December 16, 2014

My Electric Heat Experiment Continues

I'm sitting here with my North Face jacket on, hands are cold and I can feel cool air throughout the house. Both new and regular readers might be saying "turn your heat on" or asking why don't I turn the heat on.

Well remember in one of my recent posts I had talked about reducing my electric usage this winter. One, I was curious with different temperatures and reducing my planet footprint, I really didn't want to pay to keep the house hot because 65° is the maximum setting I have liked over the years during the winters. Also a factor is my utilities raised not only their rates this past September for the first time in three years but they have a schedule where the highest rates per year are during the peak usages per year.

Smart people aren't they? Getting the biggest bang for the buck? So let's charge 'em more during air conditioning and when they use their heaters.

With the new EPA laws on the horizon, and the future of Indiana's coal based power plants, no one really knows how much the cost of electricity will increase ... but most everyone that writes about it or reports it on television agree there could be large increases after the new laws are implemented.

So with that lingering in the back of my mind, I was somewhat concerned yesterday when my local utility company emailed me a survey to complete from a 3rd party organization. They asked all the questions you would expect and it took about ten minutes to complete. While I went through the questions all I could see was, "how will the radical changes to coal based power plants affect you as a consumer".

I am seriously considering having solar panels installed on my roof that faces due east with a clear sky above it. When I have estimated that cost in past years and compared to my low monthly utility bill, the cost to install solar never was justified. It may soon be justified in a year or so.

That also brings up the thought it might be time to go completely mobile, with solar already installed, and hit the road, dogs and all.

Yes, I am concerned that much about future increases to my local utilities since Indiana's power plants in my area and Indianapolis are coal based.

So, where was I? Ah yes, cold hands and a cool 'breeze' throughout the house. Soup for meals never tasted so good as recently.

This past weekend outside was high 40's and some low 50's ... I know not exciting to read about but it ties in with my inside house temps. My house stayed at 60°. It wasn't a sunny weekend but a warmer weekend. Prior to that when the temps had highs in the 30's with lows in the lower 20's, the inside of my house stayed between 56° - 60°. Cold to most people and Heidi but ok for me, Winston and Sadie.

Some will call this an act of boredom but I call it my analytical curiosity by nature. I tried different experiments.
  • Baseboard electric heat on until inside temps got to 65°
  • Only space heaters on until inside temps got to 65°
  • How long did each take?
  • How many kilowatts were used during each time.
No, unlike most things I did not start a new Excel Spreadsheet like I do for everything else, just written notes to compare.

If you have not made it this far, clicked a different site link on the left, I completely understand. Still there are some interesting findings.
  • It took approximately 2 hours to increase the inside temps from 60° to 65°.
  • Baseboard electric heater used 3 kw per hour.
  • Space heaters used 2 kw per hour.
  • If I used the heat late afternoon, it lasted most of the time I was awake.
Adding in my cost of electricity per kilowatt, it proved to me it was much more money than I wanted to spend just to have a warm house 16 hours per day. MY cost included kw used, what they call a PCA tracker fee, sales tax (7%) and a facility charge ($34). With those additional fees that brings my kilowatt cost from around 11.5 cents to 22 cents per kw.

My bill also shows a cost per day just on kw usage. One year ago they said my daily cost was $4.33 per kw and that has increased this year to $4.70 before adding in the fees I listed above. That is an 8.5% increase in cost.

See how much time I have on my hands??  (laughing)

I think by this time in this blog post I am probably talking to myself right now ... but I'll keep going.

Temps are due to drop back into the 30's for the next 10 days with a couple of days of snow predicted. Based on past years, even though I was gone most of the time during the day working ... the house will stay close to 60° no matter what.

Overall I will say my experiment is working out well, at times better than expected.

My new sports blog is staring off well with a LOT of traffic so far after a week of existence. I write there every day but basically am writing the posts a day in advance of posting.

I need to pick up a new tripod to use with my Nikon D3200 I bought last fall. I have a smaller, lighter tripod I bought years ago for the small Nikon  Coolpix 3100. I want to take some night sky shots and need a tripod to take those types of pictures. I have enough Best Buy credits that I can get the tripod for free.

From reading my blog list, it sounds like overnight lows in the SW are about my highs in the "tropics" of southern Indiana. That is still cold no matter where you are. I am glad to see Al and Kelly got their inverter fixed and are planning on more traveling, some revisiting of old favorites.

That's about it from here. I haven't got out much to take photos, after all the hounds and I stay inside most of the time under sleeping bags trying to keep warm ... lol

BTW ... getting a lot of blog visitors from the Ukraine ... you think they are trying to hack me? Do you get them in large numbers on your blog?

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