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Carole
12-07-2008, 07:00 PM
Just wondering how many of you have received your electric bill this month and are still trying to scrape your jaw off the floor.

Mine went from $178 last month to

. . .drumroll, please . . .

$388 this month!!!

And we're cold! It's still COLD in this house. $388 to stay cold?

I just can't wait to get next month's bill.

alleycat
12-07-2008, 07:02 PM
That's quite a bill for our part of the country.

I think mine was $80 (which doesn't include the period of cold weather we've had lately).

Carole
12-07-2008, 07:09 PM
Does TVA provide your electricity? I just read that finally they are going to introduce a rate decrase, and that the average customer can expect to see an approximate decrease of $4 to $8 on their bills.

THXALOT!

Meanwhile, the CEO of TVA gets a million dollar raise?

From TVA's website, I found this press release:

“We are glad for the relief this decrease will bring to rate payers across the Valley,” said TVA Chief Financial Officer Kim Greene. “Recent reductions in purchased power and natural gas prices have helped reduce our actual costs and forecast for the second quarter of 2009. Unfortunately, coal prices remain significantly higher than they were a year ago, and sustained drought conditions across the Tennessee Valley have cut TVA’s hydro generation by more than 50 percent, preventing TVA’s fuel costs from dropping further.”

You have got to be kidding me! They're glad for the RELIEF that $4 to $8 will give customers? That'll just buy two gallons of kerosene for my kerosene heater that literally keeps us from freezing.

Clair Dickson
12-07-2008, 07:10 PM
I hear ya-- don't know what this month's damage is, but we usually pay over a hundred in gas to be cold all winter. We have an electric blanket for when we watch TV, a space heater in the bedroom, and I have my computers keeping my little office warm. Sort of.

Part of the problem here is the stupid vaulted ceilings. I hate vaulted ceilings-- I'm not fourteen feet tall and hate paying money to heat space I'm not using. (Good thing we're renting... and hopefully moving soon.)

alleycat
12-07-2008, 07:12 PM
Does TVA provide your electricity? I just read that finally they are going to introduce a rate decrase, and that the average customer can expect to see an approximate decrease of $4 to $8 on their bills.
Yes, the electricity in Nashville is generated by the TVA.

Darzian
12-07-2008, 07:16 PM
$388 this month!!!



O-m-g.

Seriously, O-m-g.

This IS an average household, I presume?

O-m-g.

Carole
12-07-2008, 07:16 PM
I hear ya-- don't know what this month's damage is, but we usually pay over a hundred in gas to be cold all winter. We have an electric blanket for when we watch TV, a space heater in the bedroom, and I have my computers keeping my little office warm. Sort of.

Part of the problem here is the stupid vaulted ceilings. I hate vaulted ceilings-- I'm not fourteen feet tall and hate paying money to heat space I'm not using. (Good thing we're renting... and hopefully moving soon.)

Sounds like my house. We spent most of this year insulating the house better--it's 108 years old and drafty. We thought it would make a difference. NOPE! It's not even the coldest part of the season yet.

We don't use gas. We had a terrible experience with gas several years ago, and we just won't use it. That winter, our heating bills went from around $200 one month to over $700 the next!!! We had a gas boiler with steam baseboard heat. It was warm, I'll give you that.

alleycat
12-07-2008, 07:18 PM
Do you have a heat pump, or something else?

Carole
12-07-2008, 07:20 PM
Yes, the electricity in Nashville is generated by the TVA.

I'm assuming that your house isn't drafty like mine, then. I would love to see an $80 electric bill. :(


O-m-g.

Seriously, O-m-g.

This IS an average household, I presume?

O-m-g.

This is an average household. Just my husband and me, and a 2,000 sq. ft. old, drafty house. We don't heat the kitchen, spare bedroom, the foyer or the upstairs bathroom. Literally, when you walk out of the bedroom in the morning, it's like being outside until you make it down the stairs and into the living room. We joke about how we can see our breath on the stairway I even hung sheets (very classy) in the open doorways between the living room and kitchen and between the living room and laundry hoping to hold a little heat into the living room!

Carole
12-07-2008, 07:21 PM
Do you have a heat pump, or something else?

We have stinking electric baseboard heat. I know--horrible efficiency. But it's what we've got. The house came with a broken-down old gas furnace that we don't use.

To keep from really freezing, we use a kerosene heater in the living room only while we're watching TV, a small portable radiator in my office and another radiator in the lower bathroom.

Clair Dickson
12-07-2008, 07:25 PM
Old draft house, eh? The way to go is radiant infloor heating. (It can be costly, but if you do it yourself it's cheaper-- and it saves on heating bills) My parent's house is about 175 years old this spring. Thing leaks heat like a pasta strainer. Wind blows right through it, even though they've added insulation just about in every wall. But this year, they got my oldest Bother to lay radiant infloor tubing. And it's actually WARM. It was the strangest thing going in that house and finding it warm. They still have issues with drafty windows, but it's a huge improvement.

