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Electric boiler seems expensive to run #5294332 12/14/19 01:42 PM
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ram_man Offline OP
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Hello everyone so long story short we bought a house that is somewhat of a fixer upper. Needs some updating etc. but it’s out of town on a little ground and the price was right. Something I have noticed is the heater seems to use a lot of energy. It is a Weil McLain boiler the inside of the home has baseboard heater style radiators that the water passes through from my understanding. I can watch our meter and the little disc moves pretty slow and then when the heater takes off it spins pretty good. I have the house kept at 68 degrees and the windows are old aluminum pane windows so I put plastic on them. The attic vents are closed off and the home does have insulation in the attic. There isn’t insulation in the crawl space but it is closed off and dry. Our electric bill is projected to be $310 and the usage for yesterday was about 130kwh that seem crazy high to me! The home is almost 1500 square foot. The home was built in 1950 brick home with an add on sometime after that but the add on has the asbestos siding so it’s not modern by any means. The home isn’t a new tight energy efficient home by any means but still I think the usage is crazy. I have very little experience with boiler systems so any info is appreciated or advice thoughts anything is appreciated. I’m sure we will get this ironed out and move on to the next project in time.


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Re: Electric boiler seems expensive to run [Re: ram_man] #5294339 12/14/19 01:53 PM
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CharlieBauer Offline
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If I used 130kwh of electricity a day, my bill would be $1000 a month.


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Re: Electric boiler seems expensive to run [Re: CharlieBauer] #5294356 12/14/19 02:12 PM
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ram_man Offline OP
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What do they charge you per kw?


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Re: Electric boiler seems expensive to run [Re: ram_man] #5294359 12/14/19 02:16 PM
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OVERKILL Online Content
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130kWh a DAY??? Holy sweet baby Jesus! I'm on equal billing, but I'm heating 4 floors in Canada with forced air natural gas and my gas bill is $145/month. I also use gas to heat my hot water. If I used that much hydro it would be more than my mortgage crzy


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Re: Electric boiler seems expensive to run [Re: ram_man] #5294360 12/14/19 02:16 PM
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ecotourist Offline
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If you're stuck with electric heat, you should consider a heat pump. I don't know if that would work with hot water heat but there may be a way. Or just lost the hot water system and go with a split-system heat pump. They say a heat pump system has a 3:1 or better gain in energy efficiency.

We had electric baseboard heaters, a wood stove, didn't heat the whole house and still had large electric bills. With our heat pump operating, we now heat the whole house, don't fire the stove at all, and our bills are quite a bit lower.

Gas heat would be even cheaper but we don't have access to gas in this neighbourhood. If you have access to gas, that would be a great way to update your hot water heating system.


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Re: Electric boiler seems expensive to run [Re: ram_man] #5294361 12/14/19 02:19 PM
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Most people know and judge the type of heat a home has before considering the purchase. Those old aluminum windows need replaced and I'd see how the walls are insulated along with the attic. There might be an energy program through your electric provider to help with window and/or insulating cost.


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Re: Electric boiler seems expensive to run [Re: ram_man] #5294365 12/14/19 02:22 PM
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That does seem crazy high. Probably do better with any other heating source at 130kw a day.

Last edited by dareo; 12/14/19 02:22 PM.

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Re: Electric boiler seems expensive to run [Re: ram_man] #5294366 12/14/19 02:26 PM
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Rand Offline
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on one hand 4000kwh is a ton.. on the other 4000kwh for $300 wow thats cheap.

also not sure what the point of ELECTRIC WATER HEAT would be?

I mean that is even less efficient/more costly than regular electric heat.

Do you have natural gas? if no I'd suggest some type of heat pump system
they move heat vs creating heat usually 3:1 or better.


