Interesting Links Paul, so far I've listened to three of them. I swapped the
bulbs for energy saving baulbs within months after moving in in 2003.
for now I spend most of my time in my dining room which has a variable
switch for the overhead lights (two 100w bulbs) I haven't been able to
find -variable wattage energy saving bulbs. I never use the standy mode
for my plasma tv, etc.
I really do need insulate some. My PC is against a wall w/ two windows one
of which has an air conditioner and the other one just a 20 y/o dual pane
replacment window. For now I'm going to take off the window molding and see
if I can get some foam insulation in there and wrap the outside of the air
conditioner. Theres a sheet of platic over the inside of it.
I've been reading Tyson Slocum papers on energy. He tends to be a Bush
basher but if you read around it there's some very useful information about
the politics of energy in the US. What rates to you pay?
Thanks for the link; I'll check it out shortly. Segment #6 offers a
top-ten run down of some of the simple things you can do to reduce
your home's energy needs. Overall, I found this Channel 4 programme
entertaining and informative, plus you've got to love those quirky
Brits and all their oddball expressions.
There are dimmable CFLs available but they're not as easy to find.
Phillips has a dimmable version of their Marathon product, which I
know is carried by Home Depot; as to whether it will fit dinning room
fixture only you can decide.
To track down some of those energy leaks, take a candle or stick of
incense and on a windy day go around and inspect your windows and
doors, wall plugs and light switches, fireplace dampers, attic hatch,
etc. You'll soon discover where it is you need to focus your
In terms of rates, I currently pay 10.13 cents per kWh for electricity
and, as of my last filling, 75.9 cents per litre for heating oil (my
prior fill-up was 81.9 cents and before that it was 83.9). Propane is
now running at $1.008 per litre.
There are 3.76 litres per U.S. gallon, so 75.9 cents per litre
translates to $2.85 per gallon; last winter, I was paying $3.15 per
gallon. In terms of propane, $1.008 per litre converts to $3.79 per
So I think you can understand why I'm so enamoured with my heat pump.
It has effectively reduced my heating costs to just 4 cents per kWh.
That's less than half the cost of oil and about one-fifth the cost of
Hi Paul, I had already completed the ten suggestions in segment #6. One
thing that had an immediate positive effect was installing a heavy duty
"door sweep" from HD. Took 20 minutes to cut and install and it immediately
stopped a cold draft in the living room.
BGE energy costs - bill for dec 15 - jan 15th '07
415 kWh x .1045 43.38
440 kWh x 10303 45.33
distribution charge 855 kWh x .02275 19.45
customer charge 7.50
14 units x therm factor 1.085 therms used 15
customer charge 13.00
distribution charge 3.93
franchisr taX .06
totasl delivery charge 17.32
total gas commodity 14.36
note delivery charges are more than gas commodity charges
Today a Trane sales guy came by to give me a quote on a 90% efficient gas
furnace, complete duct work, HP w/ electric back up
Thanks for the update and for providing us with your billing
information. As you've discovered, very simple and inexpensive
measures such as applying weather stripping to the bottom of a door
can have a positive impact on your physical comfort as well as your
energy bills. Keep up the good work!
If my math is correct, during this billing cycle you paid 12.65 cents
per kWh for electricity and roughly $1.25 per therm of natural gas
(I've excluded the basic customer charges because they're flat monthly
fees that don't change according to volume of use).
I take it there was a rate increase effective January 1st that
accounts for the two different electricity rates shown? If that's the
case, your combined energy and distribution charges are now 12.73
cents per kWh.
One therm of natural gas is equal to 100,000 BTUs, so at 90 per cent
conversion efficiency, your net heat gain is 90,000 BTUs (26.4 kWh),
and your effective cost per kWh, at $1.25/therm, works out to be 4.74
cents. That means the heat provided by your electric baseboard
heaters is currently 2.7 times more expensive than what would be
supplied by a high efficiency natural gas furnace. Ouch!
However, bear in mind natural gas prices are generally far more
volatile than electric. This time last year, a therm of natural gas
likely cost in the order of $1.75 to $2.00, so the equivalent cost per
kWh of gas heat would have been between 6.64 and 7.58 cents.
I don't think anyone can accurately predict the cost of natural gas
one, two or five years from now. Personally, I have to tell you I'm
more than a little worried. U.S. domestic production peaked some
thirty-five years ago and, year after year, the U.S. has become
increasingly more dependent upon foreign imports to make up for the
slack. Most of those imports (some 90%) come from Alberta, but
Alberta's gas production has already started its decline and a growing
share of the remaining supplies will be used to fuel its tar sands
operations (an estimated 1.4 to 1.6 billion cubic feet per day by 2015
and perhaps double that by 2030). That means the U.S. will be turning
to LNG imports from other countries, some of whom are politically
unstable or don't exactly share a cordial relationship with the U.S.