My Oldest Bother did his house two years ago with radiant infloor and his bill is sickening low. Plus, when there's a gathering at his house, he has to turn the heat off or it gets too hot. I think you can get electric boilers for radiant in floor.

In the meantime... if you haven't already, make sure you put plastic over the windows. Unless they're super-high-energy efficiency and not leaking air at all, put up plastic wrap and you will be MUCH warmer. My new-ish condo has new windows, but they're cheap with low R-value. I put up plastic and it makes it much warmer. I like warmer. (Of course, it's still expensive and cold because of the vaulted ceilings, extra-long hallways, and other poor designs.)

ChaosTitan
12-07-2008, 07:26 PM
I'll commiserate with you, Carole. Last winter I was in an 800-square foot apartment that stayed toasty warm, because it had few windows, one level, and a gas stove.

Now I'm in a two-story, turn of the century house, in another state. Lots of windows, lots of drafts, electric stove and everything else. The downstairs stays pretty chilly, because we've never run the heat above 72 degrees (this month it's stayed between 68-70). Our bill for October was $260. More than TWICE what it was in September.

Even though we've kept it cooler in November, and I bought a little space heater for my downstairs bedroom, I shudder to see the new bill.

alleycat
12-07-2008, 07:26 PM
We have stinking electric baseboard heat. I know--horrible efficiency. But it's what we've got. The house came with a broken-down old gas furnace that we don't use.

To keep from really freezing, we use a kerosene heater in the living room only while we're watching TV, a small portable radiator in my office and another radiator in the lower bathroom.
Ah, that's a big part of why your bill is so high, and why it still feels cold.

If you already have the duct work (for the old gas furnace) and plan on staying in the house, you might think about switching to a head pump. My house is on the small size, and it's just me and a cat, but my highest bill ever was about $120. In the summer, ever when it's in the 90's, the bill is about half that.

Disa
12-07-2008, 07:29 PM
Well, we have budget billing for our electric co and we have gas heat. I'd been paying extra the past 3 months so that next year when they recalculate our budget amount it would be less than it is this year due to a credit. Nope- it went up by $2 per month? I'm convinced none of the companies actually read the meter even though we've called and disputed several times.

Rolling Thunder
12-07-2008, 07:33 PM
Insulation doesn't always stop drafts depending on where it was placed. Caulking and foam sealant will do the trick though. There's a good product out by 'Great Stuff' foam. It comes in a blue can and doesn't expand like the original yellow formula. When it cures it has the soft consistency of cotton so it's great around windows. If you can remove your window and door casings you'll find these to be main draft culprits. This is where you use the blue can foam. If you can't remove the casings you can drill 1/2" holes every 10 inches or so apart in the middle, stick the straw in and spray the foam. Start at the lowest hole, this allows you to fill the void evenly from top to bottom. If any foam escapes out the hole you can clean it up with a damp cloth before it cures or just scrape it off after it cures. Then buy some 1/2" dowel rod at Home Depot, cut it to length (up to an inch long should do) coat it with glue and stuff it in the hole. Paint.

Carole
12-07-2008, 07:36 PM
Old draft house, eh? The way to go is radiant infloor heating. (It can be costly, but if you do it yourself it's cheaper-- and it saves on heating bills) My parent's house is about 175 years old this spring. Thing leaks heat like a pasta strainer. Wind blows right through it, even though they've added insulation just about in every wall. But this year, they got my oldest Bother to lay radiant infloor tubing. And it's actually WARM. It was the strangest thing going in that house and finding it warm. They still have issues with drafty windows, but it's a huge improvement.

My Oldest Bother did his house two years ago with radiant infloor and his bill is sickening low. Plus, when there's a gathering at his house, he has to turn the heat off or it gets too hot. I think you can get electric boilers for radiant in floor.

In the meantime... if you haven't already, make sure you put plastic over the windows. Unless they're super-high-energy efficiency and not leaking air at all, put up plastic wrap and you will be MUCH warmer. My new-ish condo has new windows, but they're cheap with low R-value. I put up plastic and it makes it much warmer. I like warmer. (Of course, it's still expensive and cold because of the vaulted ceilings, extra-long hallways, and other poor designs.)

We would love to get radiant floor heat. We talk about it all the time. So far, we just don't have the money. I lost my job at the end of September, and my little unemployment checks only give me a little over $200 a week. Thank GOD Mr. Vagabond still has a decent job.


I'll commiserate with you, Carole. Last winter I was in an 800-square foot apartment that stayed toasty warm, because it had few windows, one level, and a gas stove.