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Re: Electric boiler seems expensive to run [Re: ram_man] #5294375 12/14/19 02:36 PM
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Electric heat is the most expensive to heat with. Basically with lots of electric plants running on gas, you basically take that gas, burn it to make electricity and maybe if you're lucky about 50% efficient, then send it down the transmission lines which also cost money and you have to also maintain all that infrastructure and electricity is probably at least 2-3x more expensive to run than gas. But it's about 100% efficient. Burning gas would be anywhere from 80-96% efficient. But if you don't have it, you could do a propane system, but that's not as cheap as gas so it depends on the cost of propane in your area. You'd probably have to get someone to do a manual J calculation to figure out how big a boiler you need and maybe you can figure out how many btu's your house uses on average to figure out if it's worth doing. Electric is cheap to install, but costs a lot to run on a yearly basis. You can also turn down the thermostat, it's 68 during the day and 64 at night around here which is the code requirement for heat. Some people run it lower and just wear more cloths around the house. Or some resort to a wood pellet stove.

Re: Electric boiler seems expensive to run [Re: Rand] #5294382 12/14/19 02:46 PM
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ram_man Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Rand
on one hand 4000kwh is a ton.. on the other 4000kwh for $300 wow thats cheap.

also not sure what the point of ELECTRIC WATER HEAT would be?

I mean that is even less efficient/more costly than regular electric heat.

Do you have natural gas? if no I'd suggest some type of heat pump system
they move heat vs creating heat usually 3:1 or better.


It’s basically like the old houses that had the radiators. They had a boiler system that pumped water through the radiators creating radiant heat. Apparently it works great my aunt has it in her historical home in st Louis. This home just seems crazy high.
Maybe there is an issue with the heater causing the high usage? I don’t know what to check though. Was going to try blowing out all the vents on the inside heaters and seeing if that helps at all.


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Re: Electric boiler seems expensive to run [Re: OVERKILL] #5294386 12/14/19 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by OVERKILL
130kWh a DAY??? Holy sweet baby Jesus! I'm on equal billing, but I'm heating 4 floors in Canada with forced air natural gas and my gas bill is $145/month. I also use gas to heat my hot water. If I used that much hydro it would be more than my mortgage crzy


As Shannow asked on another post... “Are you guys running arc smelters in the loungeroom ?”

Our previous house (1,120sq ft ranch) was very poorly insulated, worst gas bill I ever got was $98 when it was -20 for 2 days and we kept the furnace at 68-70 to eliminate the risk of burst pipes.

At 130kWh a day for usage, that’s pushing 4,000kwh for the month. 4,000kwh here would run about $500! I’d be looking into a heat pump or propane crzy


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Re: Electric boiler seems expensive to run [Re: ram_man] #5294395 12/14/19 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by ram_man
Originally Posted by Rand
on one hand 4000kwh is a ton.. on the other 4000kwh for $300 wow thats cheap.

also not sure what the point of ELECTRIC WATER HEAT would be?

I mean that is even less efficient/more costly than regular electric heat.

Do you have natural gas? if no I'd suggest some type of heat pump system
they move heat vs creating heat usually 3:1 or better.


It’s basically like the old houses that had the radiators. They had a boiler system that pumped water through the radiators creating radiant heat. Apparently it works great my aunt has it in her historical home in st Louis. This home just seems crazy high.
Maybe there is an issue with the heater causing the high usage? I don’t know what to check though. Was going to try blowing out all the vents on the inside heaters and seeing if that helps at all.


I spent most of my childhood in a big old brick house that was heated this way. I know my dad had a natural gas boiler for it, not sure what the cost to run it at the time was, not that it would matter now given the rather massive time rift. Is gas available in your area?


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Re: Electric boiler seems expensive to run [Re: ram_man] #5294399 12/14/19 03:05 PM
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I have hot water heat in my 2300 ft2 house, the boiler is natural gas fired, 3 temperature zones for, groundfloor, mainfloor and bedrooms on top level. Boiler made by Viessmann - well known German company with a local operation near me. Boilers with hot water heat are fairly efficient systems, known for their quiet operation, A boiler heated by electric element is going to be 100% efficient in transfer of energy, but as others have said, the electric source is the most expensive source of energy. You also have an electric pump to circulate the water in the closed loop system.

