Electric bill

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by TuffToodle, Nov 29, 2018.

  1. TuffToodle

    TuffToodle New Member

    Hello all!
    This is my first time in the forum so I am hoping I'm in the right place. I am desperate for some help! I will post whatever information you need, so please just ask.
    A few years ago we installed a new geothermal system alongside a new solar panel system. We expected that with this combination our energy bills would be nearly nonexistent. However, every year from November to may we get hit with ridiculously high electric bills . Last February it was over $500. It seems clear that the issue is the cold weather. We are remodeling our first floor and doing all the work ourselves so in the past our air sealing wasn't perfect, but each year we get closer and it doesn't reflect in our bills. Each year I have emailed both the Geo installers and solar installers to make sure the systems are operating properly and they assure me it's nothing in their end. I'm at a loss as to the cause and not sure what to do. I have considered an energy audit, but that doesn't seem worth it until the remodel is complete. I know we are under insulated in our attic, but we had multiple companies give us estimates and fixing the issue is only projected to save us about $80/year. Our hot water heater is in the garage, but I did cover it with an insulation blanket and wall in the room to help. Our windows are all relatively new. If anyone has any insight I would really appreciate the help.
     
  2. nc73

    nc73 Member Forum Leader

    Did you even check to see if your heat strips were coming on? Why is it coming on? We also don't know what size your home is, heat pump size, etc etc. Your entering water temperature, leaving temperature, closed loop, closed loop?
     
  3. TuffToodle

    TuffToodle New Member

    I'm sorry, I don't understand much about the system that has been installed but I am happy to find that information if you can tell me how. How would I know if the heat strips were on?
    My home is 2400 sq ft. We have a closed loop system it's a trane t2gn. The original estimate from the company lists the max temp at 95 average at 67.6 and min at 31.9. I still have all the original paperwork so I can scan it in if you like. I can also give you the bar graph of energy usage from the electric company .Just let me know what to look for. Thanks for reaching out.
     
  4. nc73

    nc73 Member Forum Leader

    Your thermostat should indicate emergency heat I would think. I would get your installer to measure all the usual temperatures, entering water temp, etc and show you the numbers. You should not allow them to ignore the problem and just say all is well when it obviously isn't.
     
  5. TuffToodle

    TuffToodle New Member

    The first year we installed geothermal we were remodeling and had taken the thermostat off the wall and placed it on the kitchen counter - unbeknowst to me, my 2 year old son had gotten a hold of it and turned on the emergency heat - we operated it like that for about a month. When the sky high bill came in we realized what had happened and asked our installer to help us out. We now no longer have the option to turn on emergency heat from the thermostat inside, there is a switch in the garage that must be used. So, will the emergency heat come on automatically as needed and then shut back off or will it never come on unless we flip the switch? Also, is that the same as "auxillary" heat? I have seen that on the thermostat in the past
     
  6. nc73

    nc73 Member Forum Leader

    Yeah similar to auxillary heat. If the strips are indeed disabled then it's probably an issue with the loop or heat pump itself. You will need to take all the usual measurements. Get them out there ASAP.
     
  7. TuffToodle

    TuffToodle New Member

    I havehad them out in the past and they have been less than helpful. What kind of information should I be looking for?
     
  8. nc73

    nc73 Member Forum Leader

    I would check the entering water temperature and leaving temp. Water flow, should be about 3gpm per ton. Heat pump refrigerant pressures. Airflow, etc. I would get someone else to do it, no bias that way. Find a Geo guy and he will know what to look for.
     
  9. TuffToodle

    TuffToodle New Member

    Thanks for the guidance. I'll report back when I have more information
     
  10. TuffToodle

    TuffToodle New Member

    After quite a bit of forensic accounting and googling today I have decided the problem must be with the geothermal system. I am having a competing company come to look at it in about 2 weeks. Does anyone know if there is some sort of monitoring system (or if there is one built in to my own system) that I can use to determine exactly when the system is running, how long, if it's using backup heat etc....?
     
  11. Stickman

    Stickman Member

    Www.we
    There are a bunch to choose from. The one I have and gets a good amount of play on this forum is www.welserver.com. Here’s my (simple) site: http://www.welserver.com/WEL0899/

    Good luck!
     
  12. nc73

    nc73 Member Forum Leader

    Some will have their own thermostat with the usual stats. Yours probably a standard one. The problem is you have to add sensors to your systems, such as reading temperature in and out. Welserver is too expensive for what it is. I bought a few items off ebay and monitor everything I need including amp draw, kwh usage, ewt, lwt etc. Costs under 100 bucks and sure I don't have it web accessible, I'm not that anal. If can buy meat thermometers and insert it into pete's port at the heat pump or just touch it against the piping. Don't use an infrared thermometer. It can only really measure objects that has no shine. I would do some research to get to know your heat pump. Not that easy to explain on a forum :)
     
  13. Stickman

    Stickman Member

    Choice is a good thing. So are all the helpful comments. Pfff...
     
    ChrisJ likes this.
  14. ChrisJ

    ChrisJ Active Member Forum Leader

    Is the garage heated at all? Is the water heater connected to the heat pump via the Desuperheater aka hot water generator?

    When heat pumps are connected to a single electric hot water heater, they can make the heating elements in the tank turn on more often.

    Is the air handler in the attic? duct work well insulated?
     
  15. TuffToodle

    TuffToodle New Member

    Sorry it took so long to respond, I stopped getting email notifications of the follow-up comments! So I had our original installer out he did a full review of the system, tweaked the pressure, and said the system was in tip-top shape. We had a competitor out a week later who confirmed what our installer said. We then had a PECO energy auditor out and failed our blower door test miserably. We know we are underinsulated, but the initial projections of our savings by adding more didn't seem worth it (about $80/year). Either that is a very conservative number or there is some other major problem with the geo that is functioning perfectly normally..... To answer ChrisJ's question we do have a desuperhater - the tech turned it off when he came out - he said it doesn't help to have it in the winter. Currently, the geo system is installed in our unheated garage, though we did close off the mechanical room with a door and insulated wall. The ducts are well sealed, my husband just retaped everything, but they do go through the unconditioned attic. I guess its just a matter of insulating and air sealing.
     
  16. nc73

    nc73 Member Forum Leader

    If indeed all is well, your system is undersized for the load. Blame your installer since he did not do a manual J to determine heat loss/gain. My home leaks like a sieve and I sized it accordingly. I don't even have heat strips and it keeps up just fine with low bills.
     
  17. TuffToodle

    TuffToodle New Member

    It is a 4 ton system . Can it really be too small? And if so, what recourse do I have . Obviously we will be air sealing and insulating and that will help some.
     
  18. nc73

    nc73 Member Forum Leader

    Whoever did the energy audit, did they do a manual J? That would be the only way to find out for sure. Did your installer ever do one and showed you the numbers or did he just guess? Insulate here and there will help but I doubt it will solve your problem. How large is your house sqft wise?
     
  19. TuffToodle

    TuffToodle New Member

    If you can tell me what a "manual J" is, I can check my papers to find out. The house is 2400sq ft. (actually I think it's closer to 2317 if I remember correctly)
     
  20. nc73

    nc73 Member Forum Leader

    It is a detailed calculation of how much heat is gained or lost by your
    home under a specific set of conditions. It includes such things as the
    size of each room, the size of windows, type of windows, size of door
    and their type, insulation, and magnetic orientation of the home.

    copied that from a google search but the numbers will be displayed in btuh.
    2400sqft sounds reasonable for a 4 ton if properly insulated. I think he used rule of thumb on this one. Your duct work could also be inadequate.
     

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