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Typical Energy Costs?

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Joined: Apr 11 2010

I'm an Eichler N003, but I already did a search on this, and didn't find anything conclusive.

My wife and I currently live in a 1500 square foot 3br/2ba Mediterranean in Oakland that we love, but it's not 'us'. When we moved in 10 years ago, it had exactly zero wall and attic insulation. Energy bills were hell... like on the order of $400+ a month even with letting the house get cold and wearing sweaters inside. We since got most of the perimeter walls and attic insulated, and now we are down to around $300 a month, and overall comfort is much better. In summer, we typically use around $200 in energy, I'm guessing mostly to run my wife's computers for working at home all day long. Summertime used to turn the house into a sweat lodge, but the insulation in the attic has helped quite a bit. The Spanish Tile roof is a massive heat soak, that heats up the house all night long in summer.

So now we found a potential steal (either for us, or the seller, depending on how things go ) Eichler in the Walnut Creek/Concord area. Its currently a bit of a trainwreck, but should be workable. It looks like nothing has been modernized, with the exception of an air conditioner on the roof. It does have baseboard heaters that look like they were kinda hacked in. I don't know if that is a sign that the original radiant floor heating is shot or not. Probably is.

My question is this: What are the typical winter energy bills for a 1700 square foot unimproved Eichler in the 925 area code?

I know its typically 10-20 degrees hotter in summer from where we are now. It looks like it was recently re-roofed with the typical tar and gravel.

We plan to upgrade things as we go, as we can afford to. I have a fantasy about solar powering the house, but that will be a ways off.

The wife and I are total artisty modern architecture geeks, so naturally we are super excited with the chance to get into an Eichler. We can dump some cash into upgrades, but we are not made of money... especially now that we have two preschool age kids.

Thanks in advance, and I hope to be an Eichler neighbor soon!

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Joined: Jan 9 2008

Do you know if the baseboards are gas or electric? That could make a difference.

So, for comparison, we have a four bedroom in Concord....about 1,800 SF of conditioned space I believe? We have a foam roof, our radiant heat works and we use it, our appliances are electric (and a couple of years old), we have AC which we don't run throughout the house all the time (it's zoned so we don't have to).

Electricity this past year has averaged around $75-$100. It spiked in August '09 (probably because of the AC), January '10, and February '10 (not sure why for those months).

Gas seems to range from $10-$30 in the summer and $150-$250 in the winter. We just got a new more energy efficient boiler last month so I'll be interested to see how the gas bills look next winter.

Good luck!

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Joined: Feb 8 2005

$500.00 from November through February. $300.00 per month from March through October.
Winters can be rough, but if you replace all of the single pane windows in the kitchen bedrooms and bathrooms with dual pane versions you'll see a significant difference.
BTW you can replace most windows for around $300.00 a piece. This is not the price to replace the large windows.
I shudder to think what that would cost.

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Joined: Jan 9 2008

dommi99 wrote:
Winters can be rough, but if you replace all of the single pane windows in the kitchen bedrooms and bathrooms with dual pane versions you'll see a significant difference.
BTW you can replace most windows for around $300.00 a piece. This is not the price to replace the large windows.
I shudder to think what that would cost.

Good point! We replaced ours as well and actually did it ourselves. It's easier than it looks.

http://redneckmodern.typepad.com/redneckmodern/2007/11/window-install.html
http://redneckmodern.typepad.com/redneckmodern/2008/04/siding-replacem.html

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Joined: May 4 2007

We are in the process of remodeling our 2600 sq ft A frame. We are the feature house in the "Hues that Say You' article on the main page.

W/ the original tar/gravel roof, our bill would be about $500 for winter and $300 or so during the summer. The previous owner ran the roof A/C during the summer and doubled their PGE bill. We chose not to use. In fact, it's gone now. We've replaced the flat roof w/ a foam roof and the pitched area now has 4" of foam board with Eco tiles on top. We have mostly single pane windows (filmed for safety w/ clear film) and the exterior walls have 'some' insulation. Yesterday was pretty hot. In the past, it's was usually unbearable w/o opening windows. Even with the house closed for 48 hours w/ no windows open for circulation, I walked into the house and it was so cool I almost wanted to wear a sweater. It was like the AC was on. My rough guess was a 20 degree drop from the previous tar/gravel roof.

We also ripped out the previous tile/carpet/wood floors and ground the floor down to the original concrete, exposing some aggregate. It's pretty industrial but allows the radiant heat to work much more efficiently. During the past winter, even during cold spells, we could keep the thermostat at 58 degrees and it was quite comfortable inside.

I'm a foam believer.

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Joined: Jan 9 2008

oldskoolboarder wrote:
I'm a foam believer.

We are too...our first summer in the house with the old tar and gravel roof was HORRIBLE....especially in Concord/Walnut Creek where it easily gets over 100 in the summer. It would be 100 outside and 110 inside. The foam roof has made a huge difference.

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