Check the following before you scrap out the Weil Mc system:
1. air in the closed loop system? bleeders are usually found at each radiator, go online and learn about bleeding air from these.
2. What temperature does the boiler maintain when there is no call for heat from any of the zones? stand-by temperature might be too high and this could be driving up your costs.
3. My system has a outdoor thermometer that dials back the boiler stand-by temp when the days are warmer than usual, this means on milder winter days, I trick my boiler into thinking it's October instead of January.
4. Have the system serviced, the efficiency might be down if there is scale on the heating elements or any problems with zone valves open when they are not needed to supply heat.

I'm in South Western Ontario, the coldest days EVER cost me about $15 CAD per day for my Natural Gas ( Boiler, dryer, oven, hot water tank). FWIW, my average Nat Gas bill in January is $ 200 CAD


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Re: Electric boiler seems expensive to run [Re: OVERKILL] #5294402 12/14/19 03:06 PM
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ram_man Offline OP
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Originally Posted by OVERKILL
Originally Posted by ram_man
Originally Posted by Rand
on one hand 4000kwh is a ton.. on the other 4000kwh for $300 wow thats cheap.

also not sure what the point of ELECTRIC WATER HEAT would be?

I mean that is even less efficient/more costly than regular electric heat.

Do you have natural gas? if no I'd suggest some type of heat pump system
they move heat vs creating heat usually 3:1 or better.


It’s basically like the old houses that had the radiators. They had a boiler system that pumped water through the radiators creating radiant heat. Apparently it works great my aunt has it in her historical home in st Louis. This home just seems crazy high.
Maybe there is an issue with the heater causing the high usage? I don’t know what to check though. Was going to try blowing out all the vents on the inside heaters and seeing if that helps at all.


I spent most of my childhood in a big old brick house that was heated this way. I know my dad had a natural gas boiler for it, not sure what the cost to run it at the time was, not that it would matter now given the rather massive time rift. Is gas available in your area?


I do believe it is.
My main concern is before just replacing a “working “ unit would it be wise to look for any issues that would cause this amount of usage? I’d assume it shouldn’t use this much and if it is maybe there is an issue?


2014 dodge dart GT
1995 Dodge ram 1500


Re: Electric boiler seems expensive to run [Re: ram_man] #5294403 12/14/19 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by ram_man
Originally Posted by OVERKILL
Originally Posted by ram_man
Originally Posted by Rand
on one hand 4000kwh is a ton.. on the other 4000kwh for $300 wow thats cheap.

also not sure what the point of ELECTRIC WATER HEAT would be?

I mean that is even less efficient/more costly than regular electric heat.

Do you have natural gas? if no I'd suggest some type of heat pump system
they move heat vs creating heat usually 3:1 or better.


It’s basically like the old houses that had the radiators. They had a boiler system that pumped water through the radiators creating radiant heat. Apparently it works great my aunt has it in her historical home in st Louis. This home just seems crazy high.
Maybe there is an issue with the heater causing the high usage? I don’t know what to check though. Was going to try blowing out all the vents on the inside heaters and seeing if that helps at all.


I spent most of my childhood in a big old brick house that was heated this way. I know my dad had a natural gas boiler for it, not sure what the cost to run it at the time was, not that it would matter now given the rather massive time rift. Is gas available in your area?


I do believe it is.
My main concern is before just replacing a “working “ unit would it be wise to look for any issues that would cause this amount of usage? I’d assume it shouldn’t use this much and if it is maybe there is an issue?


I'm not suggesting swapping out the whole system, just the boiler for a gas one. Based on your usage, you'd pay for the boiler in savings in just a few months LOL


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