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Thread: Central heat causing $600 plus electric

  1. #16
    Nuclear Engineer nukeman's Avatar
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    It is possible that with your old t-stat, you had to increase the setpoint up higher in order to get the resistance heat to run. Perhaps the compressor was also running, but wasn't really doing anything? It's not so much that the bad compressor will cause the high electric bills directly, but if the compressor isn't working correctly, then your only heat source is the electric furnace and that will cause a high electric bill. With you new t-stat, it was probably kicking on the electric furnace at any time. This might be due to a problem in how it is wired or the settings might not be setup correctly for a heat pump. If the guy hasn't installed the new compressor yet, you might have him check out your t-stat while he is there to make sure that it is setup correctly.

    It is a good idea to have the system checked out about once per year. Often either in Fall or Spring just before the heating or cooling season. If you do this, the system will run better (they will check that the unit is properly charged, fins are clean, compressor/blower operates correctly, etc.). If there is a small leak in the system, the refrigerant will leak out. Not only will that kill the heating/cooling performance of the heat pump, but can cause damage to the compressor as well.
    If the unit is checked out, leaks can be repaired and the refridgerant can be topped off as needed.

  2. #17
    DIY Junior Member gyverbabe's Avatar
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    Thanks. He did come in and check the t-stat, it was wired properly, but apparantly there was a switch that was set on gas/oil, not on electric. We moved in last April, the unit was not checked before summer, and it was not checked before the winter months. Of course, we live in a dump, there is much wrong with this house, holes in the interior walls, bad patch job in the bedroom where they'd gotten access to the bathtub plumbing, and bad wiring in the kitchen (one of the overhead lights has a short in it). So we can say that my landlord, who is also my first cousin, is a slum lord. If we'd had any other choice (we were homeless, after both of us losing our jobs last year), we would have never moved in here. And if I were a landlord, I'd have never rented this house in this condition. If I won't live in it as a landlord, I won't rent it.

  3. #18
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    If the compressor wasn't running, then all your heat was coming from the electrical resistance heating strips (fancy electric space heaters)...so, yes, this would account for the high bill. A heatpump can be as much as 2-3x more efficient than heat strips. It doesn't hurt to have the system cleaned and checked annually, but not that many people do. A compressor could last many years, but technology advances, and the newer ones are more efficient.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  4. #19
    Retired prof. engr. gator37's Avatar
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    Cookie said this earlier, but I would check or have verified that you are the only one on your meter and invest in an electric blanket.
    Looked like an older wood home and if real old it probably does not have any insulation in the walls, just guessing based on my experience with my mother in laws old Alabama home.

  5. #20
    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
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    A bad compressor only gives you electric heat, and no cold air, just air.

    As I said earlier, bad houses have bad HVAC units.

  6. #21
    DIY Junior Member crazyeyes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ballvalve View Post
    A bad compressor only gives you electric heat, and no cold air, just air.

    As I said earlier, bad houses have bad HVAC units.
    Thats the whole truth here . Slum lords + bad house , junk heating & cooling units = high utl. bills

  7. #22
    DIY Junior Member tempritespokane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crazyeyes View Post
    Thats the whole truth here . Slum lords + bad house , junk heating & cooling units = high utl. bills
    That is very true. I have seem my share of home that have not been kept up. Its a real pain.

  8. #23
    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
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    get some oil heaters and a 89$ AC for the window and shut off the trash central unit.

    Close all the vents and return air. Wear more sweaters and long underwear.
    Last edited by ballvalve; 05-09-2011 at 10:57 AM.

  9. #24
    DIY Junior Member sjson's Avatar
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    How often an HVAC should be checked depends on the type: gas, electric, oil, heat pump.

    Electric resistance systems require the least amount of servicing because there are less parts that can go bad. It should be cleaned once every 5 years.

    Gas systems require service every one or two years.

    Heat Pump systems require service every one or two years depending on how much run time they receive.

    Oil systems by far require the most amount of maintenance. Maintenance should include cleaning and minor part replacement. Maintenance should be performed every year.

  10. #25
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    The compressor ALWAYS runs on a heat pump. It cools in the summer and heats in the winter, so if it is bad it CANNOT do either. Therefore, you probably activated the heat strips which are the most expensive kind of heat.

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