User not logged in - login - register
Home Calendar Books School Tool Photo Gallery Message Boards Users Statistics Advertise Site Info
go to bottom | |
 Message Boards » » Monitoring electric use by appliance -also HVAC Qs Page [1] 2, Next  
mildew
Drunk yet Orderly
14163 Posts
user info
edit post

Looking for a tech that can come out and evaluate our usage by appliance. We are currently arguing with our HVAC company that our bill is sky-high because of a flaw with the heating system (10 months old - full warranty), but they are adamant it is not. I've reached out to a local electrician to see if they handle anything like this, but monitoring usage isn't really in their wheelhouse.


Background for HVAC nerds: We've had HVAC company out for 6 service calls for cooling and heating not working in our new home. The air handler froze in the summer, the outside unit freezes now in the winter. They say it was all because of a collapsed hidden duct that was choking the air flow and they have now fixed it. Our energy bill is still very high after the fix and we are pretty sure it is running AUX Heat constantly - which they now say is normal sometimes and/or the thermostat may say that, but the Aux Heat isn't actually running. I've now seen it display Aux Heat running for 6+ hours and struggling to maintain Hold temp (thermostat always is set to Hold @ 71 degrees), while it is mid 50s outside, and the outside unit is not spinning or doing anything. Am I insane to think we are just running pure Aux Heat all the time? They insist it is not the HVAC system causing the spike in billing, but nothing else has changed or had issues. They've replaced duct work, replaced defrost board on unit, checked pressures/levels/balances, and basically said it is all perfect - they now say they will come check out our thermostats next.... as a courtesy - then they are pretty much done with helping us an we have to swallow $500 a month in electric bill...

1/31/2019 12:35:44 PM

rjrumfel
All American
21434 Posts
user info
edit post

What's the sq footage of your home? Just wanting to know for comparison purposes. Ours runs around 275/month between December and February, and our home is about 2300 sq ft, with 1 unit down and one unit up.

We have a very old unit (17-18 yrs old) and we seem to be doing ok, albeit inefficient. Much better than your brand new unit. What kind of thermostat do you have? Obviously, these cold evenings are going to have your heat strips running all the time, but if you're at 50 outside, then your unit should be spinning. Do you have some type of attempt delay on your thermostat? Ours will attempt to run the heat pump for a certain amount of time before kicking on the aux heat.

But something def. sounds wrong.

What part of town are you located? I have a guy I definitely trust, if you're not too far from here.

1/31/2019 1:06:01 PM

A Tanzarian
drip drip boom
9698 Posts
user info
edit post

You may want to keep track manually first before spending money on monitoring. Keep a log of when the heat goes on/off and the corresponding kwh meter reading. If you have a smart meter, your utility may have a monitoring application you can use.

How much do you expect the HVAC to be each month?

Definitely sounds like something's wrong though.

1/31/2019 1:15:56 PM

mildew
Drunk yet Orderly
14163 Posts
user info
edit post

Quote :
"What's the sq footage of your home?"

~3,200 sqft.

Quote :
"What kind of thermostat do you have?"

standard Honeywell


Quote :
"Do you have some type of attempt delay on your thermostat?"

The guy mentioned that if our unit runs for more than 10 mins to get the hold temp, then the aux heat will kick on as well to assist.

Quote :
"What part of town are you located?"

Southern Wake, I actually called another company but they essentially said they don't want to work on another companies system while under warranty for fear of voiding the warranty - which I understand and don't want to compromise it either.

Quote :
"You may want to keep track manually first before spending money on monitoring. Keep a log of when the heat goes on/off and the corresponding kwh meter reading."

This could work for now, but would be annoying to keep running out and checking. I may do it for a day and see.

Quote :
"How much do you expect the HVAC to be each month?"

Absolutely guessing here, but I assume 25-40% of our overall bill depending on season... I get the feeling it is about 60% of our current bill. I could definitely be wrong, though

1/31/2019 3:31:34 PM

synapse
play so hard
57574 Posts
user info
edit post

So I'm assuming you're heating via a heat pump? Gas isn't available? Just one heat pump or multiple units? That's a big house...I wonder if you have enough capacity. Who makes the heat pump and what size/tons is it?

What was your average bill last winter? What's the average this winter?

Quote :
"I've now seen it display Aux Heat running for 6+ hours and struggling to maintain Hold temp (thermostat always is set to Hold @ 71 degrees), while it is mid 50s outside, and the outside unit is not spinning or doing anything. Am I insane to think we are just running pure Aux Heat all the time?"


Something does sound messed up. If it's 50's outside I don't think the aux heat should run at all, unless you crank it up to 70 degrees or something, but even then, the outside unit would be running too.

