Insane Power Usage over 200kw/Day

kheflwJanuary 8, 2014

Hi everyone, reality is hitting hard at my house. It's our first winter, 2500 sq ft ranch, about 800 sq ft of raised 20ft ceiling with no (Zero) insuallation in the ceiling. Exposed wood and beam ceiling is part of the beauty of the home, along with the approx 28 linear ft of glass doors and windows to take in the view.
We saw Novembers bill. Used over 6,000kw around $850. In December, we paid more attention, and bought a nice wood stove insert for the main big room, installed around Dec 22 (I started the Clydesdale post that some of you have commented on) December was just over 5,000kw. Divided by 30 and it came to around 170kw/day.
Bought the NEST thermostat as I started reading about auxiliary heat on my heat pump. Never owned a heat pump before, cheap natural gas furnace in NJ, heated your house and you never thought twice about it. So the NEST is doing a good job, but Aux is still kicking in with these low temps in Maryland. I've been paying attention to my daily usage, nice digital meter on the side of the house. 200kw overnight, just keeping the house at 63 degrees, with a cool woodstove running to help. Now that's just 12:00 midnight to 8:00am.
My first question: Even knowing I'm using Aux heat, it still seems excessive usage for one air handler with a certain KW heat element. To add to that, we have one bedroom in the house that runs off of hydotherm baseboard electric heat. I do not complain about my daughter staying warm:), but she does keep it below 68.
Is my Heat Pump Aux Heat that ineffecient?
Fortunately we shut the heat off completely at 8:00am, as we get the wood stove cooking. But then I'm spending another 200 per month on wood!, Yea I know, I can get it for less and even for free with some work, but it's new to me right now, so I'm buying. Went through a cord in less than a month.
If I updated the HVAC system, new air handler, would it help.
Are the newer mitsubishi HVAC units more efficient than that hydro electric? That bedroom is large, around 400 sq ft, but it is well insulated, on top at least.
Any thoughts appreciated, the good news is I have a decent job to support all of this. Patiently waiting for Spring:)

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You didn't mention the age of your heat pump. Their energy efficiency ratings have improved considerably over the years.

Got a ceiling fan in that great room. That would help push down the heat into the living areas.

What's the insulation like in the rest of the house? Look at your roof. Does the snow melt when other home roofs are snow covered?

Are those double pane windows? Aluminum frames or wood?

Is your home drafty? A common complaint about heat pumps is that they don't feel as warm as gas heat.

A lot of considerations here but that electric bill is too high for sure.

This post was edited by jrb451 on Wed, Jan 8, 14 at 15:30

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 11:59AM
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I would suggest insulating and installing geothermal. $1k/mo is insane!


    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 1:40PM
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Is that wood-burning insert sealed with outside combustion air source?

When you wrote "Mitsubishi", you mean mini-split? Linked are some performance data for MSHPs. YOu might check Daikin in addition to the tested brands.

Since air source heat pumps have been making big gains in recent years, ground source is less an advantage than it used to be. A lot depends on the cost to cut into the ground where you live. If you don't have natural gas better or ground-source heat pumps are worth looking into if you are planning to stay in the house. The potential savings with better windows and insulation are large depending on what you have now. If your ducts are in the attic, or otherwise outside of the house envelope, they bear close examination.

Here is a link that might be useful: NREL tests

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 4:39PM
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800 sq ft of raised 20ft ceiling with no (Zero) insuallation in the ceiling.

big part of the problem.
tell us more about insulation
and window types.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 7:54PM
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All windows and glass doors are Anderson older single pane glass. I'd hate to replace them all.
Insulation - It's really about 600sq ft of uninsulated ceiling..Great room open to dining room open to kitchen. The kitchen has 10 ft ceiling well insulated.
I'm not sure about the walls, but my IR thermometer is telling me they are not insulated well.
Bedrooms are all insulated well in the ceiling and we are not complaining about heat or being uncomfortable in the bedrooms. My daughters BR is different, it has the hydro electric baseboard. She likes that heating system, and honestly the cost to run does not seem that high.
All ductwork for the main part of the house originates in a 4ft crawlspace. Air handler is down there just below edge of the greatroom to the dining/kitchen. I will get the technical specs on that soon. Ducts down there are all insulated well. The floor between house and crawl should be insulated better. It's falling apart in places.
I'm looking at some space heaters for short term relief. Might help.
The Woodstove is well sealed. I did this work, insulation packed above and below the damper completely sealing around the vent duct. Also sealed at top of chimney. Stove keeps the large open area at over 70 deg. on coldest days, so the heat pump does not run from to Midnight. Even at midnight, the fire could still be running, but the bedrooms get pretty cold if we dont let the heat come on, I'm talking below 63 degrees. I set the therm to 63, so when it comes on the BRs heat up quick. The Great Room has the Therm so it takes a while to heat up. It runs all night trying to bring temp up. Used 200kw overnight. I checked again when I got home and we used about 35kw over an 11 hour period. My daughter stay home from school and ran her hydro heat all day. So it's just that darned Heat Pump Aux Heat. I'll get those specs.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 8:15PM
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You might try running just the fan on your HVAC unit to help circulate the warm stove air throughout the house better. It sounds like you have a free standing stove and not an insert with blowers.