Now, everything may turn out just hunky-dory and gas prices will
remain relatively stable, but you might ask yourself if you're
comfortable assuming that level or risk. I'm not.
At the end of the day, a combination high efficiency gas furnace and
heat pump probably makes a lot of sense. Both would operate at peak
efficiency within their allocated temperature bands and it would
provide you with at least some fuel switching capability should the
price of either electricity or natural gas change dramatically in the
years to come. Since you want central air anyway, the incremental
cost of moving to a heat pump is very modest, especially in light of
the potential savings on your annual heating bill.
That said, if the initial cost of this combo solution is too high or
the installation of the required ductwork too complicated, I would be
inclined to simply leave your electric baseboard heaters in place and
install a multi-zone high efficiency ductless heat pump. Much lower
upfront cost, very easy to install (no duct work required) and it
would very likely cut your current heating and cooling costs by more
than half. A combination gas/heat pump solution might save you even
more, but it becomes a question of how much more and at what
additional cost. If the Trane solution saves you an extra $200 to
$300.00 each year, but the difference in price is $4,000.00, is it
really worth it? It could be that investing that same $4,000.00 in
extra insulation, caulking and air sealing, replacement doors and
windows, Energy Star appliances or some other home improvement could
save you even more.
I and the other members of this forum would be more than happy to help
you evaluate your options, so please don't hesitate to ask.
I've previously touched on some of my concerns related to U.S. natural
gas supplies. I thought I'd share some additional background to help
explain why I'm so worried:
"U.S. demand for natural gas is outstripping domestic supply as well
as available Canadian supply... By 2030, the gap between demand and
supply is projected to reach 21%.
As we exhaust domestic supplies of natural gas, the United States will
need to rely increasingly on natural gas that is brought in from
overseas... LNG helps the nation meet its very real and pressing need
for new energy supplies now."
"As worldwide demand for natural gas grows, the United States faces
stiff competition for a product it badly needs. At a recent briefing
focusing on the new market dynamics of liquefied natural gas, the
Center for Liquefied Natural Gas (CLNG) stressed the United States
will be at a competitive disadvantage for the product unless new
terminals are built to import natural gas from around the world.
According to the United States Energy Information Administration
(EIA), natural gas consumption is expected to continue to rise around
the globe. Demand will grow not only in the key gas markets, but also
in markets that historically have not been major natural gas consumers
such as China and India. EIA predicts that annual natural gas
consumption will grow in China by 6.8 percent and in India by 5.9
percent. Much of the gas that enters these markets will be imported
from around the world in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG)."
As stated above, the United States will be competing with numerous
buyers, not just China and India. North Sea production peaked several
years ago and, as a result, the U.K. expects to be 90 per cent reliant
on foreign imports. Likewise, continental Europe is heavily dependent
on Russian gas and Russia has already demonstrated a willingness to
use gas exports as a political and economic club; look to Europe to
diversify its supply, in an effort to protect its national security
Here in Canada, Alberta's natural gas fields have already begun their
decline and the situation off Nova Scotia is looking rather grim.
Nova Scotia's Sable fields are only one-third the size previously
thought (1.36 TCF versus 3.6 TCF) and daily output has fallen from
18.1 BCF in 2001 to 12.8 BCF in 2005, with that downward trend
continuing to gather further momentum (btw, virtually all of this gas
is exported to New England).
So, just to wrap things up, it's the long-term outlook for natural gas
that troubles me the most, with the prospect for considerable upward
price pressure going forward. This is why I'm encouraging you and
everyone else to plan ahead and do whatever you can now to minimize
your risk. This really boils down to just two things: first, reduce
your demand by insulating and air sealing your home and by selecting
the most energy-efficient heating and cooling systems; and, secondly,
diversify your supply options so that you can easily switch fuels
based on price and availability. As previously discussed, a
combination high efficiency gas furnace and heat pump would be an
excellent way to do this. Alternatively, you might simply stick with
your electric baseboards and add a high efficiency ductless heat pump
that would offset as much of this electric heat as possible; a high
efficiency heat pump with a HSPF of 10 or higher would cut your
current heating costs by two-thirds or more, and since BGE's
generating mix is predominately nuclear and coal, the long-term supply
situation should remain fairly stable.
He has to enter that ( kwh ) for himself....varies considerably depending on
your location...pretty sure IM at $.058/ kwh last I checked--"cheap
Anyways, run the program twice, first using baseboard heat then run through
it a second time using heat pump....
Actual value entered for propane isnt important, ( unless someone is using,
or considereing converting to it)...but suggest just use same cost / gal
value both times...