1/31/2019 4:47:02 PM

A Tanzarian
drip drip boom
9698 Posts
user info
edit post

Quote :
"This could work for now, but would be annoying to keep running out and checking. I may do it for a day and see."


You don't run out to the meter everytime you hear the HVAC kick on or off. You turn the HVAC off, get some baseline energy use data (kwh over some period of time), turn the heat on and get some more data, and then turn the auxiliary heat on for even more data. Repeat a couple of times over a few days.

These numbers will be of pretty limited use if you don't know what the HVAC's energy use should be. You need to look through the manual and see if you can find some numbers. While you're there you should probably check to see if the unit is appropriately sized for your house.

Quote :
"the thermostat may say that, but the Aux Heat isn't actually running."


holy red flag batman

[Edited on January 31, 2019 at 4:50 PM. Reason : asdfasdfasdfasdfasdfweraf]

1/31/2019 4:49:38 PM

darkone
(\/) (;,,,;) (\/)
11242 Posts
user info
edit post

What kind of HVAC unit do you have? Post the make and model. Do you have an emergency heat switch anywhere?

1/31/2019 6:09:56 PM

darkone
(\/) (;,,,;) (\/)
11242 Posts
user info
edit post

Post a pic of the thermostat wiring too.

1/31/2019 6:12:15 PM

dtownral
All American
25205 Posts
user info
edit post

Hire another company, dont tell them anything about the warranty

1/31/2019 8:13:42 PM

synapse
play so hard
57574 Posts
user info
edit post

I feel like it's also worth asking how you found this company, and how prominent they are in the local biz.

1/31/2019 10:58:08 PM

dtownral
All American
25205 Posts
user info
edit post

it sounds like low refrigerant to me, that would explain the ice and the not able to reach the set temp and the increased aux heat usage

2/1/2019 7:46:13 AM

mildew
Drunk yet Orderly
14163 Posts
user info
edit post

It's the company my custom builder contracted and they did the install. The levels have been "perfect" all 6 times they've been out.

They're coming again next week and now my builder is insisting they cut us a check to cover the overage in our electric bill... We'll see how that turns out. I have an electrician coming to measure amperage and see if we can get any useful info from the panel.

I may just buy a monitoring kit and have them hook it up for me at some point

2/1/2019 9:32:17 AM

A Tanzarian
drip drip boom
9698 Posts
user info
edit post

They come out, say everything is ok again, and cut you a check for this month.

What are you going to do next month?

2/1/2019 10:33:14 AM

darkone
(\/) (;,,,;) (\/)
11242 Posts
user info
edit post

There are only a few things that can run an electricity bill that high this time of year. A broken electric hot water heater, super bad insulation, or running the electric heat a lot.

You know your Aux heat is running. You need to find out when and why.

A collapsed duct will cause things to freeze up. It will also kill the compressor which I'm surprised didn't happen.

Aux heat is supposed to run when: 1) It's really cold and the efficiency of the heat pump drops to shit. 2) When the heat set point is a lot higher than the current air temperature (usually 3 deg F). Check the paperwork that came with the unit. Then whole sequence of operations is explained in there.

Maybe the thermostat is messing up. Maybe the controls are wired wrong. Maybe it's something else

Since it's new, the warranty likely covers parts and labor. Get on the manufacturers website, look up a manufacturer-certified local HVAC outfit, and call someone who knows what they're doing. Worst case, send the bill to your current incompetent people.

2/1/2019 1:15:22 PM

synapse
play so hard
57574 Posts
user info
edit post

I guess my questions weren't interesting enough for mildew to answer

[Edited on February 2, 2019 at 3:25 AM. Reason : Ok he did answer one ]

[Edited on February 2, 2019 at 3:27 AM. Reason : I have a good friend who works for the company you should have hired if you want me to hook u up with the good guys]

2/2/2019 3:24:14 AM

mildew
Drunk yet Orderly
14163 Posts
user info
edit post

Quote :
"So I'm assuming you're heating via a heat pump? Gas isn't available? Just one heat pump or multiple units? That's a big house...I wonder if you have enough capacity. Who makes the heat pump and what size/tons is it?

What was your average bill last winter? What's the average this winter?"


I shall address your inquisitions as best I can....
Yes, we have one electric heat pump and an air handler(?) where I assume the aux heat is derived from. We have natural gas, but not for water heater or home heating. It's a Lennox system. Not sure about the size. First winter in this house, but my last house was equivalent size and the bill would be about ~200-280 at most (in summer with AC running, winter never came close to that high). We did have a gas water heater there, though.

