Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
    (Monroe County)
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    Default electric heat problems?

    More adventures in my new home in the Poconos!

    so our first electric bill came in at $260, and we were shocked! we changed our high use lights to LED bulbs and changed our thermostat from 68 to 63 degrees in the occupied rooms. The next bill came in and it was $420!! thats almost as much as my mortgage!

    I wear we couldn't be using that much electricity so today I went breaker by breaker to determine what was using so much. sure enough it is our electric baseboard heaters. In our unscientific test it brings the rotation of the analog electric meter from 20 mississippi's to 3 mississipi's.

    Could something be wrong with the wiring? or is this just how much it costs for electric heat?

    About the home: 2600sq ft, individual room thermostats and a propane fireplace in the kitchen. Thermostats are set to 63 where we stay, night time and bathrooms set to 50. I'm not sure if i need to keep heat on in the bathrooms to prevent pipes from freezing,

    Thank you guys!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Quakertown, Pennsylvania
    (Bucks County)
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    Default Re: electric heat problems?

    I think electric baseboard heat is the most expensive way heat a house besides burning truffles.

    Went in on a house in Vermont for the ski season years ago.

    It was way cheaper to buy four cords of wood than to use that heat. It was a cold winter.

    Have forced hot air at the house. It's pretty inefficient. All electric sucks. I've been thinking about getting propane for the last 15 years or so. I think it'd be worth it for the oven alone. Electric ranges suck too.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
    (Lehigh County)
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    Default Re: electric heat problems?

    First thing to do is get on budget billing to more evenly equalize the monthly due!!

    Without knowing how old the house is, insulation levels etc, it is hard to say, but baseboard electric is among the most expensive forms of heating. If you have PPL you can go online and see the KWH numbers and average temperatures for each day, might help evaluate the issue. Possibly others do the same, but I do not have them so cannot say.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Lancaster, Pennsylvania
    (Lancaster County)
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    50
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    Default Re: electric heat problems?

    I don't understand electric bills. I know people with all electric and baseboard heat that pay less than $100 a month and others with a gas stove and water heater and baseboard heat that pay $500. I think it's a scam

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
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    Out There, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: electric heat problems?

    I got electric baseboard in my new place. Last bill was over $400 and I have a significantly smaller home than you. I have been running a kerosene heater lately to take the chill off. Luckily I have a wood burner, but I need to get some chimney work done and can't use it this winter.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
    (Monroe County)
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    Default Re: electric heat problems?

    electric heat is the most efficent and the most expensive.
    if i recall, each 8' baseboard uses approximately 1,500-2,000Watt or 1.5 to 2kw per hour.
    at that it produces about 4,500-5,000btu/hr.
    areas like tobyhanna, pa require approximately 60btu/hr per sq foot.

    your electric bill, easiest to figure out what you pay. how many kwh did you use that month? divide the bill by that number and you get your price per kwh. ignore their stupid price to compare, the final bill divided by the use will provide a real rate of cost. don't be surprised when it is between $0.13-$0.15/kw.
    now figure most of those heaters run 5-10 hours a day, thats up to $3 a day per baseboard.

    this is why our alternative energy is so popular when someone does the math. wood, coal, pellets and even propane right now will all result in a savings over time. plus your generally warmer.
    our house would keep a nice balmy 64F in winter at a cost $600-$700/mo just in heating expense. now we heat for substantially less to a higher temp of 72F-78F

    if the weather keeps this way, i'll have spent about $1000 this winter on heat.

    Edit: deregulation has peoples rates all over the board and on top of that some people waste a lot of power.
    "Live free or die. Death is not the worst of evils. John Stark

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Ford City, PA, Pennsylvania
    (Armstrong County)
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    Default Re: electric heat problems?

    Quote Originally Posted by toddxtyboy View Post
    More adventures in my new home in the Poconos!

    so our first electric bill came in at $260, and we were shocked! we changed our high use lights to LED bulbs and changed our thermostat from 68 to 63 degrees in the occupied rooms. The next bill came in and it was $420!! thats almost as much as my mortgage!

    I wear we couldn't be using that much electricity so today I went breaker by breaker to determine what was using so much. sure enough it is our electric baseboard heaters. In our unscientific test it brings the rotation of the analog electric meter from 20 mississippi's to 3 mississipi's.

    Could something be wrong with the wiring? or is this just how much it costs for electric heat?

    About the home: 2600sq ft, individual room thermostats and a propane fireplace in the kitchen. Thermostats are set to 63 where we stay, night time and bathrooms set to 50. I'm not sure if i need to keep heat on in the bathrooms to prevent pipes from freezing,

    Thank you guys!
    Electric heat (with coils) is very expensive. If electric baseboards are your primary heating source (which it sounds like), and you live in Pennsylvania, you are setup for failure. Your electric bill, believe it or not, is actually pretty accurate. You can try to bandaid the problem by enrolling in an "economy" billing plan with your electric company (pretty much the worst thing you can do) or by freezing yourself by setting the temperature really low. What you are really going to hate, is when you see the electric bill during a real winter. This winter has been very warm. If you plan on living in your house for the next 5 years or so, unfortunately your best bet (financially or comfort wise) is getting real heat in your house, either through a natural gas furnace or with a heat pump. Natural gas furnace will be cheaper, but a heat pump will also get you central air conditioning.

