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I need to use ^more^ electricity

AndyVt | Posted in General Questions on

Hi. I’d like some advice or suggestions. I’m in the lucky position of having to use more electricity. I have a solar pv tracker that generates about 5500 kwh/yr and I live in Vt where I cannot accumulate electricity $ credit for more than a year. My house is a New England Cape and I’ve done some energy conservation and efficiency measures during the last 15 years. I currently use about 4400 kwh/year and I hope to reduce that number over the next year. I already have an electric oven, stovetop and dryer. My oil boiler system (Energy Kinetics) is less than 20 years old and in great condition. My domestic hot water is indirect off the boiler and is a 4-year old Superstor 45 gallon tank. I have a Subaru that is not in need of replacement.

So I am unsure of the best way to reduce my oil or gasoline use and use more electricity. I’ve thought about buying a 110-volt stand-alone electric heater and running it somewhere in the house. I’ve thought about replacing my dhw system with a heat pump hot water heater, but I’m not convinced it will be more efficient during winter months when the boiler is running anyway to heat the home; and I don’t feel right trashing a perfectly good Superstor that has many useful years left.

I am thinking most strongly about a Nyle Geyser RO add-on hot water heat pump that is designed to heat the water in my existing tank, and if demand exceeds the heating capacity of the Nyle, then the oil would kick in as a backup.

I am wondering if anyone has experience with the Nyle and/or other ideas. I have read Marc Rosenbaum’s posts from a few years ago about the Nyle, and I know he wasn’t that pleased with it, but I think the units have gotten better since then. Thanks for any advice or wisdom. AndyVt

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  1. AlanB4 | | #1

    You could offer free Tesla charging

    I wonder if you could somehow sell some carbon offset credits

    If your using gas or oil heating you could use a space heater in measured amounts in winter to offset some of the fossil fuel heating since you have the surplus.

  2. wisjim | | #2

    We have been in a similar situation (in Western Wisconsin) and a year and a half ago we bought a low mileage used Nissan Leaf electric car. It increased our annual electric bill by about $11 or so, due to a very overcast December last year, but the Leaf saves us about $50 to $75 a month in avoided fuel costs. We heat with wood and are installing a mini-split heat pump system to provide house heat in the "shoulder" months and use more of our surplus energy. If we aren't producing enough electricity for the heat pumps we will install another couple of kilowatts of PVs (that we bought and haven't installed yet anyway).

  3. prairieburner | | #3

    Run your computer 24/7 donating your idle CPU time with things like seti@home or folding@home. There is a ton of other academic need for idle CPU time a quick Google search will help you find.

    I guess you can also sell your idle CPU time:

  4. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #4

    Another vote for inexpensive electric-resistance space heaters.

  5. AndyVt | | #5

    Thanks for all the great suggestions. Electric-resistance space heaters are certainly the lowest tech and lowest cost method to reduce oil (and wood) consumption and use more electricity. And they are 99.9% efficient.

    So no one has used the Nyle Geyser?

  6. charlie_sullivan | | #6

    Congratulations on being at that point!

    Four strategies are:
    1) Replace your least efficient oil use...which is probably summer hot water heating (or a car).
    2) Do something that uses electricity very efficiently--which probably means a mini-split for shoulder-season heating, or a heat-pump water heater.
    3) Do something with a low investment, which means electric space heaters (and not an electric car).
    4) Don't change anything, but just enjoy the bragging rights you get from having more electricity than you can use.

    I kind of like the idea of trying to hit items 1) and 2) with a heat pump water heater used at least in summer, and extending longer if you have kW-hours to spare. The add-on Nyle heat pump would allow you to continue using oil for hot water in the winter...but you could also get a tank-based heat pump water heater and keep the tank you have, with one or the other valved off during the season you use the other. Some barely cost any more than the Nyle, so I'm not sure there's enough incentive to try the Nyle.

  7. Expert Member
    Dana Dorsett | | #7

    How much oil do you use per year?

    The heat pump water heater might not push you over the 5500 kwh mark, but it's a good start.

    On it's own merits, a single 3/4 ton or 1-ton cold climate mini-split would pay for itself in short years in reduced oil use at VT type electricity pricing (even at this year's lower oil prices.) Resistance heaters would eat up the excess production (and more!) pretty quickly, but the return on investment of a mini-split is still pretty good against 87% efficiency oil.

    Binge watching Korean soaps on NetFlix with a big-TV would be a more ENTERTAINING way to add some resistance heating, but it may not be the healthiest way to deal with it. :-)

  8. user-3368124 | | #8

    I would suggest a Hot Tub ... a waste of electricity and very enjoyable - win / win ... we have similar excess pv.and the hot tub .....

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