You didn't mention anything about having a ceiling fan in the 20 foot raised ceiling. I guarantee you that's the first place the stove heat goes. And, since it's uninsulated, you're losing a lot through that roof space. You need to push it down somehow and you can't do that with floor vents.

Insulation and windows are in order but I'm guessing you're looking at sort term fixes first.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 10:33AM
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I've tried the HVAC Fan to circulate, it works to a point. I have an issue that I've been trying to solve when I put my system on FAN ON with the Heat Off, the Compressor outside still runs. Possibly only the fan outside, but is seems strange.
No, I do have a Wood Stove Insert - Hearth Clydesdale model. Works great.
Yes, I do have a ceiling fan in a great location, about 16ft up in the center of the great room. I run it in reverse to circulate. During the day, when we crank up that wood stove, the whole house benefits.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 11:26AM
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If I was spending $1k / month on electric heat for the house at night, I would strongly consider getting space heaters for the bedrooms and setting the whole house temperature just warm enough to keep pipes from freezing.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 1:43PM
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With that kind of wood heating device, you are sucking cold air in from leaks all over the house. You might do better by opening a window very close to the insert. If you can supply combustion air from outside with a duct that ends at the insert through the floor, that would probably be best,

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 2:30PM
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I hear ya, space heaters seems like a odd solution, but when you look at the fact that we could set the space heater at 63 degrees, (we dont mind sleeping cold) shut down the HP completely @ 10:00, load up the woodstove, this will keep the living area above 60, no worries about freezing. Fire up the woodstove again to bring it back to 68 - 70, we're good. Considering it, looking for a deal on a good one, Any tips on good space heaters? I would just get two of them, and see how that goes.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 6:10PM
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You could install a Rinnai ex38 in the great room. Run it on Propane. They are outstanding. I've run them in my homes since 91.

You are really in a jam on this. You put your first dollar in tightening the envelop. Insulation, glass, etc. as far as analyzing your current system, you need a blower door test on the house and a pressure test on the duct work. For what you are going through I would be on my belly tonight looking for disconnected or severely leaking duct work. Google "doe duct leakage" for more info. Do not change equipment until you are certain the duct work will perform properly.

The combination of the Rinnai's and Fujitsu mini split heat pumps is how I heat my house. The ultimate in zone control, very comfortable and economical. By pulling the terrible ductwork I gained two downstairs closets and storage under the stairs. Geothermal works very well, but is really pricey.

To insulate your roof you will probably have to strip the shingles, put down sleepers, insulate, add plywood and re-roof. You sir, have your hands full. I know because I'm doing the same thing now.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 3:15PM
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what if you insulated the underside of the ceiling with closed cell foam & then sheetrocked for a new ceiling?
might be an option rather than raising roofline of one room & trying to insulate on top of roof.

