Say NO to heat pumps. We have a new one, installed last September. Supposedly the right size for the house but even with the electric furnace on the heat pump (for temps under 30ºF) the elec. bills have been $200-$250 for 1 person in 1250 square feet of space.
I suppose I will like it for the 2-4 weeks we need AC in the summer.
Now is yours a heat pump or one of these geothermal types? Could there be a problem with your system have you had someone out to check it? Your right, if this is the kind of bill one can expect with something that is supposed to be energy efficient I'd have to pass.
DH has two 2nd cousins that have them. They love them! $10-$15 heat bills in the winter in IA. They are very enery efficient. Nothing like what darius is talking abt. We had one of them in our house on the farm. Our bills weren't bad because the power company had a big rebate on if you were total electric, which the house was. We'd like to sell our house this summer and build a new one, smaller, with a ground source heat pump.
Sounds like some ground source heat pumps are more effective than others. I wonder what makes the difference between the type that darius has, and the one that koogers cousins have?
I know the geothermal plant in Reno has a major problem with the mineral buildup in the pipes and needs to keep scrubbing the pipes clear. Could the mineral content of the local water make the ground source heat pumps less effective too? Maybe I'm still missing the concept. Haven't had a chance to read all the links yet.
I think what Darius has is regular heat pump that varies in efficiency according to the temp outside. I never have quite understood the concept. The geothermal on the otherhand uses the temperature of the earth which is closer to human comfort zone and works from there, still don't understand the concept from that point. It makes sense that the geothermal units would be more efficient because they aren't affected by the extremes of temperature in the outside air which is what we are trying to avoid in the firstplace. I hope you enjoyed my highly technical evaluation. LOL
We have geothermal heat in our home and had it put in when we built our home 4 years ago. Our electricty bill which includes our hot water heater and all the other normal appliances averages $100 per month. The highest bill we've had this winter was $127 and the lowest we've had during the spring months was $45. We really like geothermal. Although it was alot higher to install, in the long run it is paying off for us. Just down the road from us, a friend has a home approx the same size as ours but does not use geothermal and they have bills during the winter months around $400 a month.
Wish I could tell you more about it, but I don't know that much about it.
darius, is your heat electrical? I've got 1160 sq feet and even during the freezing 17 F weather my utility bill never passed $90 for 2+ people (it's usually between $40-$60). Even when I had six people crammed in here for a week over the holidays (yes, that was insane) and the showers and washer seemed to be running non-stop, the utility bill didn't top $90. Of course, my heat is a hydronic system off of the gas hot water heater. My stove and clothes dryer are also gas. I'm wondering if the electricity is what is driving your cost up?
GM... we are all electric here, other than the woodstove I just installed. The elec. heat pump was installed last fall (along with all new ductwork) to replace the very inadequate elec. furnace. Part of the problem is that the core of the house is a 20 year old trailer and I'm sure the insulation is scant.
If my sis gets moved here this summer, we plan to add insulation in the space between the old trailer roof and the newer trussed roof. I doubt we can do anything with the exterior walls.
Our KwH rate was very low but then they had a 30% rate increase in Dec.. Our elec. bill runs 2X what the salesman estimated for the new system, and also I didn't opt for the most efficient system at the time. I do, however, need to have him back out to check everything while we are still under warranty.
Had our house not been finished when we came across it 4 years ago & put an offer on it, we would have seriously consider putting in geothermal. (The only thing not done was the railings on the stairs!) The bad thing now is that we'd have to rip up a lot of the garden in order to install the pipe. I suppose it would be a small price to pay in the long run. On the other hand, our house was energy star rated.
I guess I didn't explain what I meant very well, but you are correct. I always assumed geothermal to be a drilled line down to a heat source, never occured to me that it could be a closed loop closer to the surface.
Geothermal operates on the unchanging earht temperatur around 65 degrees I think. It will heat your house in the winter AND cool your house in the summer requiring only modest additional adjustment to keep your house at the desired temp.
I have a distant cousin that built his house with the closed loop geothermal back in the early 80's. He was the first in this county if not the state and has been very happy with it. He pretty much engineered it himself. I failed to do it when I built and have regretted it. I'm total electric with a regular heat pump which I replaced two years ago. Even when the kids were home, my electric bills were half or less what the neighbors pay with standard electric furnaces and AC.
A regular heat pump is great for AC. Period. The heat they produce comes out cooler than your body temp so you feel an uncomfortable cool draft when it runs. It will heat the house but runs almost constantly when it drops below 45 degrees. I just hate mine in the winter and shut it off in favor of the more expensive furnace which is just about dead at 21. I really need to come up with something before next winter. I know ya'll are making fun of me, saying "What winter?" in my zone 8b.
My parents have a 3500 sq.' home. They added a geo thermal system when the technology was still new. Local building code forced them to keep the old boiler / radiator system in place as back up. There heating bill went from $850 a month in the winter to $4 a month. The $4 is from keeping the pilot light lit on the boiler. Their system is also attached to a solar water heater on the roof and they now also have ac in the summers because of the new system. When my current forced air system ages out of good efficiency, we will switch to a geo thermal system as well. I might add we live in zone 4.The gas co. actually called my parents home to make sure someone was still living there.lol
We have a geo thermal system that we installed 9 years ago. When it was first installed our total monthly bill including electrical averaged $90 per month. Now 9 years later, it averages $184 per month...which around here is extremely low. When we originally installed it, the additional cost for geo thermal was close to $10,000 additional...but we are so happy we installed it.
Now...we wonder if we should install solar panels...and it might just get our bill down to almost nothing.
Debroots glad to see your post we are thinking about doing geo thermal this summer. We are on propane we purchased all our propane in August so the increase in price didn't effect us this year but we are now scared...rofl.
We have two neighbors who also installed them. One said his heat bill never went over 100.00, I know his house is really tight but that just seems to low with his big house.
We had geothermal installed in 2008 or 09. I cannot remember now. My husband saw the predicted prices of propane, so freaked. It was pretty pricey being an existing home, plus we needed to get the electric amps increased. It was a mess for awhile... AND it created a new hole in the basement for the ground water to get in. :P We had to hire someone to fix that.
We have an old house built sometime after the civil war; the new addition was built in 1904. So it is not tight by any means, though my husband did a lot to fix that. But in turn that created a radon problem that we had to hire someone else for.
Everything is electric here, except for the range. We changed the range to propane after getting the geothermal, so I could cook when the power goes out. I prefer using human-powered gadgets in the kitchen when I can... I just do not want to rely on electric for everything. I found a Kitchen Aid brand mixer that was refurbished to be a hand crank. I never get to use the thing because the children always want to use the crank.
Almost forgot... somehow the water heater is hooked up to the geothermal. When the geothermal is actively in use, it heats the water. If the temps are mild, the heater uses propane.
Two winters ago, we were so grateful for the geothermal when people had to buy propane at $7 or more a gallon. It was so cold further south that the supplies were not making it north.
Well we never did anything about geo yet. Propane bought in advance here is now 1.20.
Chillybean what is your heat bill like if you don't mind me asking. We are probably going to have to get a new air conditioner next year so maybe we will switch everything.
I think in the winter is can get up to $200, but remember, we have a large old house. It was built in an era when they made the ceilings extra high to help cool it when it's hot. My husband says in the summer, it can be around $140.