Connecticut Excessive electric bills

Discussion in 'Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Kristi, Apr 19, 2016.

  1. Kristi

    Kristi New Member

    Hi - I have just signed up for this forum due to the shock of our electric bills with our new geothermal system. We just built a home here in CT and our electric bill has been over $600 for the past two months (just moved in three months ago so first month was partial). I almost cried...we were assured that geo was the way to go and we really tried to do everything correctly during the building process so we would have an energy efficient home. We have 3300 sf, 2100 of which is first floor. We have three zones and programmable Honeywell t-stats... all are set to 67 while home and 62 while away. We have closed foam insulation at the roof line and foundation (sill) with dense pack cellular in the walls. The house is very well insulated, but our average kwh usage is over 120 per day. Not sure what info anyone might need in order to help brainstorm my problem. We do have electric heat as back-up heat, but I'm not sure if it is on or not and don't even know how to check. Can anyone help?
  2. ChrisJ

    ChrisJ Active Member Forum Leader

    What does your Installer say?

    Most of us Geo owners were told to "set it and forget it" with regards to t-stat set backs. The bringing back to temp from a set back can cause the electric auxiliary heat to come on. Some adjustments could possibly be made to t-stats to limit the back up from energizing.

    Pro's here will need to know many details of your system to be able to help.

  3. Kristi

    Kristi New Member

    Our installer is supposed to call tonight, actually. So even a 5 degree swing in the home/away settings could trigger the back up heat to kick on?
    ToolmanJohn likes this.
  4. ChrisJ

    ChrisJ Active Member Forum Leader

    Yes, I don't have a Honeywell but mine flashes AUX with a 2-3 degree increase in temp.

    I have the aux on a separate breaker in the service panel, so I know it doesn't add to the electric use.

    A lot depends on how the t-stat is set up.
  5. Stickman

    Stickman Active Member Forum Leader

    If this is your 5 day a week schedule, most certainly abandon it and go with the "set it and forget it" plan. I too learned about this a few months after my install. If your installation was done well and the t-stat is set up properly you should get to a point where your bills are more reasonable. Hang in there, there's lots of good intentions here and hopefully your installer responds accordingly.

    Since it is a new house, I guess you don't have an idea of what your electric bills are excluding your geo costs?
  6. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    CT is a costly place to buy anything I have found.

    Where are you and where do they make your electricity and with what as fuel.

    Drugs I buy in Ohio at $4.00 in CT cost $26.00 back 15 years.

    Real RX drugs you pervs.

  7. mtrentw

    mtrentw Active Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I have two ghp units. One main house and one for the in-law suite. Main house is set it and forget it. Mother-in-law insists on setbacks at night to keep it cooler. I set gradual steps in the program to bring it from 67-69 at 4 AM, 69-71 at 6 AM.
    Avoid the dramatic swing with the away setting 5 degrees below. This is likely to be a major component of your electric heat strip use.

    Some will completely disable aux heat via breaker.

    If you must insist on setbacks, many of honeywell thermostats have a ramp up recovery feature which initiates a more gradual ramp up from large setbacks.
  8. ChrisJ

    ChrisJ Active Member Forum Leader

    We still don't know any details of your system, may be some other inefficiency's, pumping power, could be open loop and well pump is adding to electric costs.

    Any info on system size and configuration would help.

  9. johnny1720

    johnny1720 Member

    Seems a little excessive my system works perfectly the coldest months of the year I see $350 to $450. I saw over $500 one month two winters ago when the polar vortex was in town. I saw $500 another time when the kWh went from 13 cents to 22 cents per kWh.
  10. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    The set back strategy is almost certainly raising your electric bill by over activating the auxiliary heat (industry common practice is to activate auxiliary any time you are 2 degrees below set point). Is that $600 only the heating bill or the whole house bill? Numbers without context mean little. What do you pay for kwh (with tax and delivery)?
  11. mrrxtech

    mrrxtech Member

    Don't forget to check if your electric supplier has a "Budget Plan".
    That could help spread out those high heating bills in the winter over the cooler summers and periods where no cooling is required, that we experience in the North.
    Ensure your Geothermal Unit is operating efficiently, plus look for other power used unnecessarily, like the home owner who ran a Dehumidifier year round to protect his crawl space in the winter when humidity isn't an issue.

    A Heat Pump or Geothermal Heat Pump gain their power efficiency from being Motor driven devices (I have to mention the Freon latent heat of vaporization to be 100% accurate for the Freon Geeks) which use approximately 60% of the power from the grid since the Fan(s), Compressor and Recirc Pumps are Inductive devices. Strip/Coil/Toaster style heat are purely Resistive devices which use 100% of the power in . This is why you want to do without the strip heat until the Heat Pump can't maintain the homes set temperature, which explains opening the breaker to the Electric Aux Heat to prevent unwanted use.

    If you don't have a Desuperheater Water Heater on your Geothermal Unit, consider including one on your next Unit when your Geothermal Unit wears out.

    I've always used a Water Heater Timer to save power. Why keep the water heater at the desired temperature during periods of non use. Most families know their routine, and can set up the timer to turn the water heater on and off as necessary during the day.

    Some people can manage their home power without it becoming an issue, while others don't want to know anything about where the power goes.
    Those who are efficient with their power use, spend their money savings on other things as if they got a pay raise without the income tax that goes with a pay raise.
  12. mrrxtech

    mrrxtech Member

    Using the 1 Ton of Heating & Cooling per 600 square feet of home, you should have 6 Tons of heat pump Heating/Cooling.
    Some installers use 2 Units such as a 4 Ton and a 2 Ton Unit.

