OMG... My heating bill is huge

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Re: OMG... My heating bill is huge

Postby KirstenN on Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:10 pm

DonM and triguy, yes, an insulated "pump room" is high on our list of things to do - as soon as the weather is too bad for working on the outside of the house! It did freeze once in March (oddly - so did the pipe to the septic field - yuck).

Danno, thanks for the link - it looks like a good site full of info! Don't worry though, I have expert backup. We have about three cords of wood already in the woodshed, left behind by a PO, which as far as I can tell has been drying for 10 years. :-) My parents moved "south" to the island 12 years ago and their four acres of bush is only 20 minutes away, and my Dad already promised us a couple of well-dried cords of wood for Christmas if we need them. We'll be buying wood this fall to stack in the woodshed for the 2012/2013 heating season - I'm just not sure how much to get, with all the variables that are still unknown. We have an older Fisher stove, but not too old I guess, because it has the "CSA" metal label on the back. So far I'm loving it! Once I get a fire going and the stove is warmed up, even if we go out and the fire is out when we get back, it's a snap to get it going again. In February the weekend we were there, I could load it up and screw down the air inlets almost closed right before bed, and it kept us warm all night. Of course, we were sleeping in the main room where the stove is - I didn't check what the temperature was upstairs in the actual bedrooms!

The concrete really helps smooth out temperature swings from outside, too. Last week it was 23 degrees Celsius when I arrived on Sunday (that's 74 F, I think?), and the house was 20 degrees inside. Tuesday morning the temperature had dropped to 13 C outside (about 55 F?), but I hadn't noticed, because the house was still 20! I lit a fire that day mostly because the house still smelled musty, not because I was cold.

Sorry for the rambling... while I'm on a roll... I get to be the stove-tender because my husband was born and raised in suburban Toronto, then lived in a downtown condo before marrying me and my old-house enthusiasms. He has never lived in a house where you did anything other than turn the dial (or now, press buttons) on a box on the wall! Fortunately he is both adventurous and a good sport, which is why we're buying wood but also talking about solar PV (80 cents/kWh guaranteed for 20 years for our excess electricity sounds good to us).
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Our 1914 brick Toronto house; Our 1913 concrete island house; and the house I dream of owning, my husband's family's 1880-ish Toronto foursquare.
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Re: OMG... My heating bill is huge

Postby Lynners on Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:21 pm

Remeber that the 80.2 cents/kWh only applies to rooftop microfits...if you choose ground mounted panels, the pay off jumps down to 64.2 cents/kWh
The Carson Farmhouse, 1899
Minesing, Ontario, Canada
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Re: OMG... My heating bill is huge

Postby Danno on Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:25 pm

Kirsten, glad to hear that you are somewhat prepared. You'd be surprised at the number of people who are clueless about burning wood safely.
1858 Italianate and Gothic Inspired thingamabob
HappyInHartwood: "You can't make something 'more' ruined."
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Re: OMG... My heating bill is huge

Postby KirstenN on Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:42 pm

Lynners wrote:Remeber that the 80.2 cents/kWh only applies to rooftop microfits...if you choose ground mounted panels, the pay off jumps down to 64.2 cents/kWh


Yup. We would do the rooftop, because the back of the house has a nice uninterrupted 26' of south-facing roof at a pretty good angle. Also, we don't have room anywhere for ground-mounted panels (but they do seem to be pretty popular on the island).

I didn't post a picture last time, so here's the sun shining on my south-facing roof!
farmhouse solar potential.jpg
farmhouse solar potential.jpg (35.73 KiB) Viewed 21416 times
In a couple of days that insulbrick will be gone... I really should go pack! (Edited to replace with correct small picture - sorry about that!)
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Our 1914 brick Toronto house; Our 1913 concrete island house; and the house I dream of owning, my husband's family's 1880-ish Toronto foursquare.
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Re: OMG... My heating bill is huge

Postby triguy128 on Thu Jan 19, 2012 2:00 pm

So, who feels like they dodged a bullet that recently purchased a old home and this is their first winter? With such a mild Dec. our heating bills for the periods of Nov. & Dec. only totaled $300 combined. Runnign the numbers I expect that at the worst temperatures, it could reach around $320 per month.

