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Trouble shooting radiant heat

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Joined: Feb 18 2007

I'm 3 months new to eichler living. We were pleasantly suprised w/ first heating bill (mid Nov. -Dec) at approx. $70 for gas. We became a bit heavy handed w/ the thermostat but were horrified at $460 bill for Dec-Jan. We nearly shut off the heat for this past month and still used $150 in gas. For those of you with experience heating homes w/ radiant heat, is this the reality of the cost of this heating system, or is it possible we have a problem with the functioning of the system? We have no frame of reference and are confused both by our first reasonable bill as well as a clear bill on our home inspection for the heating system when we purchased the home in Nov.

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Joined: Aug 25 2005

We basically had the same shock you had but not as bad last year. We bought in October 05' and had the same Oct-Nov reasonable $100.00 bill. Dec and Jan were $360 and $280. This year was about the same.

Variables such as programable thermostats, atrium covers either fabricated or roll a matic, double pane windows, upgraded insulation and foam roofs will all help in reducing heat loss during the cold months.

Nick

Nick
Castro Valley

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Joined: Mar 16 2005

Your gas bill seems a bit high. I'm in the South Bay where it is a bit more moderate in low-to-high.

A better comparison is therms, but in terms of dollars, my peak is about $325 with $260 gas & $65 electric for 1600 sf & foam roof. My Jan-Feb came down a bit to about $250 ($185 gas & $65 electric).

With 18" square tile flooring & single pane glass, we only get the house comfortable and not overly warm. My neigbor, with some insulated glass, is on par (higher because of larger SqFt size).

The 2005-06 winter had gas prices that were 25-40% higher; 2006-07 unit prices were more normal but I used more therms because we had several stretches of freezing nights.

My thermostat has a "filter use" counter, and during the peak 30-day period, it was registering about 6 hours running PER DAY (boiler on for 6 hours daily) for a comfortable setting (floor still felt cool).

Basically, I budget for about $160/per month for PG&E, and pay a constant monthly amount to carry forward "credits" that (mostly) offset my November-February peak bills.

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Joined: Apr 10 2006

I'm also new to Eichler home ownership (bought in May, 2006).

My high so far was the January bill at $250.00, with 132 therms of gas usage. I have an automatic thermostat that is programmed for between 65 - 69 degrees depending on time of day and a foam roof, but single pane windows.

My most recent bill though is, thankfully, down to just under $200.

I'd be interested in knowing what others have done to cut back on the PG&E bill. I have thick curtains that cover the back wall of windows already and the aforementioned foam room. I know that new double pane windows would help, but is there a more affordable short term solution?

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Joined: Mar 25 2006

High gas bills are not unusual with the eichlers. Radiant systems that go in today have insulation below the slab, not to mention all the other great energy saving stuff that has come along in the past 50 years. No eichler house would pass todays building codes for heat loss. The old boilers are awfully inefficient, and coupled with the hefty gas price increases, it can be a bit painful. Set-back t-stats certainly help, but wont make up for the old boiler, single glazed windows, and no roof or wall insulation. It's all given great service; but there's a limit. Oh yeah, wall to wall carpet with pad will murder you; 50% or more decrease in heating output.

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