Now I'm in a two-story, turn of the century house, in another state. Lots of windows, lots of drafts, electric stove and everything else. The downstairs stays pretty chilly, because we've never run the heat above 72 degrees (this month it's stayed between 68-70). Our bill for October was $260. More than TWICE what it was in September.

Even though we've kept it cooler in November, and I bought a little space heater for my downstairs bedroom, I shudder to see the new bill.

We were in a little apartment before we bought this house. It had gigantic windows, but this place was solid as a rock. Back in the Manhattan Project days, it was a military housing building. The walls were about 2 feet thick and everything was really well-insulated. We stayed cozy, and I don't remember ever seeing a bill over $150.


Ah, that's a big part of why your bill is so high, and why it still feels cold.

If you already have the duct work (for the old gas furnace) and plan on staying in the house, you might think about switching to a head pump. My house is on the small size, and it's just me and a cat, but my highest bill ever was about $120. In the summer, ever when it's in the 90's, the bill is about half that.
We do have the ductwork already in place. Whoever owned this house before us (it was a foreclosure, so we don't know) had new ductwork installed. There is literally no insulation under the house, and there is no way to install any. The crawlspace was made for a cat. The only thing we have been able to do there is to lay rigid insulation over some of the existing floors, install new plywood over that and then move on with new flooring. I figured that would be a major no-no, but I'm learning that it's actually not a bad way to insulate and it's better than nothing, I guess.

This month's plan is to see about getting a HELOC or equity loan, and using it to pay off the truck and get a new central heat system. Hopefully it'll work out. Since the house was a foreclosure and we got it for cheap, it's increased in value quite a bit over the past year. I think the last tax appraisal showed about a $30,000 increase.

Carole
12-07-2008, 07:38 PM
Insulation doesn't always stop drafts depending on where it was placed. Caulking and foam sealant will do the trick though. There's a good product out by 'Great Stuff' foam. It comes in a blue can and doesn't expand like the original yellow formula. When it cures it has the soft consistency of cotton so it's great around windows. If you can remove your window and door casings you'll find these to be main draft culprits. This is where you use the blue can foam. If you can't remove the casings you can drill 1/2" holes every 10 inches or so apart in the middle, stick the straw in and spray the foam. Start at the lowest hole, this allows you to fill the void evenly from top to bottom. If any foam escapes out the hole you can clean it up with a damp cloth before it cures or just scrape it off after it cures. Then buy some 1/2" dowel rod at Home Depot, cut it to length (up to an inch long should do) coat it with glue and stuff it in the hole. Paint.

Great Stuff and I are old friends. I've used it lots on this house, but I'm not familiar with the blue can. Maybe a trip to Lowe's is in order.

We have worked on the windows a lot, but they are still drafty, at least the ones without plastic on them. They're 7' tall!

regdog
12-07-2008, 07:41 PM
Electric heat is terribly expensive. The only room in our house that is heated with electric heat is my room, the rest of the house is heated with oil. One month last winter I turned the heat on in my room to 64 the electric bill jumped to $185. And I only turned the heat on occasionally.
I had to shut the heat off in my room and move downstairs, where I am camped again this winter.

Sorry you've been slapped with a huge bill.

Rolling Thunder
12-07-2008, 07:41 PM
Great Stuff and I are old friends. I've used it lots on this house, but I'm not familiar with the blue can. Maybe a trip to Lowe's is in order.

We have worked on the windows a lot, but they are still drafty, at least the ones without plastic on them. They're 7' tall!

I'll assume you have high ceilings, too? If so, ceiling fans set on the lowest setting in reverse will bring a lot of heat down where it belongs.

Carole
12-07-2008, 07:44 PM
Electric heat is terribly expensive. The only room in our house that is heated with electric heat is my room, the rest of the house is heated with oil. One month last winter I turned the heat on in my room to 64 the electric bill jumped to $185. And I only turned the heat on occasionally.
I had to shut the heat off in my room and move downstairs, where I am camped again this winter.

Sorry you've been slapped with a huge bill.
We have honestly talked about closing off the entire upstairs for the winter. I looked into oil heat, and I really like the things I read about it. The two biggest reasons we haven't decided for sure on it is the cost of a new container and having it put into the ground, and being dependent on buying the oil as we go and not knowing what the prices will change to. Then again, apparently electricity isn't our friend!

regdog
12-07-2008, 07:52 PM
We have honestly talked about closing off the entire upstairs for the winter. I looked into oil heat, and I really like the things I read about it. The two biggest reasons we haven't decided for sure on it is the cost of a new container and having it put into the ground, and being dependent on buying the oil as we go and not knowing what the prices will change to. Then again, apparently electricity isn't our friend!

Nothing says a good night sleep, like a reclining chair in the living room.

Oil prices were awful last winter almost $4 a gallon. We turned the heat on only when we needed to, but this year we were able to lock in our price for 2.69 a gallon.