FYI - if your utility provides average daily temprature values for each month. IF you want to project a bill. Take the average temperature for a particular bill, subtract it from the average indoor temperature that you set your home at. Then do the same for the average temperatuer your anticipating. Divide the first bill by the temp difference calculated value then multiply it by the second temp difference. IF there is a significant difference in the number of days per billing cyccly, you'll need ot adjsut proportionally for that as well.

Now add maybe 5% to the colder month for increase stack effect (air infiltration driven by air temp diffrences that cause small air pressure differences at different vertical heights). It works amazingly well. You basically have estimated your bill based on heating hours... which the average temp will give you.

You can also factor in your equipment size or estimate how large of equipment you actually need using the number of therms of natural gas used and the installed equipment size. It's a accurate way to determine actual heat loss values for a home. Each unit of naturla gas mesure (Therm) is equal to approx. 100k BTU's. So if you have a 100k BTU furnace, every hour it runs, it uses 1 THerm, and if you rate is $0.80/therm, that's what it costs you each hour to operate it. A properly sized system will run constantly at design temperature. So if my home actually need 100k BTU's of heat and my design tmperature is 0F, and I keep the home 68F. If the average daily temp is 30F, then I'm using my furnace 55% of the time... or requiring on averag 55k BTU's for 30 days and 24 hours. That's 396 Therms... or at $0.80/therm, $317.

I'm willing ot bet that most home with $320 gas bills with average temps around 30F in a month, have at least 130k BTU installed. In the coldest month, I'd expect in northern limates ot reahc an average temp of 25F... so $370.


I've discovered that my 3200 sqft home only needs about $80k BTU's.

I've also determined that our previous 1300 sqft ranch only needed 30k BTU's but had a 60k BTU furnace installed.
1925 Neo-Classical

Previous home - 1968 single story Ranch/Colonial, 1200sqft - 11 windows
Current home - 1925 2 story Beaux Arts Neo-classical overlooking the Mississippi River, 3200sqft - 48 Windows
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Re: OMG... My heating bill is huge

Postby jwesevich on Sat Jan 21, 2012 3:12 pm

Yeah, TriGuy, I'm definitely not complaining about the weather this winter... :)

jeff
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Emma F. Brown House 1897
Model for: Barber's "Modern Dwellings" Catalog 27E
"Vinyl is just a fancy name for Plastic"
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Re: OMG... My heating bill is huge

Postby chooseopen on Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:11 pm

In Central Illinois, we have definitely dodged a bullet (so far). We aren't living in our houses yet, but i still have to run the furnace to keep the pipes from freezing. It's nice that we have had so many days above freezing that i often get to turn it off completely. Less furnace = more money I get to spend on restoration!
Jason Elwell - Canton, IL
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My 1896 Victorian - Follow our progress on our Blog
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Re: OMG... My heating bill is huge

Postby Don M on Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:22 pm

You might want to look in to a set back thermostat for your house so you don't have to remember to turn it off & on.
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Re: OMG... My heating bill is huge

Postby eclecticcottage on Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:25 am

Ugh, the Old House is awful to heat. It's only @ 800 sq ft but costs @ $2-300 a month to heat. The Cottage...well...we heat with wood, so...it's kinda hard to calculate. This year was our first year so it wasn't all that cheap, with buying wood and Eco Bricks (I'm going to guess @ $6-700 for the season), but after this year we'll have our own wood that's been split and seasoned that we've gotten free, so it will be basically our time and gas money into it.
The Cottage Blog: http://eclecticcottage.blogspot.com/

Current home: 1950's Summer Cottage turned year round home (the Cottage)
-@ 700 sq ft, heated with a wood stove, on the shore of Lake Ontario
Previous home: 1920's Vernacular (the Old House)
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Re: OMG... My heating bill is huge

Postby thecolorguy on Thu Aug 29, 2013 5:25 pm

The biggest difference you can make to your heating bill is insulating the attic with as much as you can put in it. Heat rises
If you stop it from rising out of the house you hold it in and your house will be warmer. Here is a good idea
for each floor in a couple of rooms: cut a hole with a vent at the top of a wall between the studs and one at the floor. Install a computer type fan to pull the hot air from the top down to the bottom so it recirculates. You will be much warmer with less heat because the lower part of the room is only warm if the heat has stacked itself down from the ceiling.
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