just a thought.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 6:04PM
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Well that Rinnai is not cheap. But I see your point, at $800/month it would pay for itself.
My problem is evolving as I experiment. So I went out and bought to space heaters last night. Living close to a Kmart makes for quick purchases. I got two infrared units (1500 watts). They work great, didnt notice ours in the bedroom, we keep it real cool, but my son cranked his up, was like a sauna in his bedroom. So last night was fairly warm, above 32 anyway. we had a fire going, and I programmed my NEST therm. so it's basically never on. My HVAC runs from 6:30am to 8:00am. Just to heat up the bathrooms and it brings the kitchen up to a decent temp. I checked my daughters hydrotherm heat and it was set at around 68. Two space heaters running overnight. I unplugged some unused things, computers, DVRs. At 8:00am I looked at the meter. From 16:00 on Thursday to 08:00 Friday, 16 hours, we still used 98kw. Tomorrow the HVAC will not run during that time, so I will check again. Trying to isolate this, could be a combination of HVAC and Hydrotherm.
Only thing left is the water heater, it's in the cold crawl. I've been researching On Demand systems. They could be held in heated spaces, could save money. Also, I have a 2nd fridge in the garage. Could be power hungry.
Tonight I test again, trying to bring it down.
Thanks for the ideas on insulating, but options are limited. My house has a great look, sheetrock inside will not happen. One thing I never mentioned, yes it is exposed tongue and groove boards, but they are a good 2" thick. 6" wide of varying lengths. I've been trying to find drafts up near the ceiling, and I dont find any, but I know they are there.
I logged into the BGE Power website to look at my history. Amazing how little power I used in the peak of summer, and the house stayed cool.
Battling again tonight! Tomorrow I'm off, so I'll go in the crawl and get some info on the air handler aux heat. Also on the water heater. I'll look at the duct work as well.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 9:03PM
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I really don't know if the NEST can figure out how to warm up without aux heat call. If it can't, the aux heat might be killing you in the morning.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 9:32PM
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FIrst step is stage the heat strips if they are not already. I will explain the impact but I can only do it with a lot of reading and apologize.


Heat pump draw 30 amps

strips 20kw two 10kw stages. 2/60 amp breakers

Say your pump is running but needs some auxillary.

NOT staged you are drawing 150 amps and meter is spinning like a DVD.

Staged one set comes on and helps the heat pump.. you are drawing 90 amps.

smart stat with outdoor temp and heat pump lockout.. at the temp that the heat pump is not productive.. say 10 degrees the heat pump is automatically turned off and the first set of strips run.. and the second is activated if needed. when the temp rises outside the heat pump is reactivated.

heat strip lockout... at a temp above what you determine the strips will not be activated no matter what.

I would say staging strips and proper setup on the system is the largest saver... then sealing anything you can access and then adding insulation. Having an energy audit and infrared camera scan makes a HUGE difference showing leaks and poor insulation in picture form but even walking around with a infrared temp gun can tell you a lot.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 11:50PM
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Had too much to drink to respond to that. Thanks though.
The Nest is set to to save money by using HP instead of AUX. I can bypass that and set the lockouts myself. The nest knows the outdoor temp, it gets updates from a weather source through the wifi.
I'm bummed the Saints just lost.
I'll update this tomorrow with stats from my two heat pumps.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 7:57PM
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I'm bummed the Saints just lost.

you aren't alone in that.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 8:31PM
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Countryboymo - If I provide detailed specs on equipment, and photos of connections, can you - or someone else - help with staging the heat strips. (if they are not already...I dont know.)
I'm manually setting up my Nest Tstat now. I will set the Compressor to 10, and Aux Lockout at 35. 35 seems to be as low as I can go.
BTW - the Nest has W1 and W2. But W2 says Aux and W1 does not. I'm only using one wire and connected to W2. There is an unused wire in the Tstat line. Not sure if it is connected on the air handler or not. But would that divide up the two stages of strips...maybe?
I played around with my 2nd zone of heating. We have not talked about that much. It's a newer Trane system, Compressor and Air Handler. I flipped the DIP switches to increase the Fan Speed for Fan On. This zones return is high up in that great room of zone 1. I know that when my wood stove is cranked up, the air up by that return is a good 73-75 deg. So I suck that air into the cold zone 1 and it actually brings that temp up, but never all the way to that 70 deg mark. It's a cold room back there. I've got this nice 1.5 ton system to cool and heat 400sq ft. Can you say Space Heater?. The system heats and cools quickly, but I keep it cold back there, we only heat it up for man cave activities, sports and movies. 70 inch Sharp tv. That zone two system btw has one of those energy saver yellow cards. It's listed as highly efficient for cooling, and very poor for heating. Not very surprising.
So I'm down to about 100kw per day, should have been lower with the warm temps over last two days.
I looked at the water heater, not bad. listed as highly efficient. It's a Ruud system.
My energy hog Zone 1 Air Handler, looks pretty old. I have some info, will post it later.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 8:55PM
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If you give the brand and model and serial numbers it will help greatly. I might not be back on to help staging but someone else will if I am not back on. If nothing else searching here and the internet and don't forget you tube.

