Monday, August 07, 2017

Mystery Bill

It has been very cold in Melbourne this winter. We expected a horror electric bill, but we were pleasantly surprised. Electricity prices vary from company to company and state to state but I don't think our service charge and charge per kilowatt is bad, no matter how some parts of government and media try to frighten us into thinking the price of electricity has skyrocketed. I remember us having electric bills of $600 for the winter quarter here.


Last year we used 29.41 kw of electric each day for the same billing period. For this very cold winter, we have used 18.91 kw each day. How can that be? The aircon heating has been working hard to warm us and everything else has been normal. Well, not quite. This year we were away for two weeks of the billing period, so that would account for what? 92 days as against 78 days. I don't know. One of you smart people can do the sums but I don't think that would account for that much of the difference.

The other difference is, remember how the element in our aircon drip tray broke down and I disconnected the wire. It is like an old fashioned kettle element and at times I often thought it was working when it did not need to.

I have been bailing out the tray. This is so dependant on humidity. Two weeks went by and the tray dried out. Then I had to bail out about five litres of water. It dried up again and then we had some decent rain last week, and shock horror, the tray filled with water nearly to overflowing. I took out close to twenty litres of water, about five gallons. Yet it rained today a little but the tray is pretty well dry.

I think the element in the tray is 2400 watts and it not working has saved us quite a bit of electricity consumption. The element must have cracked and it has now completely broken through. The tray and element is nearly fifteen years old and so did serve us well, but perhaps rather expensively. I would like a system that I could turn on or off with a switch to steam away the water. But at this stage, I will just bail water as required but I am not sure how it will go in summer. I think the aircon generates quite a bit of water when it is humid, but then it does evaporate away much more quickly too.

18 comments:

  1. Andrew be happy that bill is not too high. Summer in Europe is also very strange very cold and very hot. And according to scientists we are going to expect early autumn and winter. I hope it is not true ..

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    1. Gosia, people here feel we are about to have a very dry summer.

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  2. I hope now that the unit is replaced and no more coolant leaks, I'll have cheaper electric, winter and summer, but I'm glad I don't have to empty the water tray like I have done on swamp coolers and with portable AC units, because sometimes I forget.

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    1. Strayer, I had to Google swamp coolers. We call them evaporative coolers and many homes have them built in but as I am sure you know, they are useless in humidity.

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  3. Our winter has been on the weird side. Quite a lot of it was warmer than usual - with some bitterly cold patches. NOT looking forward to the electricity bill. It is amazing how much an inefficient/broken piece of equiptment can consume isn't it?

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    1. EC, yes, very inefficient. We could have one with just an on off switch and turn it on when they tray gets too full. Our winter has been cold and bloody cold.

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  4. I hear you! Use no heating other than an electric blanket on the bed, timed for 10 minutes before you get in at night. And one heater in the family-room-kitchen where you spend most of your waking hours.

    Electricity companies seem to be making mega-profits from working families who cannot afford it. Is gas heating/cooking/hot water any cheaper?

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    1. Hels, the aircon heating warms our apartment nicely and as you can see, it is not that expensive to run. It is the cheapest form of heating, cheaper than gas. Many who complain I think have huge houses, poorly oriented and heat them with gas ducted heating.

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  5. We heat ourselves with wood here in the Winter, even so we have quite big electricity bills.

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    1. Only wood Cro? You have central heating and it is wood fired?

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    2. Just wood fires, plus a little back-up from Electric oil filled radiators; we're rustic folk hereabouts!

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  6. Can you replace the electric drip try heater with an electric pump, and a hose running outside or to a sink?

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    1. Marcus, there is just nowhere for the water to go without just letting it run down the side of the building, and that would not be acceptable. I haven't seen one, but where the air was included with the apartment, it is central air con through ducts and I believe those units do have a pump but these have proved to be unreliable and I still can't imagine where the water goes.

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  7. Hope you can get the new system you want.
    I wonder if your new door helped....
    Have a great one, Andrew.

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    1. Sandra, no, the fixed up door was only done a week or so before the end of the billing period.

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  8. Our air conditioning is the same Andrew, in summer. We don't use it in winter preferring the gas fire, which is pretty reasonable too. There aren't too many days we need it, winter is pretty mild in Perth. It's always nice to get a bill that's not as high as expected, doesn't happen often ☺

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    1. And Grace, what with your beanie to keep your head warm, you must almost need no heating at all.

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  9. This is so true Andrew 😀

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