I don't know if they put oil tanks in the ground, I think they will only put them in basements now. But then I live in MA it might be different where you are.

Carole
12-07-2008, 07:56 PM
I'll assume you have high ceilings, too? If so, ceiling fans set on the lowest setting in reverse will bring a lot of heat down where it belongs.

We do. We've got 10' ceilings, and no ceiling fans.


Nothing says a good night sleep, like a reclining chair in the living room.

Oil prices were awful last winter almost $4 a gallon. We turned the heat on only when we needed to, but this year we were able to lock in our price for 2.69 a gallon.

I don't know if they put oil tanks in the ground, I think they will only put them in basements now. But then I live in MA it might be different where you are.

From what I'm seeing, most people have their tanks put into the ground around here.

Mr. Vagabond just woke up and I gave him the fabulous news. Needless to say, he's thrilled! He asked, "Why on earth is it $388? Last year, we were warmer than this (We weren't) and the highest bill didn't get that high!" I reminded him that last year, we didn't heat any room in the house except our bedroom during the day (for our dog) on weekdays because I was at work. Now, I'm home all day every day.

Beach Bunny
12-07-2008, 07:58 PM
We joke about how we can see our breath on the stairway I even hung sheets (very classy) in the open doorways between the living room and kitchen and between the living room and laundry hoping to hold a little heat into the living room!
Sheets aren't heavy enough, try quilts or blankets. Seriously, in the Middle Ages, people hung tapestries and other types of thick material on the walls and over doorways and windows to block drafts and keep their castles relatively warmer.

seun
12-07-2008, 08:00 PM
I'm dreading our gas bill. We had central heating put in a couple of months ago and I've been putting off upping the monthly payment to British Gas in a kind of well maybe the bill won't be that big when it comes in way of thinking. The only good thing is obviously we won't be using the heating in a few months so we can pay it off then.

Rolling Thunder
12-07-2008, 08:00 PM
We do. We've got 10' ceilings, and no ceiling fans.





They make for a great investment. In the summer you set the rotation to push air down. You'll find it will make a hot day much more comfortable. In winter you flip the switch (or use the dandy remote many come with now) and reverse direction, which forces the warm air at the ceiling to come down. They cost pennies per day to operate and cut fuel bills by dollars.

Darzian
12-07-2008, 09:33 PM
And here I am in Colombo, detesting perpetual summer.

Fraulein
12-07-2008, 11:32 PM
They make for a great investment. In the summer you set the rotation to push air down. You'll find it will make a hot day much more comfortable. In winter you flip the switch (or use the dandy remote many come with now) and reverse direction, which forces the warm air at the ceiling to come down. They cost pennies per day to operate and cut fuel bills by dollars.I was going to bring up the ceiling fan thing, too.
They have to be run on 'low' though in the winter, and the only fans that should be running are the fans that have to be. If the ceiling fans are spinning at full blast, then it can feel cooler, because the cold air is breezing along with the warm air. If a fan is running that doesn't need to be running, i.e. there is no one in that particular room, then it's a waste of electricity.

Shadow_Ferret
12-07-2008, 11:33 PM
I haven't looked at mine. I haven't paid it since October.

They can't turn us off after Nov. 1st.

SouthernFriedJulie
12-08-2008, 12:35 AM
I feel your pain, Carole. We had our gas cut off last August because the bill was just too high. Our 'room mates' wouldn't help pay it. Nevermind they used the gas more than us. Extra hot water for clothes, 4 extra showers (some lasting more than 15 min), dishes, and the dryer running each day. On top of extra heating during the previous cold season.

Their only bill, other than a little help with rent and food was the electricty. I didn't know it had been let go until I saw a cut off notice come in. $1600 had to be paid so it wouldn't be shut off because they'd made a payment arrangement and defaulted! So I paid that and has any of them offered to help get a hot water heater or anything?


Noooooooooo. But they have had 3 different cars since then.

We use electric heaters and I was thinking of getting a kerosene one in case of power outages. Thing is my one child is autistic and just doesn't understand how to not jump all over. I'm terrified she or her little brother would knock it over. Not so much their sister.

I think I'm more scared that this time the bill will be let go and I'll end up with another huge one to pay. Ours is normally, in the winter with these heaters, around $300+.

mario_c
12-08-2008, 01:17 AM
Sheets aren't heavy enough, try quilts or blankets. Seriously, in the Middle Ages, people hung tapestries and other types of thick material on the walls and over doorways and windows to block drafts and keep their castles relatively warmer.Earlier this month I would leave the shades open on the sundown side of the house, to let sunlight in and warm up my room while I'm at work. But this late in the season, doesn't seem to have any lasting effect.
I keep my bedroom door closed, roll up some old due-for-Goodwill slacks and line the foot of the door with em'. Old t-shirts work on the sills of windows. Doing the tape thing on the windows too.

