HELP! ALL ELECTRIC, NOW WHAT?

HELP! ALL ELECTRIC, NOW WHAT?

PostBy: DOUG On: Fri Jul 24, 2009 7:43 pm

Hi guys,

I've got myself into a unique situation. My father past away and now I'm the guy that has to take care of my mother. I'm trying to fill his shoes, but it has been a real challenge. My mother's 40 year old house is all electric heat. She has an AC air handler installed in the attack with a heat pump and every room has ceiling cable. Now some of the rooms are finally not repairable anymore. Last year she used space heaters and the electric bill is now out of sight.

There isn't any natural gas service to the house, so natural gas, propane, oil, wood, coal, and pellets are out of the question for me. Now What? I'm stuck with electricity. Boy, what a challenge! I have to figure out what options I have to give her heat without gutting the place and going to the bank for a mortgage to do it. I have been told that she wants me to fix it using her existing equipment, but add to it for it to work. I love you mom, but WOW!

I've considered adding an electric duct heater for her AC air handler, changing out her electric hot water heater and installing an electric boiler with a coil in the AC air handler, and giving her 220 volt baseboard heaters.

I was hoping to draw from the wealth of knowledge here on this forum to solve my problem. Maybe EMF has some ideas? I was searching stoker-mans EMF website trying to figure out some options which won't break the bank, cause me to totally remodel her house, and be energy efficient using electricity only. This all electric heating is difficult for me. I'm a coal, wood, and natural gas kind of guy.

So, any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks :idea: :) DOUG
DOUG
 
Stove/Furnace Make: CHUBBY, D.S.MACHINE BOILER
Stove/Furnace Model: CLAYTON 1600

Re: HELP! ALL ELECTRIC, NOW WHAT?

PostBy: 009to090 On: Fri Jul 24, 2009 8:35 pm

DOUG wrote:There isn't any natural gas service to the house, so natural gas, propane, oil, wood, coal, and pellets are out of the question for me.


Doug, why is a coal, or wood, or pellet/corn stove out of the question?
009to090
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM 520 HighBoy
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: DVC-500 x 2
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Rice

Re: HELP! ALL ELECTRIC, NOW WHAT?

PostBy: DOUG On: Fri Jul 24, 2009 8:48 pm

The reason the rest of the other fuel alternatives are out of the question is because it is my mother. She only wants electric. I've tried to convince her to go another fuel, but she will not budge yet. Besides for me to convert her to something else would basically be a very hard sell and I would have to live with her complaints if I didn't do what she wanted. Understand?
DOUG
 
Stove/Furnace Make: CHUBBY, D.S.MACHINE BOILER
Stove/Furnace Model: CLAYTON 1600


Re: HELP! ALL ELECTRIC, NOW WHAT?

PostBy: DOUG On: Fri Jul 24, 2009 9:05 pm

You know I find it interesting that my mother just loves coming over to visit during the winter. She always compliments me how comfortable my solid fuel heat is, but she wouldn't want it in her house, unless I was there all of the time to tend to it and she didn't have any wood or coal piles on her property. She also just loves the look of my little Coal Chubby on my fireplace hearth.

Sad thing is that her house doesn't have a fireplace or chimney. If she did, I think I maybe able to sell her on a Coal Chubby for her living room. She really likes the look of the Chubby Coal Stove. But you never know? Anything I do will has to be what she wants, not what I would like to do.

That is why I'm looking for help with this project. Any ideas?
DOUG
 
Stove/Furnace Make: CHUBBY, D.S.MACHINE BOILER
Stove/Furnace Model: CLAYTON 1600

Re: HELP! ALL ELECTRIC, NOW WHAT?

PostBy: Yanche On: Fri Jul 24, 2009 10:29 pm

Since you are limiting yourself to electricity the only option you have is to reduce heat loss and increase efficiency over direct resistance heat. This can be done with modern single room split system heat pumps. Also called ductless systems. The good ones have SEER ratings of 23+. Installation is not to bad. The blower coil is mounted on an exterior wall up high. Refrigerant, drain and electric lines are the only wall penetrations. Some energy star rated units quality for Federal Tax Credit. Call an experienced HVAC company. Ask for a room by room Manual J heat loss/heat gain analysis. This will allow you the size the units and how many you will need. There would be other custom engineered solutions using a single compressor unit or even a ground sourced heat pump but the capital equipment costs would be high.

Fujitsu, Mitsubishi and Sanyo are some brands. The most recent modern designs use variable speed compressors and are called inverter designs. Good luck.
Yanche
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea

Re: HELP! ALL ELECTRIC, NOW WHAT?