Energy's idea on foam on the inside and lowering the ceiling is an excellent idea. Something is going on and its like trying to heat a house with two shattered windows.

I see the most positive part is having a decent stat in place that will allow staging so the staging part might not involve any investment other than time figuring it out. I am sure you have some spare wires available from the stat to the air handler if needed.

I have heard that a few rental places are starting to rent thermal imaging cameras and know that some places online rent them but it would be cheaper to get a audit and possibly FREE if your utility has a energy program available.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 9:26PM
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wondered if my comment was 'invisible'!

ask code in your area if there is a difference
in R-value between cathedralized ceilings
& regular ceilings.

here in La. for a cathedralized ceiling code
is R-25, where as for a regular ceiling
it is R-30
makes a difference in inches of foam to be
most heat loss is through ceiling/roof.
can you post a pic of what the ceiling in
great room looks like?

windows also will allow cold to transfer
into this room. do you have drapes, blinds
or shades for them?

utility company testing of house for air leakage
& thermal scan might be an option for you
have you investigated it locally?

best of luck.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 11:07PM
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:) I'm guessing your talking about the insulation comments. I posted this right after - "Thanks for the ideas on insulating, but options are limited. My house has a great look, sheetrock inside will not happen. One thing I never mentioned, yes it is exposed tongue and groove boards, but they are a good 2" thick. 6" wide of varying lengths. I've been trying to find drafts up near the ceiling, and I dont find any, but I know they are there."
I realize it's a stubborn approach, and cost wise, it could be done relatively inexpensively. The current beams would allow sheetrock to screw right to them, probably not code because they are spaced a good 3 ft, but it would be easy. R30 filling in the space would be easy, and I'm sure a lot of heat would stay in. Now I'm not saying my ceiling is the Sistine Chapel, but sheetrocking it...I just dont think so. Maybe after I go through this again next winter.
Yes I will post some pics, maybe tonight. I had an appointment with the utility co. Yes they do audits, especially when their customer is spending $850/mo. I need to reschedule it. Also another guy on Angies List had a deal to spray insulation in a large room for $199. We scheduled, he told me about all the great things he can do for my house (saving energy) then he never showed. I think he realized he underbid the insulation work.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 8:21AM
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So here are some details -
Trane XR11 Heat Pump - February 2003
Model # - 2TWR1042A1000AB
Serial # - 309457M1F

Air Handler - Carrier -
Model # - FB4ANF042
Serial # - 3996A23910

Connected to NEST Thermostat -

Is it Single Stage - Dual Stage?

Any help appreciated.

Image of my wiring -

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 8:34AM
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Photos - Sorry, mostly highlighting my new kitchen, but you can see the ceiling -

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 8:51AM
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Dining Room has same high ceiling, as you move to the kitchen you see standard well insulated ceiling.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 8:55AM
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I posted a lot of detail and nobody checked back in. I'm insulted. Where's the bummer button.
So anyway, it's cold here in Maryland, the power wheel is spinning.
I've been doing research on power usage, talking to people, and I have some comments. I'm not sure what kind of heating strips make up the Aux Heat on my system, but assuming they could be 15kw strips, and there could be three of them making up my system. Thats 45kw per hour. Just running the heat for 4 hours in a day brings it to 180kw for just the heat. Is that right? If that's right, then it's easy to see where it's all going. Throw in Hot Water, and some other things, and I'm paying $1000/month.

Any comments?

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 8:43PM
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See the other recent thread about heat pumps and Nest thermometers - that could be the problem.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 9:19PM
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I agree. It seems that the nest thermostat might very well be a huge contributing factor from the post in here and a couple other places I have looked.

I recommend the visionpro series from honeywell especially the IAQ models. It appears that other one listed in the nest thread might be a really nice unit also.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 9:27PM
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You have a beautiful house, but unfortunately it is poorly insulated. Your attic and living space are combined. The high sealing is compounding the problem. Most of the heated air is rising to the roof peak. It must be several degrees warmer at the peak then it is at the floor level. You have a lot of single pane glass. It is a very open design. There are air currents flowing from the back doors to the front. The drafts cause a wind chill effect and make it seem colder.

You are consuming a lot of BTUs to heat the house. If you switched to natural gas tomorrow you heating costs would still be high. You need to investigate how you are going to insulate the roof and upgrade the glass doors and windows. In your case the return on investment will be quick.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 11:34AM
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Thanks, just posted over there in the Nest Thread. I asked for a recommendation on a Tstat that allows Heat Pump Lockout temp setting.
Any suggestions without spending $400.