    Your Geothermal Unit(s) may not be running efficiently due to a factory flaw such as a bad Freon control valve, or due to the loop design which should have been identified by the installer as part of the system Check Out procedure.

    If you can get the Manufacturer and Model number off of the Unit and how the water side is designed such as Wells, Ground Loop, or Pond, the Pros here can give you some questions to ask your Installer, since your Unit & Loop are under warranty.

    There should be a Start Up Checklist and performance data filled out in your Owners Manual as evidence by the installer that the Unit(s) was(were) operating within specifications when started up. I've found these documents in my Trane and Carrier owners manuals, for my heat pumps.
    There have been Geothermal owners that didn't get the install they paid for, so this issue should be identified early while the installers consider themselves responsible for the problem. A year or two out they may not want to accept responsibility for their mistakes.
  13. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    This is getting ridiculous. Equipment needs to be sized by load, not by rule of thumb for square footage, especially should you not tell people here what the tonnage should be without knowing any details about the system. You really mislead people here, and you continue to post without merit.

    That is great advise too, given that indoor heat pumps are rated to live 24+ years, and this is a new system. :eek:
  14. mrrxtech

    mrrxtech Member

    The Locals use a thumb rule of 1 Ton per 900 Square Foot. I know because they told me I oversized my Unit by using 1 Ton per 600 Square Foot, since I didn't buy from them.

    My next Unit will have a 5 Ton Capacity, and I will replace the old Unit before it wears out.

    You might focus on helping the Lady instead of taking "Pot Shots" at me. She may have a bad install and will become like Maurice, thinking Geothermal is a Rip Off.
  15. Stickman

    Stickman Active Member Forum Leader

    The OP hasn't been back since 4/19. Reading back into her original post, she said her bill was over $600 for the past two months. We don't know if she means for EACH of the past two months. Otherwise, $300 each month for whole house electric on 3300 sf in February and March with night time setback doesn't sound too bad to me!:confused:
  16. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I am calling you out since every time we are trying to help people here, you are coming up with some ridiculous comments which really have nothing to do with the original problem, and completely lack merit and understanding how the geo systems are operating and what the actual problem might be.

    If you are one who followed some locals with the rule of thumb, and thus oversized and miss-designed your own system, maybe you should not be the person who should give people advise here....especially on issues they don't have.
  17. mrrxtech

    mrrxtech Member

    I comment due to not seeing you helping people who need help.

    I see people dropping their issues here and going to more FRIENDLY sites due to the way they are being treated.

    Maurice doesn't take any action due to the way you overwhelm him after I give him a plan for success.

    Some people are unsure of themselves in the geothermal realm, and are overly sensitive to criticism. I'm not one of them so I stick around.

    If you were to read information that exists on Geothermal, you'll find there are Thumb Rules that the Pros have come up with over time and published in articles. I don't make up information, but I do read and remember very well what I read.

    As far as electronics, reading schematics, electronic repair, the theory of geothermal from a viewpoint of heat transfer & fluid flow, physics, protection & control of a heat pump compressor, I understand very well.

    Geothermal designers don't include actual schematics with their units, they supply only functional diagrams coupled with some electronics. I figure they didn't want to overwhelm their in field technicians.
  18. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    We always help people who ask for help.

    The plan you gave Maurice clearly indicated your lack of understanding and has the risk to mislead him. I think he has a good plan to look into his refrigerant circuit and worry about his loop issues later.

    I do read information on geo, this is how i learn. However, if you give people rule of thumb comments over the internet unrelated to the issue, without knowing details like load requirements. You literally told someone above that she needs a 6 ton system without any idea about the load requirements of her house.

    "Your Geothermal Unit(s) may not be running efficiently ....or due to the loop design which should have been identified by the installer as part of the system Check Out procedure."
    A comment like that shows every evolved installer that you have not much experience. The checkout procedure reveals problems with the heat pump itself, it is unlikely that it reveals design issues with the loop which would make the heat pump run inefficient. That would surface during the season when you start to extract or reject BTUs over a longer period, but not during start up.

    Geo designers indeed included detailed design plans, that is what they get paid for. In contrast, manufacturers only supply simplified piping diagrams with their heat pumps. They are good in designing and building heat pumps, but lack in field design experience. You keep getting this all wrong.
  19. mrrxtech

    mrrxtech Member

    You keep getting it All Right. It's your website.

    I suggest that you take all of that superior knowledge and temper it with some HUMBLE so your fellow Pros can help others without being hammered by your absolute knowledge, which tends to make them look like Rookies.

    You remind me of a Ram on the top of the Mountain taking on all who dare to enter your territory. That's a Primitive function built into the brain. Maybe its time you come into the world of thinkers not head butters, and allow some of your friends to help others.

    My world is much bigger than Geothermal, I just dropped in to break up the stress of working on real problems the people of Ohio are currently facing.
  20. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    The website belongs as much to me as it does to you. I it meant for the exchange of ideas, knowledge and to help each other.

    While your world might be "much bigger than Geothermal", the biggest threat to geothermal as in industry are installers or designers who lack knowledge, which results in inefficient systems and harmed consumers, which is especially sad when people are going the extra mile in terms of costs and effort.

    I truly think you mean well, but your comments here display your lack of understanding of the technology. You gave bad advise to people, and you displayed a lack of knowledge. However, instead of trying to learn certain principles here you started misleading people who were seeking help and advise. Not good, since now the injured gets even more harmed.
    Last edited: May 13, 2016

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