PostBy: DOUG On: Fri Jul 24, 2009 11:10 pm

Thanks, I'll look into that. I never heard of anything like that.

I forgot to mention that my dad really insulated the heck out of this house. It is so tight, that I don't even think it has a healthy enough air quality. They never even opened the windows since I lived there as long as I can remember, other than to clean them. I always feel that the air has a stale quality to it.

I'm spoiled with my house. Anthracite, wood, and natural gas forced air heat with outside fresh air exchanger. My mother loves it too. Too bad I can't convince her to go anthracite. Well, then I guess I'd have to load it and empty the ashes everyday for her. That just isn't realistic. It is hard enough keeping my house and her house up, working all of the time and watching three kids.

Thanks :idea:
DOUG
 
Stove/Furnace Make: CHUBBY, D.S.MACHINE BOILER
Stove/Furnace Model: CLAYTON 1600

Re: HELP! ALL ELECTRIC, NOW WHAT?

PostBy: Uglysquirrel On: Sat Jul 25, 2009 12:11 am

Most heat loss is thru windows, in fact likely something like 75%.

With that in mind. Mr. Nurd Mechanical Engineer 26 years ago made window shades out of 1" foiled foam, they were cut so that they fit on top of the inside molding with a foam strip interface to stop the air, you can figure out how to hold them in place since you need to remove them quick in case of fire, etc. I had the foil side out. Each window has a white plastic roll shade pulled down so you could not see the foil.

You can get condensation between the foam shade and window pane especially if 1) the window is not thermopane and 2) if your Mom cooks a lot, like boils water that puts a lot of moisture in the house.

Well these ~ R-18 shades worked so well that the electric company called me and asked me why, the new owner was using a lot less electricity. Hummmmmm. I mean my electric bills were 120-150 bucks (with timed elec h20)compared to neighbors who were paying like 450/month. Incredible saving especially since some of the upper rooms had their electric heat turned off.

I would also not use any kerosene heaters due to lack of infiltration issues

You need to understand that these shades are likely not approved by code due to egress issues and you're on your own in that respect, understand that having this on all the windows is like living in a dungeon (yeah!) but during the day it was easy to remove some of them on the sunny side. Having them attached by some small velcro strips or related may be one way to go. The ones on the north side stayed put.

I did however remove them if the ocassional hottie came over. :>

You can also make fabric shades out of comforters and hang with velcro, some fabric shade designs have that cheap space blanket mylar stuff sewn in between layers of foam that you can buy at sewing stores. That retains the IR on the inside of the house and stops air Another alternative is to buy tag sale sleeping bags and cut/sew them to size.

As said, this is RADICAL stuff that really works though again, note again the egress issues of these solid shades, also just make sure your Mom is mentally well enough to know what to do if there is an emergency, m My Mom got Altzheimers and I would not have these in my Mom's condition.

Hope this helps, Doug.
Uglysquirrel
 
Stove/Furnace Model: Pocono

Re: HELP! ALL ELECTRIC, NOW WHAT?

PostBy: North Candlewood On: Sat Jul 25, 2009 12:34 am

Doug
I'm sorry for your loss.
Can you tell us what kind of KW use last winter was. Estimate on the heat load of the home.
The heat pump system/AC distributes effectivly? What size/make/age is the air handler is in the attic? Budget?
Whats a KW costing in your area?
Charles
North Candlewood
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Eshland S-130
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker A 120
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Chubby
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Clayton 1602
Baseburners & Antiques: Princess Atlantic Cookstove
Coal Size/Type: Nut Rice

Re: HELP! ALL ELECTRIC, NOW WHAT?

PostBy: Yanche On: Sat Jul 25, 2009 1:41 am

Uglysquirrel wrote:Most heat loss is thru windows, in fact likely something like 75%.
If you get a full Manual J analysis done by a knowledgeable HVAC company you will know where your greatest heat loss is. Don't just guess, calculate it. That's where you will want to spend your money on insulation upgrades. The largest loss may be windows or it may be air infiltration. Look for a company that uses a ACCA (Air Conditioning Contractors of America http://www.acca.org/) licensed software to prepare the Manual J analysis. It will be the most accurate. In my state when an existing central A/C condensing unit is replaced the contractor must provide a Manual J analysis to justify his replacement selection. It's in the state wide building code. Tell the contractor all the construction details you know. The more detail he has the more accurate the result will be. If a particular contractor doesn't know what Manual J is pass him by and find another.
Yanche
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea

Re: HELP! ALL ELECTRIC, NOW WHAT?

