Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Energy efficient appliances may not save any money

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Energy efficient appliances may not save any money

    In the first 3 months of 2015, we replaced our heater (15 years old), our refrigerator (20 years old), and our central air (15 years old) so I was very curious to see if we would notice a difference in our utility bills.

    So far, I really haven't seen any discernible savings year to year. For example, our May electric bill was lower but in April it was higher. Our May gas bill was higher but in April it was lower.

    I realize there are some other factors involved, like the weather, but I really can't say that replacing everything has saved us any money. I guess the fact that we already had high efficiency heater and AC units is part of the reason. I thought replacing the fridge might make a difference but I guess it doesn't represent a large enough portion of the household usage to make a difference.

    Oh well. They all needed to be replaced anyway. Well, the fridge didn't but we didn't want to wait until it died.

    I guess the moral of the story is to not believe all of the hype about getting new energy efficient appliances. Don't count on saving any money in the process.
    Steve

    * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
    * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
    * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

    #2
    You are correct that the weather does play a part. Does your utility bill list heating or cooling degree days for each billing cycle? If not you can look them up online for your location to see just how different and how much the weather has effected your bill.

    The "hype" as you call it with energy efficient appliances has to be applied with the knowledge that it still takes a lot of energy to heat or cool a living space although you can reduce the amount of energy ever so slightly by a more efficient device..maybe 10% at best.

    Properly insulating a house or managing energy use (don't get me started on that one!) is going to be more effective at reducing your utility bill than an "energy efficient" device.
    Gunga galunga...gunga -- gunga galunga.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by greenskeeper View Post
      You are correct that the weather does play a part. Does your utility bill list heating or cooling degree days for each billing cycle?
      Yes, it lists average temp for the month. Even looking at that, though, there doesn't seem to be any pattern. The past month, for example the average temp was 4 degrees warmer than last year but our gas usage was doubled and our electric bill was 35% lower.

      Properly insulating a house or managing energy use (don't get me started on that one!) is going to be more effective at reducing your utility bill than an "energy efficient" device.
      Agreed. I just think a lot of the promotion for efficient devices centers on the cost savings of operating them. That's what I was referring to as hype.

      We've got the same house, same insulation, same usage patterns as we did before and the new devices have made virtually no different in our operating costs.
      Steve

      * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
      * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
      * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

      Comment


        #4
        Are you comparing how many kWh you're using each month, comparing April 2012- 2013 - 2014 -2015 for example? Or the year you had a new major appliance installed?

        Our utility [Electric, Water Sewerage] is actually a 'stand alone' subsidiary of the City, who collect it's handsome 'dividend' to spend as a sort of slush fund without having it incorporated into the budget. Our statements are broken down between Energy cost per kWh and Administrative costs. April's energy charge was $ 12.20, April's admin cost $ 45.37. The admin is mostly just bumpf of taxes with different names.

        When the City set up the subsidiary, it was an experiment in 'deregulation' but without any competition. The idea was sold to the public as a future public company listed on the stock exchange allowing people to buy shares. Nope, never happened, mayor who sponsored the idea passed away and new Council never moved this cash cow to the next step. Every year they find one more administrate charge to tack on like 'local access fee,' 'rate rider,' transmission charge,' distribution charge' etc.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by snafu View Post
          Are you comparing how many kWh you're using each month
          Yes. I was comparing how my kWh of electricity and how many Therms of gas were used in the same time period this year vs. last year.
          Steve

          * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
          * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
          * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

          Comment


            #6
            I think energy efficient appliances can certainly save money, but the amount they save can easily be overshadowed by how your behavior affects usage.

            I cut my electricity consumption in half from a couple years ago, with a a few better appliances and a change in behavior. Ditched the old fridge, adjusted the thermostat, cook on the grill instead of the oven during the air conditioning season, better light bulbs and generally turning things of when not in use.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by autoxer View Post
              I think energy efficient appliances can certainly save money, but the amount they save can easily be overshadowed by how your behavior affects usage.
              Determining the "recovery time" of your A/C or heating unit and setting it accordingly can save hundreds of dollars by limiting the cooling/heating of an empty house while you are at work.
              Gunga galunga...gunga -- gunga galunga.