Just for another real example right now, it's a 60+ degree day today and the aux heat is running, outside unit isn't doing ANYTHING after checking on it frequently.

2/4/2019 11:16:12 AM

darkone
(\/) (;,,,;) (\/)
11242 Posts
user info
edit post

Quote :
"aux heat is running, outside unit isn't doing ANYTHING after checking on it frequently"


This is normal behavior when aux heat is running. The electric heating elements are in the inside air-handler and it handles the indoor air circulation. The outside unit is only going to be doing something if the heat pump is doing something.

Go take and post a photo of the tag on the outside unit so that we can see the model number. You might just have straight electric heat. RIP your wallet if true.

2/5/2019 3:10:33 PM

robster
All American
3545 Posts
user info
edit post

On a 60 degree day, why is ANYTHING running ... open those damn windows and turn that thing off!! Seriously though, shouldnt run for more than a few minutes if its 60 degrees outside - unless your insulation is shit or you have a major blockage somewhere.

I run ~100/month in the winter (thanks to my awesome wood stove). Keeps the house 75 all night long for the price of a couple large dry logs (free with labor).

[Edited on February 5, 2019 at 4:12 PM. Reason : logs]

2/5/2019 4:10:47 PM

synapse
play so hard
57574 Posts
user info
edit post

Quote :
"We have natural gas, but not for water heater or home heating."


That seems odd to me. Big ass house, already have gas there, why not install a furnace?

Quote :
"but my last house was equivalent size and the bill would be about ~200-280 at most (in summer with AC running, winter never came close to that high)."


Single heat pump there, also no gas furnace?

Quote :
"This is normal behavior when aux heat is running. "


Really? Whenever the aux heating is running at my house the heat pump is also running. Don't think I've ever ever seen aux run without the heat pump.
[Edited on February 5, 2019 at 6:24 PM. Reason : i'm guessing a 5 ton heat pump]

2/5/2019 6:17:44 PM

darkone
(\/) (;,,,;) (\/)
11242 Posts
user info
edit post

You're not wrong about the Aux heat running with the heat pump. They'll both run if the set temp is a lot lower than the inside temp. There are other cases where either the heat pump only or electric heat only will run depending on the make and model and how they're configured. This is why mildew needs to tell us what equipment he has.

2/5/2019 11:20:30 PM

mildew
Drunk yet Orderly
14163 Posts
user info
edit post



2/6/2019 12:16:10 PM

darkone
(\/) (;,,,;) (\/)
11242 Posts
user info
edit post

Post the label for the outside unit too.

Electric heat only is an option with your air handler. Post of pic of the thermostat wiring too. If there is an orange wire connected (assuming color codes were followed), you're not electric heat only.

[Edited on February 6, 2019 at 1:47 PM. Reason : more info]

2/6/2019 1:41:22 PM

synapse
play so hard
57574 Posts
user info
edit post

aux heat should only run by itself if you're in "emergency heat" mode (which is usually triggered by an equipment freezing incident or otherwise an issue with the heat pump). outside of that the heat pump pump should be running with the aux heat.

2/6/2019 1:46:06 PM

darkone
(\/) (;,,,;) (\/)
11242 Posts
user info
edit post

^ The heat pump should run by itself without the Aux heat unless it can't keep up in which case it will also turn on the Aux heat.

I'm still wondering if they have him set up to use the heat pump for heat.

[Edited on February 6, 2019 at 1:51 PM. Reason : can't type]

2/6/2019 1:49:52 PM

synapse
play so hard
57574 Posts
user info
edit post

Quote :
"The heat pump should run by itself without the Aux heat unless it can't keep up in which case it will also turn on the Aux heat. "


Or if the set point is much higher than current temp (and it's colder out?)

But yeah, I was just talking about the conditions where the aux would run by itself. Ofc the heat pump should run alone in normal circumstances.

[Edited on February 6, 2019 at 2:45 PM. Reason : I'm still can't believe that the company has been out 6 times and can't identify any issues. 6 hours to maintain temperate when it's 50 outside? Crazy]

2/6/2019 2:44:47 PM

synapse
play so hard
57574 Posts
user info
edit post

Quote :
"I'm still wondering if they have him set up to use the heat pump for heat."


Re-reading his post, same here. If the damn heat pump isn't running you got issues.

2/6/2019 2:47:45 PM

Wickerman
All American
2388 Posts
user info
edit post

What is your electric rate? Did you sign up for any alternative providers that are charging you more than normal? Are you able to compare your kWh usage with your neighbors that have a similar house?