My gas bill is creeping up: I paid $25 every 2 months over the summer, now I get a bill for $70. I'm awaiting the $250+ monthly bills very soon.

Is it really too late to move to California?

Clair Dickson
12-08-2008, 02:55 AM
Seriously, if you have windows without plastic on that, you need to put plastic up. Old windows will radiate cold. Go put your hands in front of one of the glass panes and feel the cold. Put plastic up.

You might look into an oil-filled closed-circuit spaced heater to use in the room where you'll be spending time during the day (or at night, perchance.) I imagine it can't be nearly as inefficient as the system you're using now. The oil-filled ones look like radiators. They heat slowly, so it's not like flip the switch and you're warm, but they are good for heating a room. We use one in the bedroom. Hubby turns it on at 8pm. By the time I get home around 10pm, the bedroom is warm enough that I might even be willing to undress. We turn the heat down at night (and the M.Bedroom is way far away, at the farthest point in the entire place from the furnace, so the thermostat at the other end of the place says 72, but it's a lovely 64 in the bedroom before the heater gets turned on. Ugh.) All hot parts are covered. You can sit on it and it'll take some time before you burn any exposed skin. This might help by warming the spaces your in more efficiently-- then you can turn down the other thing and still not freeze to death. And, since the oil retains heat, it's not using huge amounts of juice.

If you're blocking off areas, and you're not opposed to ugly, get some foam board insulation. You can tape it in place, or even prop it in a door frame, etc. Much better than sheets.

Best of luck. And keep warm!

maestrowork
12-08-2008, 02:56 AM
We have stinking electric baseboard heat. I know--horrible efficiency. But it's what we've got. The house came with a broken-down old gas furnace that we don't use.

Probably a good idea to invest in a heat pump or some other efficient system. Also, consider insulate your house better.

I know, it stings, but there are ways to lower your cost.

Ever since I switched to a programmable digital thermostat, my bill (I do have a heat pump) dropped about 30%, and that's with the rate increase.

If you have a fireplace consider using it and lower your thermostat. Same with space heater.

If your furnace has an air filter, make sure you change/clean it.

Susie
12-08-2008, 03:57 AM
So sorry that happened, Carole. That's a huge jump! Prayers sent your way.

WerenCole
12-08-2008, 04:09 AM
Good thing I have a place with heat, electric etc included. Like I said recently, I should stay in academia forever.

Carole
12-08-2008, 04:47 AM
Ok, well we've spent nearly the entire day moping about and discussing this situation. Mr. Vagabond is checking in about the home equity loan in the morning. If that goes through, we'll have enough to pay off the truck and get a new heat pump. That will be fantastic! (We bought the truck on 4th of July last year, and the only finance company available was Nissan. We got a terrible interest rate.)

Believe it or not, this old house doesn't have a fireplace! It used have four, but they were all removed (not closed off--I mean completely removed) before we bought it. We will be installing at least one, but not before getting a heat pump.

Ray, what does a programmable thermostat do in regard to helping with electricity use? I'm not familiar with them.

Rolling Thunder
12-08-2008, 04:55 AM
Seriously, if you have windows without plastic on that, you need to put plastic up. Old windows will radiate cold. Go put your hands in front of one of the glass panes and feel the cold. Put plastic up.

You might look into an oil-filled closed-circuit spaced heater to use in the room where you'll be spending time during the day (or at night, perchance.) I imagine it can't be nearly as inefficient as the system you're using now. The oil-filled ones look like radiators. They heat slowly, so it's not like flip the switch and you're warm, but they are good for heating a room. We use one in the bedroom. Hubby turns it on at 8pm. By the time I get home around 10pm, the bedroom is warm enough that I might even be willing to undress. We turn the heat down at night (and the M.Bedroom is way far away, at the farthest point in the entire place from the furnace, so the thermostat at the other end of the place says 72, but it's a lovely 64 in the bedroom before the heater gets turned on. Ugh.) All hot parts are covered. You can sit on it and it'll take some time before you burn any exposed skin. This might help by warming the spaces your in more efficiently-- then you can turn down the other thing and still not freeze to death. And, since the oil retains heat, it's not using huge amounts of juice.

If you're blocking off areas, and you're not opposed to ugly, get some foam board insulation. You can tape it in place, or even prop it in a door frame, etc. Much better than sheets.

Best of luck. And keep warm!

I have three of the oil filled radiators. My house is a 1200 sqft ranch. I have one heater in my bedroom which I use overnight. One is located in the dining room and the other is in the far hallway near the bathroom. All of them are on inexpensive timers you can buy at Home Depot.