              Comment


                #8
                I hear you. We installed a super efficient water source heat pump system about a year ago. Gas bills went down, but electric bills went up, savings was pretty insignificant in our old home. Regarding appliances, if your old stuff is working, you would be hard pressed to see any appreciable savings by replacing them. May as well run them till they die.

                In my opinion the biggest way to reduce utilities is upgrading the thermal envelope of your home; insulation, windows, weather seals, etc.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Your windows and insulation in the attic will probably effect the heating/cooling bills more than the appliances themselves.
                  Brian

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by bjl584 View Post
                    Your windows and insulation in the attic will probably effect the heating/cooling bills more than the appliances themselves.
                    And the thermostat. In the summer, raise the temperature up a few degrees, use fans to circulate air and see if you are still comfortable. It doesn't have to be frigid to feel comfortable. If it is mid 80's and humid outside and you go into a room that is mid 70's and less humid, it will feel quite refreshing.

                    If an air conditioner is oversized for the house, then it won't be as effective at reducing the humidity. You can check this by timing how frequently it cycles. If it lowers the temperature too quickly, then it doesn't have time to draw out the humidity, so it won't be as comfortable.

                    Also check the duct work for leaks and bad insulation. Bad ductwork will air condition spaces that you don't intend to air condition.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Aside from direct savings as a result of using less electricity, consider the byproduct of heat.

                      For example, depending upon the season, the type of light bulb can have an impact. My son was complaining that his room was hot. After configuring the forced air ducts to push more cooled air upstairs, the problem persisted. I discovered that he had his ceiling fan lights on high and was running an overclocked computer as well. The short-term solution was to turn off the lights and open the shades (no direct sunlight on that side of the house). Next week, I will look into LED lights for him, but will keep the incandescents for winter use, since they provide heat we want.

                      I also told/reminded my family to limit the amount of time they leave lights on. Our kitchen has recessed floods, and that heat eventually transmits up to the second floor. The bathrooms have those globe bulbs mounted on the wall, and they produce a scary amount of heat. It doesn't make sense to turn the A/C down without first killing the things that are producing heat.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by JoeP View Post
                        Aside from direct savings as a result of using less electricity, consider the byproduct of heat.

                        For example, depending upon the season, the type of light bulb can have an impact. My son was complaining that his room was hot. After configuring the forced air ducts to push more cooled air upstairs, the problem persisted. I discovered that he had his ceiling fan lights on high and was running an overclocked computer as well. The short-term solution was to turn off the lights and open the shades (no direct sunlight on that side of the house). Next week, I will look into LED lights for him, but will keep the incandescents for winter use, since they provide heat we want.

                        I also told/reminded my family to limit the amount of time they leave lights on. Our kitchen has recessed floods, and that heat eventually transmits up to the second floor. The bathrooms have those globe bulbs mounted on the wall, and they produce a scary amount of heat. It doesn't make sense to turn the A/C down without first killing the things that are producing heat.
                        It's definitely wise to look for other sources of heat that make the air conditioner work harder, but I wouldn't bother saving incandescent bulbs for the winter. They aren't exactly an efficient source of heat or light. You might want to consider LED's to replace the recessed flood lights also, just for the electricity savings.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Energy efficiency for appliances hasn't changed much over the last 20 years, so that's probably why. If you replaced efficient appliances with efficient appliances, the cost to operate won't be that much different, all other things being the same, so I'm not surprised there.

                          The big gains in reducing operational costs are now made in technology swaps. Thinks like replacing gas furnaces for geothermal heat pumps. Water heaters gone tankless, etc.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by ua_guy View Post
                            Energy efficiency for appliances hasn't changed much over the last 20 years, so that's probably why. If you replaced efficient appliances with efficient appliances, the cost to operate won't be that much different, all other things being the same, so I'm not surprised there.
                            That makes sense.
                            Steve

                            * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                            * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                            * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              In my last home, we added all high efficiency appliances and then had 70% of the windows replaced and still never really saw a change in the power bill. I was left only to believe that the R value in the attic was not sufficient or the lack of radiant heat in the floors, or this or that... seems always to be just out of reach... Looking forward to building my own home next time around and control this from the start...

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X