IIRC my brother is getting nailed at 3 ~bux /gallon--Seattle,Wa
area.--understandably, I've disabled the gas portion of his furnace just
Still need to log further info, but appears after a couple weeks worth of
"intelligent adaptive recovery" and what with his night temps being ~ 25 and
with 45 daytime told me yesterday he might occasionally fall short by a
couple degrees tops at the morning recovery period--so guessing at least
someone actually did an accurate heat load analysis upon initial install.
Like I say, outdoors reset stat is to be permanently installed soon--which
brings out the big guns only on as-needed basis.
FWIW, still think the Taystat 103 is a sucky system--esp where total lockout
occurs--but still is absolutely needed where you have HP coils downstream in
the airflow from the gas HX.
Not rocket science, still will probly eventually put up a link to the
schemtic with crossed out connections etc.
Meanwhile, Joseph and Pat can also more than likely assist if you happen to
find yourself with a customer that's wanting to ramp down on gas usage,
perhaps with the attendant addition / installation of of larger capacity
heat pump system.
IIRC, your in the corn belt--then if so pay close attention to a/c
mode...dehumidifican problems and short cycling definately can be a problem
where yuo have oversized a heat pump for to deal primarily with the heating
Apparently, cost structure was more favorable towards propane near to a
decade ago--when the sys was initially installed....main benefit to having
the heat pump being the luxury of having cooling...
Still makes no sense--if the gas is cheaper then just kill the HP on heating
Diferent situation in the machine shop here though, I have tools that
actually produce a significant heat load--nice during winter but becomes a
burden during summertime.
LP and Nat used to be cheap fuels. But as time goes by, they continue to
rise dramatically while the electric costs have had slight increases.
With new product designs and affiances, today a heat pump can often save you
a significantly large amount of money in operational costs.
I have designed a spreadsheet to show my clients how much they can save (or
spend) with varying heat sources. They don't understand it, till they see
the actual numbers.
Many people are switching to corn burners. But with the evolution of ethanol
being used for automotive purposes, the costs of corn is increasing. So this
only raises their heating bills. Making the heat pump look better once
One thing is constant, and that is, that things are always changing.
Something that is effective today may not be tomorrow.
I woud kil the crossposteing but im too drunkat present....besides, the
topic at least fits.
Ya want cheep then go geothermal, closed or even open loop--here we have
Cmes outa the ground at ~51 deg F--I just pump and dump.....over onto the
freeway right-of-way it goes.
Then if it sells, great....so long as it saves long-term.
Yes, esp here where electric rates have remained fairly stable.
Well the one thing that is constant--if you burning any hydrocarbon fuel
then it depletes fossil reserves, as well as contributing to escalation of
co co2 into the atmosphere.
Suggest then plant some trees--it's the only thing available to Joe Sixpak
that effectively re-sequesters the carbon by-products back into the soil.
For years the fuel of choice in a rural setting was propane. It was
70-90 cents/gal. Now it is 2.10/gal and btu for btu yielded you can
heat with low-tech electric resistance heat for less money.
1 Million BTU Electricity = $24.90 (TN)
1 Million BTU Propane (80% Furnace)=$28.46
$24.90 would be about 400 KWH here, and that
could produce more than 1.2 million BTU.
Out of curiosity I checked the price for propane
17 pound bottle refills at Lowes, and it was $18, that
is a lot more than $2.10 a gallon, isn't it.
But maybe in bulk it is cheaper.
The temperature here fell through -10 C
during daylight here today, and that could mean
life threatening temperatures without backup heat,
regardless of what the fuel is, furnaces and anything
else can fail even if there is plenty of fuel.
The high tech furnaces are a threat, even
if they are supposed to be more efficient, fuel cost
is not as important as avoiding unsafe temperatures.
Ask the, about a million, people who lost power
for a week or more in the plains and west coast.
It would help if each one were installed with a
big warning sign "Be sure to have a backup heating
system if the power goes off".
I seriously doubt if one out of a thousand
homes have an emergency generator, and even
some that do could not isolate the furnace circuit
and run it.
But I am prejudiced, I don't like the noise
of the small duct forced air.
Electric or electric controlled is fine for primary heat,
but I keep two Gas Fired SPACE heaters just for when
the electric is out. :-)
Actually, I have been lucky, power has not been
off more than 8 hours at a time.
My baseboard heat isn't working as well as I hoped,
even at 6 cents, it is expensive to heat just one room, small
kitchen and bath.
There really isn't much choice, it seems to be either
heat pump or modern furnace, depending on electric rates
and natural gas ups and downs.
My utility company offers free truck loads of mulch
when they are trimming trees in the area, but I would need
to build an incinerator type heating system for that.
The convenience of a modern heating system
of any kind really spoils people, the thought of chopping
wood seems like too much work, and it is too much for
me to think about.
Gas SPACE heaters can be built to be just as
efficient as the modern furnace, and I suppose I could
put ductwork for flame air and a heat exchanger in the
vent pipe, so I may need to do that next summer.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.