    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 1:40PM
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The Honeywell Vision Pro IAQ would be a good choice a thermostat which has many features without the fancy screens. There are several versions of these, so you want to research which would work best your heat pump. I have added a link to an installation guide of the 8000 model in order to give you an idea of the features. I think you can lock out your auxiliary heat down to 5 degrees F. You can buy these on Amazon for less than $150. There are many positive reviews.

Here is a link that might be useful: Honeywell Vision Pro IAQ

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 1:52PM
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check with hvac pros at

nest is not a favorite of most hvac folks.

while you have a pretty ceiling, the individual
boards leak. nice look but very leaky.
add in no insulation...& there is part of
your issue.

I've found these ceiling types to be a huge
source of air infiltration in my 15+ years of testing
homes. in new construction we either sheetrock
or put tyvek..then put individual boards.
of course..we put insulation too.

I get that you don't want to change the look..
& I know you don't want to hear it...but
once you exhaust the other choices & if
problems still persist, then insulate
sheetrock & false beams. false beams.
you'll be the only one who knows.

best of luck in the cold cold winter!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 2:18PM
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How much air can pass through the plywood decking, roofing paper, and two layers of shingles?

I think it would be easier to add the insulation to the roof deck. I would not have the heart to cover that ceiling!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 3:24PM
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"How much air can pass through the plywood decking, roofing paper, and two layers of shingles? "

that part of my post about that was for if op
decides to deal with the issue. if he uses foam
on original ceiling and it is air tight then the
tyvek would be unnecessary.

"I think it would be easier to add the insulation to the roof deck. I would not have the heart to cover that ceiling!"

I'd have a stroke at an $800 utility bill.
the 'look' could be re-created.
esp knowing I could re-coup my investment
farily quickly from savings on utilities.
what can I say...comfort is a huge issue for me,
if I can't afford to be comfortable at home...
I'm going to do something.

adding insulation to the roof...and intergrating
it into existing roof...too much potential for
building in leakage sites for me. it isn't if
it leaks...its when it leaks.

I wondered if anyone was going to comment on
recessed lights...I count 7. surely there are
more in the house.

OP..the angies list foam guy did you a favor.
if you go this route, you want someone
doing the install that has years of experience.
not some shade tree insulator.

best of luck. nice place from the pics!!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 5:58PM
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not a pro here.....but is one ceiling fan all there is in that space? Would more fans help keep the heat closer to the floor? Or would they help draw the cold in from the roof?

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 6:09PM
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I was losing @5cfm out of each recessed light can that was insulation contact certified. After you do the math with 14 of them it becomes huge after the calculations go past an hour. A ceiling like that might look tight but it could really lose a mind blowing amount of heat.

I would get an energy audit with a blower door test and thermal imaging camera. Run the thermal camera around and look the house over inside and out and take pictures of the worst areas. Run the blower door test and shoot that ceiling and see how much the temperature changes with the blower creating a vacuum on the house. This will with no doubt show your biggest energy butt kicking areas.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 11:04PM
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I think there is a second floor above the ceiling with the recessed lights. I guess you could get some cold air infiltration, but I doubt has much of an impact on the heating bill the OP has posted.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 12:26PM
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No, not a second floor above that kitchen. All things considered though, I dont think the recessed lights are up there on the heat loss scale for this house. There are 9 of those lights, the ceiling is newly insulated @ R30.
In the photo looking at the Fireplace, the whole left side wall starting where the camera is in the dining room is four 16' x 60 " single pane glass windows. Two of them are casement swing open. As you move into the living room the same wall has about 20 feet of again single pane glass in sliding doors. On the right side there is the front door with two side glass panels.

Appreciate the comments on all of this. I will not be covering this ceiling. I will not be living in this house long enough to make a decision like that. We move a lot and I'd say within two years we will be out.
I started the thread to get help with the heating system. Someone asked me to post model and serial numbers, I did, but never got any comments. Here they are again.

Trane XR11 Heat Pump - February 2003
Model # - 2TWR1042A1000AB
Serial # - 309457M1F

Air Handler - Carrier -
Model # - FB4ANF042
Serial # - 3996A23910

We were talking about different stages of heat, I'm sorry but I dont know anything about that, unless we are simply talking about the Heat Pump being stage 1 and Aux being stage 2, then I understand it. But I think there is more to it than that.

