Lights plus heat = big power bill hike!

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Lights plus heat = big power bill hike!

Postby DragonPete » Sat Jan 18, 2020 3:28 pm

Someone help me out here. I've been meaning to ask but forgot and not sure where to post this.
When I first got Petey, I moved my house thermostat to 68F from 66F, fearing it might be too chilly. I didn't have a timer yet and his lights were on more than off. After a month, my power bill jumped up $40!
I have since got him on 12/12 timer and pushed the heater back to 66F. Hoping it will come down a little.
Does anyone know of specific types/brands of basking lights and uvb tubes that are more cost efficient?

Thanks!
-Dee
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Re: Lights plus heat = big power bill hike!

Postby claudiusx » Sat Jan 18, 2020 3:48 pm

Hi Dee,

It will be easy to calculate. What is the wattage of the basking bulb you use, the uvb bulb, and the CHE if you use one?

More than likely, you are noticing the effect of increasing your house heater 2 degrees.

Across the US, the Average cost per kWh is 12c per kWh. So lets just say for easy math, your basking bulb is 75w and your uvb is 25w. You are using 100w right there. If you run those lights for 12 hours a day, you are using 1.2kW. So, you are spending 14 cents a day on Peteys lights. Or, less than 5 dollars a month :)

But of course, for more accurate measurement, you can look at what you actually pay your electric company per kWh, and find exactly how much wattage peteys setup takes.

-Brandon
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Re: Lights plus heat = big power bill hike!

Postby DragonPete » Sat Jan 18, 2020 4:11 pm

claudiusx wrote:Hi Dee,

It will be easy to calculate. What is the wattage of the basking bulb you use, the uvb bulb, and the CHE if you use one?

More than likely, you are noticing the effect of increasing your house heater 2 degrees.

Across the US, the Average cost per kWh is 12c per kWh. So lets just say for easy math, your basking bulb is 75w and your uvb is 25w. You are using 100w right there. If you run those lights for 12 hours a day, you are using 1.2kW. So, you are spending 14 cents a day on Peteys lights. Or, less than 5 dollars a month :)

But of course, for more accurate measurement, you can look at what you actually pay your electric company per kWh, and find exactly how much wattage peteys setup takes.

-Brandon

I figured at least 2/3 of the increase would be the HVAC. It hasn't even been cold here yet, some cold nights but usually sunny so heat rarely kicks on during daytime. I'll have to check the basking bulb again. I think it's 75watt. I know the uvb tube uses like zero electricity. I was floored when I saw the latest bill! If it doesn't drop closer to normal next month, may call power co. Just had something added to meter also. Something that helps cycling in the summer when the power grid is under pressure, plus a new smart meter.
I just wondered if there was a certain type or brand known to be less power sucking. 😆
Thanks Brandon! Where would I be without you?! LOL!
-Dee
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Re: Lights plus heat = big power bill hike!

Postby JumpinJellyfish » Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:49 am

FWIW, I'm about to try attaching (with velcro, so I can take it off when it's not needed) foam insulation board to the outside surfaces of Norbert's enclosure. At least the bottom and back, and probably the sides. Not front (obvs) or top. It's a 4x2x2 Zen Habitat, with the pvc panels, and I've been struggling with temps when it's cold out (and the lowest HVAC temp I use is 72 - Florida). The higher watt bulbs make the basking spot too hot but don't send enough warmth across the tank. If I remember after it's been up a while, I'll come back and let you know how it does. :0)
Never knew I could get so happy about poop, or so comfortable with bugs. :-D
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Re: Lights plus heat = big power bill hike!

Postby DragonPete » Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:55 am

JumpinJellyfish wrote:FWIW, I'm about to try attaching (with velcro, so I can take it off when it's not needed) foam insulation board to the outside surfaces of Norbert's enclosure. At least the bottom and back, and probably the sides. Not front (obvs) or top. It's a 4x2x2 Zen Habitat, with the pvc panels, and I've been struggling with temps when it's cold out (and the lowest HVAC temp I use is 72 - Florida). The higher watt bulbs make the basking spot too hot but don't send enough warmth across the tank. If I remember after it's been up a while, I'll come back and let you know how it does. :0)

I appreciate that. Will be paying the latest bill next week. Wonder how much difference moving HVAC back down to 66 will make. I was just flaborgasted at the $40 increase. Have never had that. At most, $30 when summer kicks in using a.c.. Summers are tough in NC.
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Re: Lights plus heat = big power bill hike!

Postby DragonPete » Tue Feb 04, 2020 11:31 am

Just an update. Current bill dropped $30 since I lowered the HVAC heat back to 66F. Can't believe what 2 degrees did to my bill. SMH
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Re: Lights plus heat = big power bill hike!

Postby MrSpectrum » Tue Feb 04, 2020 1:28 pm

DragonPete wrote:Just an update. Current bill dropped $30 since I lowered the HVAC heat back to 66F. Can't believe what 2 degrees did to my bill. SMH

I'm guessing electric heat? With that low an ambient, I'd definitely be thinking about insulating Pete's enclosure--back, sides, and top except where lights & ventilation are. It'll help keep him warmer with lower wattage basking bulb, and fewer on-cycles with CHE if you have one.
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Re: Lights plus heat = big power bill hike!