PostBy: Freddy On: Sat Jul 25, 2009 6:17 am

Sorry to hear your Dad passed away. Yanche has some solid ideas. I have a split unit AC and it works very well. For an extra few hndred bucks it could have made heat also, but at the time I bought it oil was cheap.

Obviously Mom has the money to pay for the electric bill so maybe you will end up just letting her do it. It's hard to get someone who is set in their ways to change unless there is a pressing need.
Freddy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 130 (pea)
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Reading piece o' junk in the barn (rice)
Coal Size/Type: Pea size, Superior, deep mined

Re: HELP! ALL ELECTRIC, NOW WHAT?

PostBy: 009to090 On: Sat Jul 25, 2009 7:52 am

DOUG wrote:You know I find it interesting that my mother just loves coming over to visit during the winter. She always compliments me how comfortable my solid fuel heat is, but she wouldn't want it in her house, unless I was there all of the time to tend to it and she didn't have any wood or coal piles on her property. Sad thing is that her house doesn't have a fireplace or chimney. That is why I'm looking for help with this project. Any ideas?


Doug, thats why I wondered why you excluded coal and pellet stoves already. Your Mother obviously loves the heat. My little DVC500 will run for 3 days, at idle, before the ash and coal hopper needs to be emptied/refilled. Since the stove is a DIRECT VENT, no chimney is required. Just cut a small hole thru an outside wall for the inlet and exhaust air. Bagged coal in the basement, or a nicely-built coal bin outside, will prevent an "Ugly" pile of coal in the yard.
009to090
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM 520 HighBoy
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: DVC-500 x 2
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Rice

Re: HELP! ALL ELECTRIC, NOW WHAT?

PostBy: DOUG On: Sat Jul 25, 2009 9:11 am

Thanks for all of the replies guys. I'll try to address a few of the points asked.

The windows don't seem to be the heat loss. My dad double insulated them inside and outside with that thick plastic mounted to a frame. I was always surprised to never feel any cold air radiation from his windows after what he did. That is why the windows never open. He basically sealed them shut.

My mother has an all electric heat rate at 7.31 cents per kwh. The last kwh usage for the past 12 months YTD was 34,428 kwh, with the space heaters and total kwh was 46,344 kwh. The prior 12 months, with ceiling cable, YTD was 22,884 kwh and a total usage of 29,372 kw. All I know for now is that when only ceiling cable was used her budget payment was $150.00 a month. Now that it isn't all working, and three space heaters were used, her budget is now $400.00 a month and she was cold. That is a big difference.

The air handler was put in in 1981 and works still works fine. Last year I had to replace the compressor with a 2 1/2 ton unit from Trane.

I hope this may help. Thanks again guys.
DOUG
 
Stove/Furnace Make: CHUBBY, D.S.MACHINE BOILER
Stove/Furnace Model: CLAYTON 1600

Re: HELP! ALL ELECTRIC, NOW WHAT?

PostBy: Scottscoaled On: Sat Jul 25, 2009 9:39 am

Hey Doug, If it was me I would put a hydronic coil into the air handler and hydronic baseboard in the rooms not covered and put an electric boiler in the basement. Efm makes a nice unit. Or Maybe a nice condensing propane boiler. $4800 bucks a year to heat a house is alot of money to pay to be chilly :shock: Scott
Scottscoaled
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM 520x4, 350, 700. Van Wert 400 x 2, 800, 1200.
Coal Size/Type: Lots of buck

Re: HELP! ALL ELECTRIC, NOW WHAT?

PostBy: whistlenut On: Sat Jul 25, 2009 9:44 am

Ever wonder why lots of folks move south in the colder months? Good Luck in finding a solution that works for all parties. :D
whistlenut
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AA130's,260's, AHS130&260's,EFM900,GJ&VanWert
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Franks Boiler,Itasca415,NYer130,Van Wert
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Yellow Flame
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Alaska-4,Keystoker-2,
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Alaska,Gibraltor,Keystone,Vc Vigilant 2
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Van Wert, NYer's, Ford,Jensen.
Coal Size/Type: Rice,Buck,Pea,Nut&Stove
Other Heating: Oil HWBB

Re: HELP! ALL ELECTRIC, NOW WHAT?

PostBy: DOUG On: Sat Jul 25, 2009 9:49 am

stokerscot: Thanks for the conformation. I went to the EMF website and checked out their eb4 boiler. I also PM'd stoker-man and he told me who to contact for some information on one. I'll gather all of the facts and present the heating options to my mother. Thanks again.
DOUG
 
Stove/Furnace Make: CHUBBY, D.S.MACHINE BOILER
Stove/Furnace Model: CLAYTON 1600