Funny thing, We could just live here and if you could budget your winters, you can simply leave the TStat at 67 - 69 and just close your eyes and pay the bill when it comes. Even with the ceiling like it is and all the glass...the house gets warm pretty fast when the heat is running. With the wood stove in that chimney, we were only running the Heat less than 3 hours/day. On Thursday it was so cold I just gave in and we ran the heat longer, but it was still only 6 hours. I know my bill will be high for January, but warmer weather is coming.

Still looking for a better TStat, the guy in the Nest thread made a good point. You can only set the Aux Lockout at 35 degrees. He tried to cheat the system by changing his zip code, funny, never thought of that, but seriously, there is a balance point on our Heat Pumps. 35 degrees is probably pretty close, and I dont thing the HP is cutting out at 35, just being supplemented with AUX.

Last question - Do these blower door tests have to be done in winter?

Thanks again

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 3:12PM
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blower door test depressurizes the house exaggerating leakage sites so that they are easily found, and to measure cfm of infiltration.

if IR camera is used, it should be in conjunction with
blower door, not alone as it will only show infiltration
on windy side of bldg. blower door will put house
under negative pressure, IR camer will show all
infiltration sites.

blower door test can be done any time of year.

hopefully next purchaser will ask for a year's
utility bills prior to purchase.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 4:36PM
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I was just stating that when I had my energy audit done before the blower door was even installed I was losing 5cfm per light and I had not even considered the few little holes in a recessed housing to leak that much. We didn't run the flow hood on them with the blower door running. I bet the numbers would have been staggering.

I was just trying to give an example of how a few cfm here and there adds up to losing every square foot of air in the house in a shockingly short order. This is air changes per hour.

A good sealing and insulating plan will still help considerably even if that ceiling is part of the issue.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 9:50PM
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Thanks, I contacted a company from Annapolis yesterday, Edge Energy. Anyone heard of them? I'm willing to spend a bit to see what can really help. I'm curious about the insulation in the walls, I have no idea what it is.
I spent some time yesterday on the BGE Energy site. Looking at my energy usage. They have some good graphs, you can see your usage along with temperatures from each day, even down to the hour. I see that we are doing well on working days, I go to work, wife is home, she keeps the wood stove burning all day, temp is up to 68 - 70 in the house. And we are down below 5k. The space heaters are still running in places, they are using a good 1k each.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 9:31AM
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You will really be pleased by the thermal imaging portion because it removes all guessing and with the blower door it is even more telling. The best thing is having an opportunity to address individual areas rather than blanket solutions which saves time and money.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 1:49AM
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Energy audit on Friday morning. He said to have my heat cranked up to 70 for a good differential out to in. He will do the Blower door and many other great things. Sounds interesting.
On another note, I found a bunch of web articles on people with the same roof as me and wanting to insulate on the outside. They talk about SIP panels and other things. This article shows a nice photo of what appears to be a fairly inexpensive solution, with two layers of foam to add up to a good R Value. I seem to think there should be an air gap somewhere in there though. Take a look -

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to article

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 9:44PM
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Thanks for the follow-up and good luck with the audit. I for one will be very interested to learn what the auditor suggests.

To add on to the comments about recessed lights, if yours are incandescent, and especially if they are not in an air tight housing, you might consider replacing with LED to reduce air loss and (minorly) reduce electric used for lighting.

Home Depot sells EcoSmart (manufacturer by Cree) LED downlight replacements that have the benefit of significantly reducing airflow because there are no air gaps between bulb and trim.

Here is a link that might be useful: LED Downlights

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 1:25PM
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Let me know what the temp is AFTER they get done with the blower door test. I'll bet you will get pretty chilly :-)

Good find on the roofing article. High fashion always comes at a cost whether it is a ceiling or a pair of shoes.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 2:27PM
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I still wonder how to intergrate new higher roof to existing roofline. with no exterior pics..its just something to wonder about.

LOL@Ionized, I'll be doing 2 blower door tests tomorrow
afternoon..tried to schedule for Sat...when it will be 70 degrees instead of 27...sure hope their heating systems can recover by nighttime. last one is for 4 pm..going to be chilly overnight in that house!!

when I read this...I wondered how the heck changing from incandescent bulb to led would make IC housing of recessed light air tight...glad poster included link.
good link btw.