2/6/2019 4:45:51 PM

mildew
Drunk yet Orderly
14163 Posts
user info
edit post

Had an electrician out, No issues with overall house electric wiring or appliances drawing more amps then expected. He noticed the fan was running on HVAC constantly, and the heat wasnt, even though it was indicated on thermostat. Couldn't get downstairs heat to work at all. Upstairs would run ok, actually use the heat pump, when downstairs zone was off, but not with both on. He thinks something is wrong with wiring, thermostat, sensor, relays, or control board in the unit.

2/6/2019 6:23:52 PM

mildew
Drunk yet Orderly
14163 Posts
user info
edit post

Quote :
"What is your electric rate? Did you sign up for any alternative providers that are charging you more than normal? Are you able to compare your kWh usage with your neighbors that have a similar house?"


Nothing like that. We have Duke, we only moved a mile from our old house. Our neighbors are in 100 year old houses and are nowhere near our bill. Not sure of our rate off hand. Duke is actually coming out in 2 weeks to check the meter and do their energy savings assessment

2/6/2019 6:27:40 PM

mildew
Drunk yet Orderly
14163 Posts
user info
edit post

Outside unit

2/6/2019 6:32:09 PM

mildew
Drunk yet Orderly
14163 Posts
user info
edit post

Downstairs therm

2/6/2019 6:41:13 PM

A Tanzarian
drip drip boom
9698 Posts
user info
edit post

One of those wires is not like the others.

Someone else will have to say whether or not that's significant.

2/6/2019 9:30:37 PM

darkone
(\/) (;,,,;) (\/)
11242 Posts
user info
edit post

If you were to disconnect that white wire from the thermostat and set your heat to run, just the heat-pump should run (It should do that anyway). Make sure you set your thermostat is set to heat and not emergency heat. The E and Aux are bridged, but I think that's ok. They both trigger the electric heat.

Run through the system setup on page 8 of the thermostat manual. Make sure it's set for heat pump on Aux heat and electric heat on emergency heat.

I noted that you seem to have a zoning kit. That makes all of your controls way more complex.

If the heat pump won't run by itself, you have a problem and need it addressed.


The label on the air handler says no heater is installed, but you can add the heat strips as supplementary kits so that doesn't mean there aren't electric heat strips in there. What's the breaker size? I would expect 30Amps or more.

I'd call someone. It's worth $100 for piece of mind I would things. Make sure whoever you call knows about the zoning kit.


For your reference:
https://resources.lennox.com/fileuploads/Lennox_CBX25_IOM.pdf
https://resources.lennox.com/fileuploads/b4c96de6-3b85-45dd-9083-6867b08cd43fLennox_14HPX_IOM.pdf
https://customer.resideo.com/resources/techlit/TechLitDocuments/33-00000s/33-00141ES.pdf

2/7/2019 11:03:47 AM

synapse
play so hard
57574 Posts
user info
edit post

any updates?

2/12/2019 10:59:51 AM

mildew
Drunk yet Orderly
14163 Posts
user info
edit post

HVAC company has cancelled twice now, trying to get them out this week.

Had Duke energy out, we have been using the equivalent of a 5,000+ sqft house according to them. They did the basic house assessment (It's free and I recommend everyone do it - they basically walk around with a heat camera and inspect insulated areas) and their recommendation is to have HVAC re-evaluated (SHOCKER!). The Duke guy did say he can't believe we didn't go for a natural gas heater - but we weren't given the option, most builders do electric bc it is cheaper install.

2/13/2019 10:11:09 AM

synapse
play so hard
57574 Posts
user info
edit post

Quote :
"The Duke guy did say he can't believe we didn't go for a natural gas heater"


Same. Too bad it wasn't available.

2/13/2019 10:58:38 AM

dtownral
All American
25205 Posts
user info
edit post

^^ the same HVAC company that installed, or another company?

stop fucking with the company that installed this, get someone else to look at it

2/14/2019 9:09:09 AM

rjrumfel
All American
21434 Posts
user info
edit post

Mind sharing who you're hvac company is? I'm in so. wake too, I don't want to call out incompetence if Ellis isn't ever available.

2/14/2019 11:26:55 AM

synapse
play so hard
57574 Posts
user info
edit post

^^ think he's still screwing with the same one.

i advised him to do the same as you.

[Edited on February 14, 2019 at 12:46 PM. Reason : they've been out like 5 times and cant fix. not they're cancelling on you repeatedly. can't even show up when they say they will]

2/14/2019 12:45:30 PM

synapse
play so hard
57574 Posts
user info
edit post

Updates?

