How much electricity do residential oil/propane heating systems draw?
I am on the energy committee in my town. (It's a volunteer committee that reports to the town government, promoting energy goodness to the municipality and residents.) Our committee recently was contacted by a resident in a rental home with a question about a mysterious spike in electric use.
The renter's electric use jumped "from 726 kWh in November to a peak of 2,314 kWh in January" (an increase of 1,588 kWh). The December usage was middling between those figures. As the house relies on oil or propane (I'm not sure which) for heating, this was surprising to the renter. Her though was that something funny was happening unrelated to the heating system.
I am vastly ignorant on the intricacies of heating systems. However, I know enough to know that even a combustion boiler or furnace requires electricity to run fuel pumps, and hydronic pumps or duct blowers, etc. When I do back-of-the-envelope math, I get the following:
1,588 mysterious kWh...
744 hours in January...
Then 1,588 kWh / 744 hours = 2.13 kWh/hour
It seems plausible to me that an oil or propane heating system could draw that amount of electricity while running in cold weather, especially for a house that has "tons of windows and we've had trouble getting some of them to close with a tight seal."
However, Google searching has left me empty handed on how much electricity non-electric heating systems draw. So here I am at this Q&A... am I on the right track, or at least a plausible track?
Posted Wed, 03/26/2014 - 10:07
Other Questions in Mechanicals