Energy Bill...OUCH!

MrsFusion

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2010
80
SW Iowa
Okay, I know that we have had a HOT July/August here in the midwest....but, we didn't run our air full blast either...we kept it about 75*

Went to pay my bill today....and it's over DOUBLE the normal amount.... :shock:
 

mynewpool

Well-known member
Mar 17, 2010
1,082
Spring, TX
The past few months mine doubled two months ago. Re adjusted our thermostats and the bill went down about 60.00. We have a 2700 sq foot house and have an open patio area. So I feel you. We have a balanced budget we pay of 254.00 so it has worked out and we still have a little credit.
 

skydiva44

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 18, 2009
200
Houston, Texas
Ours was $500 this month and DH was actually happy about that.....he thought it would be $800 like August last year. We have 2 units, one for upstairs and one for downstairs..3,000 sq. ft. I think next months bill will be huge! :shock:
 

mynewpool

Well-known member
Mar 17, 2010
1,082
Spring, TX
skydiva44 said:
Ours was $500 this month and DH was actually happy about that.....he thought it would be $800 like August last year. We have 2 units, one for upstairs and one for downstairs..3,000 sq. ft. I think next months bill will be huge! :shock:
We have an upstairs and downstairs as well. The one up stairs runs alot as there is not a lot of circulation up there. The nice this is we can shut the door and seperate both areas.
 

guamguy

LifeTime Supporter
Feb 26, 2010
388
Guam, USA
Our bill was just over $500 for 2111 KWH :shock: for June, but July's bill was only $200 :-D because it was only me at home the whole month. My Wife and kids were visiting my MIL.
 

Mona

LifeTime Supporter
May 23, 2007
91
SE Minnesota
I just can't imagine having those kind of electric bills! It just blows my mind!
With it being so warm the past couple of months the air has been on, cool 2200 sq ft, plus pool running ~6 hours a day, $110. Realizing I live in the upper midwest, but wow!
 

dmanb2b

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 4, 2009
3,734
NY
mynewpool said:
skydiva44 said:
Ours was $500 this month and DH was actually happy about that.....he thought it would be $800 like August last year. We have 2 units, one for upstairs and one for downstairs..3,000 sq. ft. I think next months bill will be huge! :shock:
We have an upstairs and downstairs as well. The one up stairs runs alot as there is not a lot of circulation up there. The nice this is we can shut the door and seperate both areas.
You might consider installing an attic fan. They can be had for under $100 and installation is a DIY if your comfortable with basic wiring. Makes a huge differrence if your attic temp is 20+ deg cooler than with no fan.
 

mynewpool

Well-known member
Mar 17, 2010
1,082
Spring, TX
dmanb2b said:
mynewpool said:
skydiva44 said:
Ours was $500 this month and DH was actually happy about that.....he thought it would be $800 like August last year. We have 2 units, one for upstairs and one for downstairs..3,000 sq. ft. I think next months bill will be huge! :shock:
We have an upstairs and downstairs as well. The one up stairs runs alot as there is not a lot of circulation up there. The nice this is we can shut the door and seperate both areas.
You might consider installing an attic fan. They can be had for under $100 and installation is a DIY if your comfortable with basic wiring. Makes a huge differrence if your attic temp is 20+ deg cooler than with no fan.
We have thought about the solar powered fans they have. My father in law had two installed, but not sure how much of a difference it has made.
 

JohnT

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Apr 4, 2007
9,471
SW Indiana
dmanb2b said:
You might consider installing an attic fan. They can be had for under $100 and installation is a DIY if your comfortable with basic wiring. Makes a huge differrence if your attic temp is 20+ deg cooler than with no fan.
We put one in two summers ago, and it makes a big difference. No more hot attic in the evening keeping the upstairs warm. The fan usually kicks in about 4:30 in the afternoon and runs until the sun gets near setting.
 

acroy

Well-known member
May 11, 2010
186
Dallas TX
My bill was only $155 :) Paying about $.10/kw-hr

2000sq ft, 16seer a/c set at 78f, a HOT july. 33k swg pool, 2.25hp motor running 6hrs a day. family of 6, 5 at home all day.

Things that have helped a lot:
-Radiant barrier & extra blown-in insulation
-reflective blanket over the attic stairs
-Lots of soffit vents and 4 wind turbines for attic ventilation. active attic fans can cause a vacuum in the attic, be careful with those, it will pull cool air out of the house.
-mostly cfl lighting, with some 32W incandescents. computer, etc only on when being used. Electronics can suck a lot of juice. the $15 Kill-a-watt helped quite a bit. Anything that's plugged in, look at it suspiciously.

my useage is 25-35% lower than my neighbors who don't have a pool and have newer, slightly smaller houses. I'm pretty happy with it!

cheers :)
 

mynewpool

Well-known member
Mar 17, 2010
1,082
Spring, TX
JohnT said:
dmanb2b said:
You might consider installing an attic fan. They can be had for under $100 and installation is a DIY if your comfortable with basic wiring. Makes a huge differrence if your attic temp is 20+ deg cooler than with no fan.
We put one in two summers ago, and it makes a big difference. No more hot attic in the evening keeping the upstairs warm. The fan usually kicks in about 4:30 in the afternoon and runs until the sun gets near setting.
Do you notice a difference in how cool it is upstairs? What about your electrical bill, did it affect it any?