Postby MrSpectrum » Tue Feb 04, 2020 1:41 pm

JumpinJellyfish wrote:FWIW, I'm about to try attaching (with velcro, so I can take it off when it's not needed) foam insulation board to the outside surfaces of Norbert's enclosure. At least the bottom and back, and probably the sides. Not front (obvs) or top. It's a 4x2x2 Zen Habitat, with the pvc panels, and I've been struggling with temps when it's cold out (and the lowest HVAC temp I use is 72 - Florida). The higher watt bulbs make the basking spot too hot but don't send enough warmth across the tank. If I remember after it's been up a while, I'll come back and let you know how it does. :0)

Don't bother with the bottom; heat loss is negligible. Top obviously depends on whether we're talking about front opening or top opening, and the lighting & ventilation setups.

Another way to control temps is the angle of the basking lamp. The basking spot doesn't have to be directly beneath the basking lamp (like it does the UVB). Having it at an angle also allows better control of a range of basking temps. My guy likes to bask in the 90s except right after meals when he likes it in the low 100s. He can find both under an angled bulb.

It also helps with regulating the temps in the rest of the enclosure, along with an ultra-quiet muffin fan on a thermostat that draws out excessive heat. The whole 60x24x25 enclosure is heated by one 75 watt flood.
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Re: Lights plus heat = big power bill hike!

Postby DragonPete » Tue Feb 04, 2020 2:23 pm

MrSpectrum wrote:
DragonPete wrote:Just an update. Current bill dropped $30 since I lowered the HVAC heat back to 66F. Can't believe what 2 degrees did to my bill. SMH

I'm guessing electric heat? With that low an ambient, I'd definitely be thinking about insulating Pete's enclosure--back, sides, and top except where lights & ventilation are. It'll help keep him warmer with lower wattage basking bulb, and fewer on-cycles with CHE if you have one.


Yup all electric HVAC. I keep a heavy towel over half the top to help hold in some of the heat. He has a large hole steel mesh top. His hot side stays in the 90F range, basking spot 96F-98F, cool side at 70F-74F. The absolute lowest it will get in his tank would be 66F but I think he can deal with that. I could do some solid foam insulation around the back and sides I suppose but that would really limit his view. He likes checking things out. He watches me in the kitchen, watches the cats, very curious about the cats, especially the kitten that is the same color as him. Wonder what he thinks? He has never puffed up or BB at them but will follow them around the tank. He likes watching what's going on around him. 😃
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Re: Lights plus heat = big power bill hike!

Postby MrSpectrum » Tue Feb 04, 2020 2:40 pm

DragonPete wrote:....very curious about the cats, especially the kitten that is the same color as him. Wonder what he thinks?

He's probably thinking, "Dat's one messed up lizard!" :laughhard:
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Re: Lights plus heat = big power bill hike!

Postby DragonPete » Tue Feb 04, 2020 3:10 pm

MrSpectrum wrote:
DragonPete wrote:....very curious about the cats, especially the kitten that is the same color as him. Wonder what he thinks?

He's probably thinking, "Dat's one messed up lizard!" :laughhard:

LOL 😆 That's exactly what I was thinking! Or he's fallen in love with what he thinks is a VERY unique lady Dragon! 😆
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Re: Lights plus heat = big power bill hike!

Postby kingofnobbys » Tue Feb 04, 2020 9:36 pm

$40 per month increase …. not worth worrying about.
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : new rescues Cheakie (subadult M) Nov 2019, Gutzy (F) 27Sep19, Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
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Re: Lights plus heat = big power bill hike!

Postby DragonPete » Wed Feb 05, 2020 8:09 am

kingofnobbys wrote:$40 per month increase …. not worth worrying about.

On fixed income, $40 is a chunk I'd rather avoid. Not everyone can afford that. I have a strict budget I need to stick close to.
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Re: Lights plus heat = big power bill hike!

Postby kingofnobbys » Thu Feb 06, 2020 4:01 am

Take a squiz at this ( money saving thread ) : viewtopic.php?f=34&t=236332&p=1816614#p1816614

My advice , replace the mesh lid with a solid timber panel , you'll find you'll not need as strong a basking globe or as strong a CHE as you need now , and consequently the change will pay for itself in the first month or two depending on the local electricity tariffs in $/kWh.

Plus , you mention cats in the house, a mesh lid no deterrent to a determined cat who has decided it wants to get at the resident lizard. The solid timber lid will make your dragon a LOT SAFER and make it much more difficult for the cats to break into the tank through the lid.
Last edited by kingofnobbys on Thu Feb 06, 2020 9:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : new rescues Cheakie (subadult M) Nov 2019, Gutzy (F) 27Sep19, Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
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Re: Lights plus heat = big power bill hike!

Postby MrSpectrum » Thu Feb 06, 2020 6:36 am

kingofnobbys wrote:Take a squiz at this ( money saving thread ) : viewtopic.php?f=34&t=236332&p=1816614#p1816614

Well, that brought back some forty-mumble yr. old memories. :)

Good post, albeit perhaps a little technical for John/Jane Beardiekeeper.

The moral of the story hasn't changed--insulation pays for itself!
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