During the night I have my oil furnace set to 62 degrees. The OFRad in my bedroom is set to turn on at 9pm each night and turns off at 8am. At 6am the main oil furnace turns itself on and brings the entire house up to 70 degrees. I have a 200 gallon oil tank in the basement and I used only 100 gallons of oil last winter doing this. I still have 100 gallons for this season but will probably buy another 100 gallons in late January.

The OFRad in the hallway turns on at 4pm each night, which is about an hour before I come home from work most days. I switch the OFRad on in the dining room after I get home. If it was very cold outside the house might be at 65 degrees all day. If it is 65 or less, I turn the furnace on, bring the house to 70 degrees and then shut the furnace down. The two OFRads will keep the house at 70 degrees all night if I didn't set them to turn off, but leaving them on would be expensive for me.

In any event, doing something like this, tailored to your own lifestyle, might do wonders for heating bills. Central HVAC is rather wasteful if you don't use all of the house all of the time.

I also use a Kerosene space heater, especially for emergencies. New ones have 'snuffer' shutoffs that snuff the wick the instant the unit is bumped. Kerosene is expensive here right now; $3.65/gal vs. fuel oil at $2.59/gal, but having a backup source is nice in the event of a storm. I went six days without power last winter and the space heater made all the difference. If you can wait until February you'll find stores like Home Depot will discount them at least 50%. So, if you can get through the winter this year without one, buy one then.

kristie911
12-08-2008, 06:57 AM
I feel so fortunate to have geothermal heat. This month my electric bill was $116 and that's heat and electricity for the month. My highest ever was $210 in the dead of winter but not having to buy propane like most people is a godsend. As a single mom, it's a relief not having to worry about how I'm going to fill my propane tank every couple of months. I would have lost my house by now if I heated with propane.

My parents and my boyfriend both have outdoor woodstoves which are fabulous...provided you have a place to cut wood from. But the heat is wonderful and it heats their hot water too. Endless hot water... :)

SouthernFriedJulie
12-08-2008, 07:02 AM
Rolling Thunder, thanks for the info! I'd have PMed that, but, well, I tossed my cookies and still can't send pm's.

Appalachian Writer
12-08-2008, 07:06 AM
I cleverly purchased an ALL electric home. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Anyway, I have an enclosed fireplace with a fan for supplement heat. I didn't have any wood in November. My electric bill was $252.00 for the month. That's NOVEMBER! I quickly found someone who'd bring me a load of wood pronto. Hopefully, it'll help reduce the bill for December (Christmas light month). I'm also taking other precautions, but what I really want is for Rolling Thunder to do an efficiency test on my house. Talk about some great ideas! :D

LaurieD
12-08-2008, 07:28 AM
May I join this choir?

Our home is about 80 years old, built in bits and pieces and poorly insulated in the oldest parts of the house. The windows are old and drafty, but I changed our window coverings this year for insulated drapes and it's cut down the chill felt by the windows quite a bit. We have propane heat and have our tank filled every other month to break the bill into smaller, easier to swallow chunks - had it filled this past week - 75 gallons for$150.

Propane is also subject the same up and down price you see at the gas station - this week it was $1.98 a gallon. Last winter we were up to $3 a gallon

Old Hack
12-08-2008, 11:34 AM
Ha. I can beat you ALL.

Our house is off-grid in an exposed, moorland location and we used to depend on a diesel generator for our electricty. Annual costs ran to nearly 3,000 (fuel and servicing), AND the thing used to cut out in the cold weather. So three years ago we put up a wind turbine which now provides just about all our electricity, and about a quarter of our heating too, when it's windy. Lovely! But it did cost us 23,000, so it wasn't a cheap option.

Our central heating is oil-fired and since we put it in, the cost of oil has gone up from about 16p a litre to over 95p a litre. So that's mopped up all the savings we made from the turbine and we now spend over 3,000 a year on heating oil, instead of diesel. Oh, joy.

Our house is 400 years old and draughty like you wouldn't believe (when it snowed last week we found a snowdrift INSIDE one of the attics). Plastic film over the windows and so on is useful but when you're doing permanent building work it's important to mimic the original construction methods, otherwise you might do something that stops the house working properly and so causes new problems (typical issues here are cement-mortar repairs to a house build with lime mortar--it causes rapid deterioration in the fabric of the house and drives damp where it doesn't belong).

Cassiopeia
12-08-2008, 11:56 AM
I keep my house at 67 degrees during the day and 65 at night. My family is hating it but I told them that sweats and hoodies and blankets are our friends. Most winter months I've paid close to 600 dollars in heating and electric alone. That's both gas and electric. This month, I only had to pay 160.

Ol' Fashioned Girl
12-08-2008, 10:09 PM
Ol' Boy and I have both the natural gas and the electricity bills on average billing... really, really helps. We pay $146.00 a month for power and $74 for natural gas. $220 a month doesn't seem so bad after reading some of y'all's posts!