Thanks.
 
G

Guest

You have to watch the roof pitch/attic height for an attic fan. I have a 3/12 pitch, and there is no room to put one in :evil:

They do remove a lot of the hot air that affects the house, so if you have the space they are definitely worth considering.
 

chris4150

LifeTime Supporter
acroy said:
My bill was only $155 :) Paying about $.10/kw-hr

2000sq ft, 16seer a/c set at 78f, a HOT july. 33k swg pool, 2.25hp motor running 6hrs a day. family of 6, 5 at home all day.

Things that have helped a lot:
-Radiant barrier & extra blown-in insulation
-reflective blanket over the attic stairs
-Lots of soffit vents and 4 wind turbines for attic ventilation. active attic fans can cause a vacuum in the attic, be careful with those, it will pull cool air out of the house.
-mostly cfl lighting, with some 32W incandescents. computer, etc only on when being used. Electronics can suck a lot of juice. the $15 Kill-a-watt helped quite a bit. Anything that's plugged in, look at it suspiciously.

my useage is 25-35% lower than my neighbors who don't have a pool and have newer, slightly smaller houses. I'm pretty happy with it!

cheers :)
I was about to suggest the exat things as acroy. After conducting alot of research prior to our current house being built, we decided to upgraded both of our A/C units to 15 seer, radiant barrier roof decking, ceramic tile the entire down stairs except for the master bedroom, double paned windows, and solar screens on the south and west sides of our residence at 95 % polarization. We have a 3000 sq. foot house, open concept vaulted ceilings, two A/C units, and pool pumps running 10 hours a day. Believe it or not while at home our house is extremely comfortable with the up stairs unit set on 78 and the down stairs unit set at 77. At 10 cents a kw our highest electricity bill thus far has been $255 and thats with avg temps here in Houston at 97 degrees. Some of the biggest immediate improvements you can make is shop your energy provider. There are several companies competing for business and offer extremely great rates and programs. Then start figuring which project is affordable to start with in improving your engery rating. The offer spray in radiant barrier now at affordable rates in additon to energy tax credits. Just something to think about.
 

ChiknNutz

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 22, 2010
145
Arlington, WA
Wow, looks like we have it pretty good here...typical rates are about $0.08/KWh. 140 miles east of here where I grew up and my folks still live, rates are the cheapest in the country...approx. $0.03/KWh!!! Our bills here are bi-monthly and average about $300/bill (so $150/month). We are all electric at our 2100 SF home but have a high efficiency heat pump for heating/cooling, which definitely helps a lot. However, we do have 2 older water heaters, which I'd say is about 40% of the bill.
 

Sportsman

Well-known member
Jan 27, 2010
233
Central Valley, CA
ChiknNutz said:
Wow, looks like we have it pretty good here...typical rates are about $0.08/KWh. 140 miles east of here where I grew up and my folks still live, rates are the cheapest in the country...approx. $0.03/KWh!!! Our bills here are bi-monthly and average about $300/bill (so $150/month). We are all electric at our 2100 SF home but have a high efficiency heat pump for heating/cooling, which definitely helps a lot. However, we do have 2 older water heaters, which I'd say is about 40% of the bill.

Transferred to CA last year, home .40 kWhr for Tier 4. In summer, it's next to impossible to stay out of tier 4. :grrrr: Without pulling the bill, I think we're at .19 for tier 1. I'm told still goes back to Enron at least in part. Glad the summer was relatively cool until August. First month with the pool so I'm cringing waiting on the bill. Pool came with a 1.5 hp single speed but I know it's worth the cost to go to a 2 speed even if I can't get a dime for the current pump.
 

Cherie

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 23, 2008
506
Wylie, Texas
WOW! We need to look into those suggestions! Our bill has run $300-350 for the last three months. Our house is 2600sf and we run our pool on low 24/7. DH forgets to turn off the small ac unit in his workshop out back. Also, we've have way too many days of 100+ heat, and in our part of Wylie (which is cursed), we FINALLY got our 2nd rain of the summer. So it's been miserably hot and DRY. Cracks in our back yard are 2-3" wide!

We have a lower seer (don't recall how low), 5-ton heat pump, only about four years old :? Our OLD unit was much better on the bill than the current unit.

I have a question though. With all that some of you have done to keep your house cool in the summer, like with the radiant heat barrier, doesn't that also make your house colder in the winter? We cover our two turbines for the winter and that helps keep our house warmer in winter.