2/18/2019 10:49:49 PM

mildew
Drunk yet Orderly
14163 Posts
user info
edit post

They installed Nest thermostats to track usage, they now believe it was something with original thermostats and zoning. Now, we wait again. I did notice it seems to be running without using aux heat now. The outside unit spins up much more frequently.

I don't want to call them out, yet... I have tried another company which won't come out since it's under warranty.

2/19/2019 10:16:39 AM

dtownral
All American
25205 Posts
user info
edit post

you need to not say anything about warranty to the other company

2/19/2019 10:56:34 AM

darkone
(\/) (;,,,;) (\/)
11242 Posts
user info
edit post

But the warranty will pay the other company? It doesn't matter who does the work so long as they're licensed. (Assuming a hardware problem and not an installer error.)

Quote :
"they now believe it was something with original thermostats and zoning"


No surprise. You really have to know what you're doing to set up a zoning kit correctly. Here's hoping they actually designed it right. They'll waste a ton of energy if done wrong.

Since it's running without Aux heat with the new thermostats, I'm betting they had the controls fucked up.

It's also an indictment on the industry that installing Nest thermostats is the cheapest way to do data logging.

2/19/2019 1:21:56 PM

synapse
play so hard
57574 Posts
user info
edit post

Quote :
"I have tried another company which won't come out since it's under warranty."


My guy at Allen Kelly said that?

Even if it seems to be working right now I'd still get another company to look at it. They came out that many times and serious problems remained. Even if the presenting issue is resolved, there could be more issues that aren't as obvious.

2/19/2019 1:51:22 PM

dtownral
All American
25205 Posts
user info
edit post

Quote :
"But the warranty will pay the other company?"

he would be out of pocket for their investigation time, but that would pay for itself if they find a problem the original company can't and it cuts his energy bill.

but that's the reason the other company didn't want to mess with it, they know they aren't getting any work out of it. don't say anything about the warranty just say pay for the troubleshooting.

2/19/2019 3:06:26 PM

darkone
(\/) (;,,,;) (\/)
11242 Posts
user info
edit post

The warranty will cover parts and labor. If there's a hardware problem, the manufacturer takes care of everything.

If it's an installation problem (which would include shenanigans with the zoning kit) then the warranty doesn't apply. I'd take that bill to the original people and make them eat it.


Fun aside, I made a warranty claim when I replaced the gas valve in my own HVAC system myself. I actually made money on that deal since they covered the part and my labor.

2/19/2019 3:23:38 PM

mildew
Drunk yet Orderly
14163 Posts
user info
edit post

For anyone still interested.... Had 7 hours yesterday were both Nests indicated heat was running (set to hold 71 degrees on each) but the actual temp never got above 67 - the heat pump was not running during any of this nor were the heating coils. "Heat" was actually just the fan blowing cool air for 7 hours.

I tried turning the breaker off and on to see if we could get anything by resetting it (it was pretty cold in kid's rooms at bed time and I was desperate) - after a few minutes post-reset everything worked as expected.

The HVAC guy was actually monitoring it during that time and today they have now promised to replace the entire unit.... We are trying to push for a gas heater.


Quote :
"My guy at Allen Kelly said that?"

I had actually spoken to two other HVAC companies before this really got out of hand and both said that on a new home less than a year old - they wouldn't come out since it was done by another installer and under their warranty. I may try to get my builder to hire a diff company if we decide to do a gas furnace - and try to get money back from this current company to help with the cost.

[Edited on February 22, 2019 at 12:51 PM. Reason : off and on]

2/22/2019 12:50:30 PM

synapse
play so hard
57574 Posts
user info
edit post

Yeah I would definitely push for a different company.

3/22/2019 2:09:37 PM

dtownral
All American
25205 Posts
user info
edit post

Quote :
"I had actually spoken to two other HVAC companies before this really got out of hand and both said that on a new home less than a year old - they wouldn't come out since it was done by another installer and under their warranty. "

stop telling them anything about the warranty, if they don't do anything less than a year old say it's 2 years old

(if you don't get the builder to have another contractor replace)

[Edited on March 22, 2019 at 3:54 PM. Reason : .]

3/22/2019 3:52:50 PM

synapse
play so hard
57574 Posts
user info
edit post

news?

4/8/2019 6:04:54 PM

 Message Boards » Tech Talk » Monitoring electric use by appliance -also HVAC Qs Page [1] 2, Next  
go to top | |
Admin Options : move topic | lock topic

© 2019 by The Wolf Web - All Rights Reserved.
The material located at this site is not endorsed, sponsored or provided by or on behalf of North Carolina State University.
Powered by CrazyWeb v2.37 - our disclaimer.