    To give you an idea on how much you would save per month, my house is the same size, and I have electric everything (heat pump, electric stove and electric water heater). I keep my thermostat at 70 in the winter and 68 in the summer. My summer electric bills are ~$100, my spring and fall are ~$75, and my winter is $150. Obviously, I don't have natural gas bill.

    A real heating source will increase your comfort, increase your home's value, and save you money.... unfortunately it will require a substantial cost upfront.

    A more accurate way to figure out your electric consumption is to look at your bill and see which month was estimated. It is a very common practice for electric companies to only read your meter every other month, and on the month they do not read it, they estimate how much you used based on previous months. This can give a "low" bill one month and a "high" bill the following either by them underestimating the first month, or over estimating the second month. That evens out in the following month though.
    FWIW, I'm an HVAC technician
    Last edited by danhr; January 25th, 2017 at 11:06 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    DeepInTheWoods, Pennsylvania
    (Warren County)
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    Default Re: electric heat problems?

    Pellet stoves only require 2B metal venting for a chimney, so they're pretty easy to put almost anywhere you can punch a hole thru a wall.
    I'm burning about 4 tons of pellets a year ( $800-900) in my ancient drafty farmhouse.

    I also have propane for heat (Hi efficiency forced air), cook stove, water heater and clothes dryer.

    I also have a small woodburner (logs) in the back of the house for the really cold days and power outages.

    Electricity is VERY expensive in comparison.
    American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
    (Monroe County)
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    Default Re: electric heat problems?

    Quote Originally Posted by danhr View Post
    Electric heat (with coils) is very expensive. If electric baseboards are your primary heating source (which it sounds like), and you live in Pennsylvania, you are setup for failure. Your electric bill, believe it or not, is actually pretty accurate. You can try to bandaid the problem by enrolling in an "economy" billing plan with your electric company (pretty much the worst thing you can do) or by freezing yourself by setting the temperature really low. What you are really going to hate, is when you see the electric bill during a real winter. This winter has been very warm. If you plan on living in your house for the next 5 years or so, unfortunately your best bet (financially or comfort wise) is getting real heat in your house, either through a natural gas furnace or with a heat pump. Natural gas furnace will be cheaper, but a heat pump will also get you central air conditioning.

    To give you an idea on how much you would save per month, my house is the same size, and I have electric everything (heat pump, electric stove and electric water heater). I keep my thermostat at 70 in the winter and 68 in the summer. My summer electric bills are ~$100, my spring and fall are ~$75, and my winter is $150. Obviously, I don't have natural gas bill.

    A real heating source will increase your comfort, increase your home's value, and save you money.... unfortunately it will require a substantial cost upfront.

    A more accurate way to figure out your electric consumption is to look at your bill and see which month was estimated. It is a very common practice for electric companies to only read your meter every other month, and on the month they do not read it, they estimate how much you used based on previous months. This can give a "low" bill one month and a "high" bill the following either by them underestimating the first month, or over estimating the second month. That evens out in the following month though.
    FWIW, I'm an HVAC technician
    Achilles heel of heat pump is in its nature. The less heat outside, the less efficent it runs until it freezes up,thaw cycle wastes energy. Unbeatable in mild winters like these last two though.

    Quote Originally Posted by markshere2 View Post
    Pellet stoves only require 2B metal venting for a chimney, so they're pretty easy to put almost anywhere you can punch a hole thru a wall.
    I'm burning about 4 tons of pellets a year ( $800-900) in my ancient drafty farmhouse.

    I also have propane for heat (Hi efficiency forced air), cook stove, water heater and clothes dryer.

    I also have a small woodburner (logs) in the back of the house for the really cold days and power outages.

    Electricity is VERY expensive in comparison.
    Type-L is pellet venting. Many brands, often 1-3" clearance so small hole. Installation dictated by manufacturer and local governing body.
    "Live free or die. Death is not the worst of evils. John Stark

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
    (Monroe County)
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    Default Re: electric heat problems?

    First I wanted to thank everyone here, you guys have made me feel welcome in PA and on this forum, and I haven't even started browsing the gun sections.

    After more testing, it is definitely the electric baseboard heaters. So in the mean time we shut off the heat completely in the rooms not occupied and are planning to use the propane fireplace more. I'm going to see how the radiant oil space heaters compare in their electric draw, maybe I can use those for the bedrooms.

    For the future I would love to convert our wood fireplace to a wood stove, but that would only heat half the house and whatever heat travels up through the ceilings to the bedrooms. I also am looking at options for a pellet stove in our family room, this is where we spend most of the time. It's adjacent to the room with the propane fireplace, but it is also the largest room in the house with high ceilings as well.

    I'm also interested in the heat pump as mentioned by Danhr. There is no natural gas around here that I know of and the geothermal option seems expensive if its even feasible. So I'm assuming you guys mean the electric heat pumps? We have no air ducts so I would have to get ductless, but I am very interested in this option to heat the family room and bedrooms. We have an 11 month old and a baby on the way so heat in the bedrooms is a necessity.

    I would love to learn more, and hopefully we will be able to sell our old home in NY to be able to get all these upgrades done by next winter. Yes I know we are fortunate to be having a mild winter and i'm grateful.

    Thank you again everyone, i'd love to here more advice too!

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