We need to read up on the radiant barrier, I guess...
 

acroy

Well-known member
May 11, 2010
186
Dallas TX
Cherie said:
WOW! We need to look into those suggestions! Our bill has run $300-350 for the last three months. Our house is 2600sf and we run our pool on low 24/7. DH forgets to turn off the small ac unit in his workshop out back. Also, we've have way too many days of 100+ heat, and in our part of Wylie (which is cursed), we FINALLY got our 2nd rain of the summer. So it's been miserably hot and DRY. Cracks in our back yard are 2-3" wide!

We have a lower seer (don't recall how low), 5-ton heat pump, only about four years old :? Our OLD unit was much better on the bill than the current unit.

I have a question though. With all that some of you have done to keep your house cool in the summer, like with the radiant heat barrier, doesn't that also make your house colder in the winter? We cover our two turbines for the winter and that helps keep our house warmer in winter.

We need to read up on the radiant barrier, I guess...
Honestly you're not doing bad at all given your house size, location, running the pool.

A few suggestions
-watch out for the small a/c in the workshop, that sucker is a power hog
-consider backing off the timer on the pool, it only needs to run enough to keep the water clear & filtered, scale back in 2 or 4 hour increments and see what happens.
-your heat pump is most likely 13seer which is not bad. 16seer is only about 20% 'better'. Old a/c units were 7-10 seer. 18-20+seer units are nice but mega-buck.
-your heat pump is probably way oversized. Installers always err on the big side, especially in TX, where some people want to crank it down to 72 while it's 105 outside. Your 5-ton unit is probably short-cycling every 20-30 minutes, which reduces efficiency and raises interor humidity level. Not much you can do here w/o replacing with a smaller unit. Your old unit was probably 3 ton 10seer, (an off-the-shelf size in TX for houses 1500sq ft to 3000sq ft), and although lower SEER, ran much more efficiently.
-add soffit vents ($3 each @ lowe's), IIRC the standard is 8sq feet per 500ft under roof, and wind turbines (about $50 for good quality), one per 500ft under roof, including garage. Passive attic ventilation is cheap, easy, effective, makes the wind work for you. Turbines are great in this part of the county.
-don't cover the turbines in the winter, it can cause humidity problems in the attic
-windows, esp in the sun, are a big energy suck. screens/tint/just closing the curtain/blinds can double the window efficiency.

The radient barrier is marginally cost effective. I got a package deal from Efficient Attic Systems, sprayon barrier & blown-in insulation for about $.60/sq foot. Do not go over $1/sq foot, negotiate, they WILL come down to their 'winter' price. or wait till winter. Payback time is at least 5yrs, don't buy their hype.

Radient barrier will not help in winter - it blocks part of the solar radiation, does nothing to actually insulate the house.
 

Cherie

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 23, 2008
506
Wylie, Texas
acroy, thank you for the blueprint! I'll put the check in the mail today!

Indeed, I just checked the file and it is a Goodman 13 seer, 5 ton--you're good! We keep our thermostat on 79 in the summer and 70 in the winter. We've been looking at maybe installing the dark screens, since I hate a closed-up house. But it has helped it stay cooler/summer and warmer/winter to keep the blinds closed. Everyone says to not cover the turbines, but it sure cut our winter bill down when we started covering them. I'm sure DH would LOVE to take your advise, since he has to put on backup wings when he climbs up there to put the covers on! (I stay on the ground, ready to catch him :twisted: )

Seriously though, thanks for all the advice. You've been a great help...and I will forward your advice on to DH!
 

Cherie

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 23, 2008
506
Wylie, Texas
OH, I forgot to say that running the pool runs us about $30/mo. With the old 2-speed, it took 10 hr/day to fully circulate it once. That's why we run it 24/7 now. The 2-speed, running for 10 hr/day, was about $90/mo. So we'll need to leave it at 24/7, except for winter when I've discovered I can just turn it off for a long stretch.
 

acroy

Well-known member
May 11, 2010
186
Dallas TX
Cherie said:
acroy, thank you for the blueprint! I'll put the check in the mail today!
whoo!! :mrgreen:
Always like to help folks out. There is a lot of misinformation out there; a pleasure to help 'cut to the chase'

Good news on your pool pump - that's uber efficient

I hear you on disliking the closed-up house, same here. Screens help w/o blocking the view, and they trap a semi-still layer of air against the glass, a second insulating layer, which helps reduce convective losses, winter & summer. But tint is nicer to look through IMHO. Either one helps a lot vs. a naked window. Tint will not help in winter.

honestly you probably will not have issues with condensation by covering the turbines. It applies more in areas where it gets a lot colder a lot longer than here. Most bathroom fans are vented into the attic, not through the roof. So when bathroom fan is running, it's pushing 70f, probably moist air into a cold attic, which *can* cause the issue. It's easy to check for mold/wood discoloration in the attic around the bathroom vents if i've made you paranoid enough about it ;)

AC size: for comparison, my unit has both 2 ton 3.5 ton compressors in the same unit. The little guy runs by default. If it can't keep up, the 2 ton stops and 3.5 ton kicks in. This only happens sporadically on 100+ days; we keep it @ 78-79 inside. In your case, I bet 3 ton would be perfect. Just keep the outside & inside coils clean, that's all you can do for it.
 
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