Shaun M
12-08-2008, 10:28 PM
Perhaps you want to look into geothermal heating?

If you are using electricity to heat your home, that bill really isn't that bad.

My bill for last month was 250, but that was for Gas/Electric/Water.

Shaun

Gary
12-09-2008, 06:28 AM
I feel so fortunate to have geothermal heat.

I'll 2nd that. We heat our all-electric 3,000 sq ft house for about $200 a month, and cool it in summer for an average of about $300 a month.

Our last house also had geothermal and it paid for itself in four years. We lived there ten years and never had a service call. All I did was replace air filters.

nevada
12-09-2008, 06:58 AM
I guess I'm really lucky. I live in a 20 yr old apartment building, two-story loft, two and a half story vaulted ceilings. Like most apartment buildings I have hot water baseboard heaters. We have to keep our thermostat at 72 degrees minimum or when it gets really cold in winter (ie -30 to -40) the hot water, if it's not circulating, will freeze and the pipes burst.

In calgary, everyone uses natural gas for heating. No oil heaters anywhere. the average gas bill to heat an average family home of about 1500 to 1700 sq feet is a few hundred dollars. the provincial gov't kicks in a rebate if natural gas goes above a certain price. Last year that kicked in for one month. Keeping in mind that in calgary, it does get down to -35 several months out of the year.

I'm lucky in that I dont have to pay for heat. I only have an electricity bill that never varies from 40 dollars a month. I cant imagine having heating bills that high and not having a warm house. It totally boggles my mind. I can't imagine the stress that must cause on top of having to pay all the other bills.

C.bronco
12-09-2008, 07:16 AM
Mine have doubled since last year, because most of my in-laws have moved in.

mario_c
12-11-2008, 09:04 AM
Up to $150 for November.

jennifer75
12-11-2008, 09:09 AM
Just wondering how many of you have received your electric bill this month and are still trying to scrape your jaw off the floor.

Mine went from $178 last month to

. . .drumroll, please . . .

$388 this month!!!

And we're cold! It's still COLD in this house. $388 to stay cold?

I just can't wait to get next month's bill.

Over here, we get billed every other month. My bill averages about $80 in the summer. Our heater and water are on the Gas bill...which averages about $50 a month in the winter. $30 in the summer.

Since I moved - and became past due before the move - my Gas bill right now is $140, don't want to even think about my electric bill. Eeeeeeks.

jennifer75
12-11-2008, 09:11 AM
We have stinking electric baseboard heat. I know--horrible efficiency. But it's what we've got. The house came with a broken-down old gas furnace that we don't use.

To keep from really freezing, we use a kerosene heater in the living room only while we're watching TV, a small portable radiator in my office and another radiator in the lower bathroom.

We went from a 40 year old apartment building to an apt bldg built in 1915....IT'S COLD. My bedroom closet is the same temperature as a walk in fridge. COLD.

Carole
12-13-2008, 07:57 PM
Ha. I can beat you ALL.

Our house is off-grid in an exposed, moorland location and we used to depend on a diesel generator for our electricty. Annual costs ran to nearly 3,000 (fuel and servicing), AND the thing used to cut out in the cold weather. So three years ago we put up a wind turbine which now provides just about all our electricity, and about a quarter of our heating too, when it's windy. Lovely! But it did cost us 23,000, so it wasn't a cheap option.

Our central heating is oil-fired and since we put it in, the cost of oil has gone up from about 16p a litre to over 95p a litre. So that's mopped up all the savings we made from the turbine and we now spend over 3,000 a year on heating oil, instead of diesel. Oh, joy.

Our house is 400 years old and draughty like you wouldn't believe (when it snowed last week we found a snowdrift INSIDE one of the attics). Plastic film over the windows and so on is useful but when you're doing permanent building work it's important to mimic the original construction methods, otherwise you might do something that stops the house working properly and so causes new problems (typical issues here are cement-mortar repairs to a house build with lime mortar--it causes rapid deterioration in the fabric of the house and drives damp where it doesn't belong).

Yes, yes, yes . . . but as I recall, your house is also a fairytale-looking piece of dreamy real estate. :)

But I do understand the drafts. Well, probably not to the extent that you have them because I've yet to find a snowdrift inside the attic! Holy cow!

We are working on the house now, and we have turned all the heaters down. The refi didn't happen. It could have, but we opted out. The cash-out amount wasn't as much as we were hoping, so we decided to do a little more work and then do the refi. The interest rates are pretty good right now--we were going to get a point lower--so we're trying to get the work done quickly before that changes. THEN we will get the new central system. It might still be expensive to run, but I would like to at least be warm if I'm going to spend $400 a month in the winter.

robeiae
12-13-2008, 09:47 PM
My bill for the month was down about 20% from last year. Haven't had to run the AC so much...

