Here’s a graph of the power needed to raise the temperature in my home from 68F to 69F that was part of an experiment just prior to the heating season for 2011. Notice the second stage kick in? It also too half an hour to accomplish the feat! It’s early October and the temperatures in the mornings are only dipping down to the low forties. So for now, I can get along with very limited use, but come November I’ll have that baby cranking pretty much full time!
Last winter, I had the thermostat set at 69F and was able to live with that as long as I had a couple of space heaters going in key rooms. The wintertime is by far the most expensive season in terms of electricity used. Here is a list of the power used lat season starting with November:
Nov 2010 1734
Dec 2010 2282
Jan 2011 2049
Feb 2011 1359
Believe it or not this was much better than the season before by about 15%. I think the reason for this is that heat pumps become less efficient as the outside temperatures get much below 32F. More and more often then the ‘auxiliary’ or ‘emergency’ heat kicks on which are a set of heating coils in the furnace itself. This form of heat is much less efficient and can really racks up the energy cost. However, if you are selectively heating some rooms with portable space heaters, you are helping to actually reduce your overall heating bill. That’s my theory anyway.
This year, some weather watchers are forecasting colder than normal temperatures. If that happens, I will be able to see how well I do.