September 23, 2008

Savings by the KWH

I have to put this out there. I知 beside myself and I知 not sure who to share this with and y誕ll probably think I知 half insane anyway, so what the hell.

I知 kind of a freak about my electric bill. I have a family of five and my husband and I live in a very nice sized home on an acre of land. I spend most of my waking hours, when the kids are home, being the 鼠ight police.

I burn more calories turning off lights than I do training. I feel certain.

In August we started having air handler issues.

Now some of you may be familiar with air conditioning and how it works, but three years ago I had to replace our compressor and I upped our SEER to the highest at the time with cost efficiency, which was 14. My A/C guy told me in August when we had to replace the air handler that I would see an improvement in energy efficiency when my air handler SEER matched my compressor.

BS? I don稚 know. But I needed a new air handler so it was irrelevant.

As our tech left, having completed his installation, he told me he highly recommended I get a new thermostat one that was digital. He explained why, it all made sense, but deep down I was thinking, 的 just spent a ton of money, now I知 going to shell out more for a digital thermostat?

But something else kept saying, 滴e is making sense It was just taking too long for our thermostat to register the 78 degrees at which we keep our home set.

I replaced it.

And I致e been waiting to see what kind of difference was made in our electric bill.

Today was the day of reckoning and holy crap.


I don稚 know whether it was the air handler, the thermostat, or both, but it was a $90 difference comparing Septembers.

I致e run through the math. This September was 3 days shorter than last September, so I did a KWH ratio to see how many we were burning per day here in the House of Bou, and then added those 3 days of KWH usage.

And we saved $90 in our peak season. Our bill was $320, which I知 telling you, is NOT bad, to live in S. FL, from 11 August to 10 September, with five people, A/C, laundry, dishes, computers, lights

Next week we get a solar hot water heater installed. I should be saving an additional $50-$75 per month. My Return on Investment is four years. I知 playing a game 滴ow Low Can I Go?

Mmm without going dark.

I知 just absolutely beside myself. So think about the digital thermostat. I think that was a BIG part of it. Within two months it will have paid for itself. And I feel certain it was a BIG part of it because my house does feel warmer. I think my A/C was running longer before it detected the 78 degrees with my old thermostat.

Like I said I don稚 know whether it was the new air handler or the thermostat but I did NOT expect that kind of savings. I think its worth the cheaper investment of a good digital. Really.

I値l keep you posted on the hot water situation. I知 REALLY excited about that one!

(Sidenote: If you have been thinking about solar hot water, the 30% Federal tax credit ends on 31 December. Congress has not voted to extend it yet. If you live in FL, the State gives an additional $500 rebate.)

Posted by Boudicca at September 23, 2008 09:10 PM | TrackBack

I gotta get me a solar hot water heater. We expect some savings soon - getting all new windows.

Posted by: oddybobo at September 23, 2008 10:14 PM

You have the house set at 78?? Srsly? I would freeking MELT. We are set at 72 here now... 'Course in the winter the thermostat is set to keep the house at 65 (by day) and 61 (by night).

Different strokes for different folks, I guess...

Glad you are happy though... ;)

Posted by: Richmond at September 23, 2008 10:16 PM

"I致e run through the math. This September was 3 days shorter than last September."

Is this a leap year situation?

I think we're going to have another math review at Eric's house this year.

Posted by: Jerry at September 23, 2008 11:38 PM

Congratulations on the savings. We noticed a difference after a huge bill one July. That prompted a change out of the old compressor for a newer energy efficient one. We already had a fancy digital thermostat but it was in the hallway by the bedrooms so they were the right temp and the family room was always too warm. We installed a 'Totaline Wireless Programmable Digital Thermostat' last summer and it sits on a table next to us or hangs on a wall out of the way. There is less fussing and complaining now ... though one day I did set it on the kitchen counter to force the A/C to kick on...shhhh...I swore I didn't change the temp setting lower than 78ーF. *grin* In the winter we can bring the wireless thermostat to our bedroom so the room doesn't overheat when the furnace kicks in.

Posted by: cin at September 24, 2008 01:34 AM

I can soooo relate. I set our temp at 79 just to keep the bill in the 200s. But for the last 2 months, I put it down to 78... now my bill is in the 300s. Sigh...

Posted by: vw bug at September 24, 2008 05:04 AM

Jerry- !!! I phrased wrong. It's their measuring month... 3 days short.

Richmond- As VW put in her comment, if I keep it any lower, the bill can increase by more than 1/3. You start choking on the bill. It's warm... but we live in FL and I guess my thought is, if we lived here 75 years ago, it would have been A LOT warmer! Also at night, we drop it one degree and with the fans on, its not so bad.

Oddy- We'll talk. There is electric back up too...

Cin- Ooooo... a wireless thermostat. That would be a thought... we have one room that can be warmer than the others. Of course I'd play with the damn thing, moving it from room to room, month to month to see if our bill fluctuated!

Posted by: Bou at September 24, 2008 05:47 AM

Yeah - I can see that. I guess we play it the opposite way in the winter. I figure we live in Wisconsin and you can *always* put on another sweater. The heat bill can be atrocious otherwise!!

Posted by: Richmond at September 24, 2008 08:27 AM

We heart our digital thermostat!

We especially love the vacation setting, where you can set it for a specific number of days at X temp and then it will automagically go back to your regular schedule and the house is nice and cool (or warm) when you get back.

Posted by: Quality Weenie at September 24, 2008 08:29 AM

Big Daddy is in the heat and air business, and a digital programmable thermostat is indeed one of the wisest purchases you can make.

Glad it worked out for you! I hate reading horror stories about heat and air.

Posted by: Sugar Britches at September 24, 2008 08:50 AM

I cringe every month when our electric bill arrives. With my MIL home all day every day, and her inability to turn off any lights, or, god forbid, open the curtains to let some day light in, and the tv on all day...

We keep it at 78 during the day, 77 at night. But I'd really rather it be 76. We used to keep it at 76, but just cannot afford to be that low. Amazing what a monetary difference 2 degrees makes!

Posted by: wRitErsbLock at September 24, 2008 09:13 AM

We love our digital thermostat!

Also thinking about a tankless hot water system but the solar might be better...

Posted by: pam at September 24, 2008 09:45 AM

We've had digital thermostats for years - although summer up north is nothing like summer down where you are. Like Rich we get more use out of it during the winter. We run our A/C (when we must run it) at the same temp you do - bringing it down to 76 at night and using fans.... our electric never even hits $200 on the highest use months. We also have florescent lights in all the often used lights in the house.

Now that we're in the northeast and have to do heating oil - HOLY CRAP - our heating bills have doubled since moving up here... if not more. (and Chicago is way colder - not to mention the house we had there was not at all efficient!)

We're actually thinking of putting in a heat-pump system for the tween times like fall and spring. It's too cold not to have some heat on (sorry I don't do well when the temp in the house is below 68 during the day) but damn I hate using oil during those times. A heat-pump would be just the thing for the tide over.

Posted by: Teresa at September 24, 2008 11:44 AM

Just curious.

Did you get the programmable digital where you can set the weekday temperatures when no one is home to 80 or so and then 1/2 an hour before you are due to arrive home, it begins cooling to your 78?

Works wonders and it's damn hot in south Texas...

; )

Posted by: Christina at September 25, 2008 11:31 AM

Forgot to mention -- last summer we added another R30 of bat insulation, on top of our ancient (1974) R19, to the attic of our one story home. We noticed a difference. Sadly we couldn't add more insulation to the south facing addition with the vaulted ceiling (scissor truss). Every little bit helps.

Posted by: cin at September 25, 2008 02:56 PM