam, to turn a turbine, to push a
coil to make electric, to transmit that through
wires. It's all wasteful.
OTOH, frack the NG, pump it through a pipe in
the ground and burn it in your furnace.
On Friday, February 28, 2014 7:44:49 AM UTC-5, Stormin Mormon wrote:
Exactly. I just ran my numbers through the calculator that Ed
supplied the link to.
Here in NJ, electricity would have to be less than 4c Kwh
to just *equal* the cost of heating with natural gas. So not only is
resistance electric heat out, but even if you have a geo heat
pump with a COP of 4.5, you'd be at about the same cost of using
nat gas. Then factor in the huge cost difference of the two systems
and it's a big losing proposition. Plus, I can run a gas furnace
off a small generator in a power outage. The HP would require a
much larger one.
On Friday, February 28, 2014 9:00:26 AM UTC-5, Stormin Mormon wrote:
Another observaton from a major disaster, Sandy here at the
NJ shore. I had nat gas the whole time, no electric for a week.
From what I could see, most areas had nat gas the whole time.
The places that didn't were very close to the shore, where they
shut off the gas because houses were being ripped away or so
substantially damaged that meter pipes were being broken, etc. So,
they shut if off for those areas. But those areas, for the most
part, were so badly hit that there was a mandatory evacuation
and people were not allowed to return to their houses for days
to a week and even then, only to retrieve belongings during the
day. The houses typically had 3 or 4 ft of water go through them.
So, the lack of gas at that point didn't make much difference.
Even if you had it, you couldn't live there. Some of those places
didn't have nat gas restored for months, but it took that long
in most cases to make them habitable again.
Like I said, I am no expert. You're obviously more knowledgeable on the
subject than I am. I've used gas and electric and just prefer electric. Of
course, I can say that because I live in a region where electric rates are
rather affordable. I would still pay a little more to use electricity, but
that's just a personal choice, not something based on scientific fact.
I will say that regardless of the source, the best thing you can do is
minimize your energy needs. Smaller house, better insulation, efficient
appliances, etc. All things being equal, it's going to cost more to heat a
4000 sq/ft McMansion than my little 1500 sq/ft house.
If you don't mind sharing, I'm curious what others are paying for their
monthly energy needs. I honestly don't know if we use more or less than the
average american. We're all electric, and pay about $130 a month (8 cents
per KW). We average around 35 KW/day in the summer and 75-80 KW/Day in the
winter. If you heat with fossil fuels, you would need to add up the fuel
and electric costs to compare.
Heating obviously makes up half of our bill in the winter, and hot water
heating makes up a good percentage of the remainder.
On Friday, February 28, 2014 10:45:39 AM UTC-5, HerHusband wrote:
3100 sq ft house here in NJ. Bill for the month that just ended, which was
a lot colder than normal, probably at least 5 nights in the single digits,
lots of nights in the teens or low 20s, $178. If I had used electricity,
at 17c kwh, it would have cost 4.4X that. Of that $178, gas for the water heater is about $17, that's what it runs in summer. Bills prior to that
were $148 and $158.
Is that just for the gas? Any idea what you pay for electric on top of that
(for lighting, etc.)?
Still, that's not bad for a house twice the size of mine.
When we built our house in 2004, we moved from a 750 sq/ft mobile to a 1500
sq/ft house on the same property. Despite doubling the floor space, our
electric usage actually went down because of better insulation and more
efficient appliances. I've been able to decrease that slightly by switching
to LED and CFL lights, and reducing the power consumption of my computer
equipment. It's not an earth shattering reduction, but every little bit
helps. Of course, then I fire up my 5000 Watt garage heater and burn up all
of those savings. :)
These days our grocery bills are easily our biggest expense. It's crazy how
expensive food is now. We spent over $800 on food in January for a family
of three, and that doesn't include meals we ate out. Makes our electric
bill seem cheap. :)
On Friday, February 28, 2014 10:25:46 PM UTC-5, Stormin Mormon wrote:
Food is only one part of the CPI. If unique forces are hitting
food, eg diversion of crops to ethanol, then food prices could be
going up a lot more than the CPI. Another thing that's going to
cost everyone some money soon is the FDA forcing label changes on food.
Main new things:
Bigger font for the calories
Separate line item for "added sugar"
Change serving sizes, eg ice cream will go from 1/2 cup serving to 1 cup.
Cost to the industry? $2bil
The changes aren't bad in themselves, but we all know it's not
going to do a damn thing. Anyone that's interested in eating right,
there's plenty of info there to figure that out already. Anyone who
doesn't care, isn't going to change their ways because the font is
bigger. And back to the issue of rising food costs, when the manufacturer
has to change the packaging label, it's also an opportunity to go ahead
and make the package smaller, if they were thinking about maybe doing
that at some point. And I'm sure you've seen that. Instead of raising
prices, a pint is no longer a pint, it's a 14 oz container, etc. So,
if I was a food manufacturer, I might use the label change as a good
opportunity to put through a hidden price increase. Someone has to pay
for the label changes.
On 03/01/2014 09:16 AM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Besides, if the food is processed and requires an ingredient label, it's essentially junk food anyway.
And if the FDA wasn't controlled by the food industry, there would be GMO labeling as well.
The price of food is so high that recently when a thief stole groceries
out of a car, the thief had committed 'grand larceny'. What made the owner
of the car really angry - the thief broke the glove box!
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