Carole
01-09-2009, 05:33 PM
Drumroll, please. I just got my bill for this month. $421. I give up.

Mela
01-09-2009, 07:30 PM
We moved into our house January 2003 - the winter from hell. Frigid. Snowy.
I kept on turning up the heat and the house wasn't getting any warmer. Finally in the wee hours of a February morning we realized the boiler had shut down - we were walking around the house in our winter coats until the oil company came. The people who had the house before us hadn't had the boiler cleaned in, like, seven years so all the gunky build up was preventing it from working properly.

But I hear ya. We went from paying $177 on every fill up to close to $400 a month and we have a 950 square foot ranch!!

What helps: heavy curtains over the windows - and don't open them on real frigid days. I agree with whoever said blankets instead of sheets (and, really, the blankets couldn't look any worse than the sheets).

Also, you can get the oil tank installed inside the house somewhere (if you have a basement) or above ground. I'd be wary about putting the oil tank in ground.

Carole
01-09-2009, 07:50 PM
I don't know if there is anything else we can do inside to insulate better. I'm just at a loss now. We decided to go through with the refi after all and get the new system. Maybe--just maybe that will help.

I did read a bit of interesting news a few days ago. I don't know if anyone has seen anything about the sludge spill here recently, but it's a gigantic mess. What I read in the paper is that TVA plans to raise our rates to pay for their mess. Great. God forbid any of the corporate multi-millionaires take a pay cut. It makes so much more sense to spread it out among all the average people who barely scrape to get by as it is.

I feel a letter writing campaign coming on . . .

brad_b
01-09-2009, 09:02 PM
Makes one wish they'd get on the ball with Cold Fusion technology so we all can generate our own energy - like the power companies want to see that happen. There are several farms in the area that have wind turbines to help defray costs, of course that won't go over in residential areas.

Shadow_Ferret
01-16-2009, 12:59 AM
I put off paying my energy bill since October. I was dreading looking at how much it was. I was expecting I owed around $1000 or so for over 3 months.

But it was only $567. I was pretty happy with that and paid half.

maestrowork
01-16-2009, 01:28 AM
Bills this winter are dramatically higher than last year's, and it's not like this year's been colder. In fact, this winter has been rather mild (except for the current cold spell). It has to be because of rate hikes. Last year this month, the bill was $220. This month, it's $352. The weird thing is I've installed a new digital thermostat. The bills during the summer months were lower than those of last year (granted, it's been a mild summer compared to last summer as well), but it's kind of baffling.

maestrowork
01-16-2009, 01:29 AM
I put off paying my energy bill since October. I was dreading looking at how much it was. I was expecting I owed around $1000 or so for over 3 months.

3 months? Aren't you afraid they're going to cut your line?

Shadow_Ferret
01-16-2009, 01:38 AM
There is a Wisconsin law that they can't shut off heat after November. And that moratorium is good until April, I believe.

maestrowork
01-16-2009, 02:09 AM
There is a Wisconsin law that they can't shut off heat after November. And that moratorium is good until April, I believe.

You'll still have to catch up with your payments in April, right, or they will shut you off immediately. No?

Clair Dickson
01-16-2009, 02:26 AM
I re-recomend plastic over the windows. Seriously-- not only are old windows drafty, but the single pane will just radiate the cold into the room. Put plastic up and you will notice a difference. (What have you got to loose? A few bucks in plastic?)

Foam board is a decent insulator. You said the floor were uninsulated and get under the house-- right? Putting down a second layer of floor will do. You should make sure, one way or another, that you reduce drafts under the house (maybe foam board and some great stuff to seal the gaps as a temporary fix for winter.) Also, check to see if you can seal the floor to the wall-- no seriously. This is a great place for old houses to leak.

My parents did a poor-man's radiant in floor system. Dad and Oldest Bother are handy men, sort of. My folks coiled a few loops of radiant in the rooms they needed, laid insulation and plywood on top and have warmed the rooms considerably. They didn't even bother to secure the plywood... but it works.

Also, check the attic for insulation. Is there enough? Could there be more? My parents house has virtually no attic insulation when they moved in. Of course, the rest of the house didn't have insulation in the walls either... consider the blankets/ tapestries on the walls things if you can't pull down the drywall and put in insulation.

Good luck. And keep warm. I know you're trying and I'm just trying to help. I hate cold almost as much as I hate insane heating bills.

jennifer75
01-16-2009, 02:33 AM
I just paid $100 towards my Electric bill, a third of what was owed two days ago. Ack.

Shadow_Ferret
01-16-2009, 03:34 AM
You'll still have to catch up with your payments in April, right, or they will shut you off immediately. No?
Yes, or make some sort of payment arrangements. As I said, I paid half today. I'll make it up by April.