"To add on to the comments about recessed lights, if yours are incandescent, and especially if they are not in an air tight housing, you might consider replacing with LED to reduce air loss and (minorly) reduce electric used for lighting."

when you open the link it shows bulb/insert/trim as one piece, so yeah...this would work.
on the right of the screen if you scroll down are just the bulbs...which would't change air tightness.
on that lower part of the screen they show prices for
led bulb/insert & trim all in one piece. pricey!!
I'd have to see costs of just led bulb plus air tight inserts & labor to install to see which would be provide a faster

thanks for the info invisible hand.

best of luck.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 2:41PM
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It will be interesting to know the results on this audit. I know I am curious.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 12:06AM
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me too.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 12:26AM
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Audit done - Full report will come in a couple days. Some notes - House was not as bad as thought it would be. Very interesting watching the IR Camera.
I'm sure you are all interested in the ceiling. The ceiling in general does not come up as a problem all around, but at the Peak, it's bad. He said simply some good caulking at the peak and on the edges where the ceiling hits walls. Then at the eves, and I knew this was a problem, it's really bad. you can see in the photo just above the yellow walls, there are 2 floodlights in each bay. Yea that's a lot of lights, they do not work, put in there apparently the guy was a theatrical designer, and liked lighting. Would be cool to them working, they are one blue and one green, can you say Christmas! Run by a big transformer in the crawlspace. So each one of those bays comes up really bad in the report, good news though, it's fixable.
So directly at the wood in the ceiling in not that bad. Not really fixable anyway.
So floodlights show up really bad, even new ones in the kitchen. Older ones around the house are really bad. So he had a lot of comments about the crawlspace. more coming later,

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 4:33PM
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was IR scan done while house was
depressurized with blower door?

eek...crawlspace...didn't realize
house was on crawlspace. maybe
I missed it if you posted it earlier.

glad you had another pair of eyes
on the job, hope you'll post more
details when you get them.

sharing your info for other homeowners
to read & compare is very helpful.

best of luck.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 5:58PM
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Busy day - Macbook has been crashing, got that post out in between crashes. Worked with Apple Care on the phone, think they fixed it.

So yes, IR Scan during blower door test. I'm sure I will get all the details, but he said it's not uncommon, but because of the drafty house, he could not get the fan up to a certain level. Forget what that number was or the value of that number. So the house did not get that cold either. The blower was running for a long time, and the house cooled down from 70 to about 63. I expected much worse after you guys wrote about it in here. I think I expected the inside to feel like outside. Anyway, he pointed out the edges of all walls, at the corners and top rails where you can see there is no insulation. I think you can clearly see that the walls are insulated ok.
Attic access panels are killers. We dont even try to fake it here, just a thin wood or sheetrock panel, we have 3 access points. He suggested buying a can of Mastic, spread it on the back and press on insulation, it would help. He suggested sealing any recessed lights, and using the spray fluffy insulation in attics. For one of the attics that has an air handler, he suggests creating a conditioned attic space by insulating the walls, but I dont think I agree with that.
For the Crawl, he first suggests I stop any water entry, yes there is right now, might be hard to fix. I have two Sumps down there, but somehow water gets in, and just hangs out on the floor, never more than 1/16 inch deep, but spreads out. Then he says insulating the walls of the crawl to make it air tight, no venting. Or the other approach is to insulate the ceiling or main floor - floor. It's insulated now, but he says it's not doing anything, Its installed backwards, and only a few inches thick . He said I could go with a spray foam, a little pricey, or a real thick high R value insulation.
I will share the report when it comes.

Was nice having the house warm over the last 24 hours, but I used well over 300 KV in that time.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 6:57PM
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Now there is no guessing and hoping. You can come up with a plan and execute it and every dollar and hour spent will cut your expenses.

I can't find it for the life of me now but someone came up with an applicator tip that goes on the cans of foam to apply a wide smooth layer of foam like shooting on spray foam. For a small area it would be incredible and a lot cheaper than a foam kit.

I am so happy you did this so every dollar you invest isn't just thrown at maybe's. There is no denying what areas need attention. You might inquire about if the person would come out afterwards and do a run through and shoot just to see what impact you have made. It isn't as good as throwing a blower door on but is neat to see.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 11:53PM
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Can you make an attic hatch cover? Our air seal guy built us one like this out of a sheet of insulation board. It works well. Or buy one premade. I think it would be better than gluing material to the hatch unless your hatch seals tightly.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 11:33PM
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There used to be some bag-tupe hatch covers with zipper openings. I have not seen them advertised lately.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 12:46PM
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