Question About Central Air Conditioning

Discussion in 'Energy & Fuel' started by Chrissy Cross, Jul 15, 2016.

  1. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    I just got my PG&E bill and I was shocked. Last month it was $55 because I wasn't home for the whole month which is pretty much my pattern. But this past month I was home the whole month and it was a hot one, 100+ temps almost every day.

    This months bill was almost $200! Yikes.

    My question is which is better, closing vents in rooms I don't use or leaving them open or it doesn't make any
    Difference.

    I have 3 bedrooms closed that I never use and also one bathroom. In my 2,000 sq ft house I use about 3 rooms.

    Which way would be more cost effective?
     
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  2. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    @Chrissy Page Close off the vents to all rooms not in use, this places "insulation" from heat transfer between the outside and the inside being used by yourself. Don't expect miracles, as doors and vents bleed lots of air around them. Make sure your doors to the outside seal fairly well. Set your thermostat lower OVERNIGHT, to take down the interior temperature when less "cool" is being lost to the outside, then raise it up to allow A/C to come on until as late in the daylight time as possible.

    The bigger the "heat island" space you can build around your "living space", the less heat will be lost from it. Try it. Let us know over a month or two, how it "pans out!

    Frank
     
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  3. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    Thanks Frank, I've been doing the opposite. Having the air on all day then barely having it on at night.

    Hopefully this will help.....you should know since you're even hotter than I am in Fresno.

    This will also have been my worst month since I was home for all of it. I know I'll be gone a little in Aug. But after that I'm only home about two weeks each month til January.

    What a shock it was though, I haven't seen a bill that high since my ex lived here and that was 8 yrs ago and he paid the bills.
     
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  4. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    At times like this, I can't help myself. I may have to go up to the camp on Monday (St. Agatha), as it will be sweltering here in Millinocket.

    weather-071616.jpg
     
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  5. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    Ha ha, I'll remember this in the winter and post my temps then when I save money because I barely have to heat.

    Or all I need is a sweater in the afternoon to go outside. :)
     
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  6. Kitty Carmel

    Kitty Carmel Well-Known Member
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    200 really isn't that bad for a large house. I'm guessing anyway. my last bill was about $55.00. One bedroom apartment, upstairs but no afternoon sun. I keep the AC on 81 day and night and all the time when I'm not home for the cats also.

    When I owned a 1100 square foot house I don't think I ever went over 70 or so. My highest was 140 in the winter. I remember during a particular heat wave I heard the two jerks outside bragging about their electric bills in the 3 and 4 hundreds. With their pools, hot tubs and probably low AC. I think my bill was in the 70 dollar range. I kept the AC on 84 during that wave.

    Is your AC on when not home?
     
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  7. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    @Kitty Carmel
    "Is your AC on when not home?"

    No. As little electrical equipment is left on as possible. Electrical fires are especially common in "Manufactured Homes", especially older ones, having Aluminum wiring. Aluminum is OK, if installed correctly. That requires use of an anti-oxidant coating applied to every aluminum wire connection.

    Incidentally, virtually every single one of "Service Entrance" overhead wiring bringing electrical power to homes, is composed of all-Aluminum conductors!
    Frank
     
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  8. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    @Kitty Carmel , no my AC isn't on when I'm not home. 81 is too hot for me. I keep it about 78 and sometimes if it's 108 outside I'll lower it even more. I've had a few bills as low as $25 but I was gone most of the month and I always get a very good report from PG&E every month, they think I'm very energy conscious and efficient but the truth is I'm not home. :)

    I guess I'm just shocked because I never had a bill that high and the reason being I travel a lot and this was a whole month at home and since my bills are always so low I wasn't really being careful.

    @Frank Sanoica , I'm OCD about unplugging everything when I leave the house for a trip. I would have some arguments with my ex because he didn't think I had to unplug the toaster and coffee maker....I even unplug the TV.

    I don't know what kind of wiring I have but my home is about 15 years old.
     
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  9. Kitty Carmel

    Kitty Carmel Well-Known Member
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    Frank, do you live in a manufactured home? I'm looking to buy one but I want a newer one.

    I unplug the microwave when not in use. I unplug table lamps because my cats can chew on them. I have to leave the modem on for the phone and I leave the TV plugged in.

    Chrissy Page, 78 isn't that low for AC. Some people crank it lower than that.
     
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  10. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    I know and I have been lately, wasn't being careful. I think 78 is what is suggested by PG&E but I could be wrong.
     
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  11. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    I do, 2002 model. Around here, they are "pit-set", which means a concrete block wall is built completely around the perimeter, the floor of the building being only an inch or two above the grade of the ground. So, the stuff on which it sits is in a 3 foot deep hole surrounded by a 3 foot high wall of block. No "skirting", no steps, no vermin beneath it. I swore all my life I would never live in one, yet here we are!

    Cats certainly could chew lampcords, receive a shock at best, short the two wires together at worst, sparks ignite carpet........

    Unplugging the microwave is going a bit farther than I would, the clock setting is lost each time. Our "kitchen clock" is two microwaves at either end of the room.

    Frank
     
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  12. Kitty Carmel

    Kitty Carmel Well-Known Member
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    2002 is certainly newer.

    I hope I find something. Should have bought a condo back on the 90s when I didn't think I could afford one but looking back, could have. Condo prices are expensive here since there are not a lot and that keeps the prices up.

    My biggest fear is ending up in a low income apartment. I have two cats and there are often pet restrictions. I have a good agent, something should come up. But like your place, it needs to be newer. Good insulation or heat and AC bills will be too high.

    I can't keep working full time like I am for too much longer.
     
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  13. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    "Good insulation or heat and AC bills will be too high."

    @Kitty Carmel I can offer this: Look carefully at the prospective home with regard to it's outer wall thickness. You can easily do this at the front door, estimating the thickness from the outside of the wall to the inside wall. If it appears to be as thick as the width of the average hardback book, about 7 or eight inches, then the outer walls are built with 2X6 construction instead of 2X4s. I cannot imagine a builder using 2X6s without use of 6-inch thick insulation.

    I confirmed the value of 2X6 construction only after we bought our home: I cut a hole through our bedroom wall to mount an evaporative cooler outdoors, to blow the air in and through the house. The walls have 2X6 construction and 6" thick "batts" of fiberglass insulation. Our heating and cooling bills have been rewardingly low, lower than any home we've had thus far. Our house is 1800 square feet. Size will also dictate amount of energy use.

    Even though I got rid of the Propane source for the furnace, water heater, and kitchen stove, converting all three to electric operation, our monthly bill has never exceeded $100, averaging maybe $40 to $50 a month. Gratifying is a good word for it, a good feeling making the toil, mess, and expense of becoming "all-electric" well worth it.

    Be aware, only the outer walls will be thick with 2X6 construction. All inside walls will be flimsily thin, but that's OK, we don't bump into them very often!
    Frank
     
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  14. Kitty Carmel

    Kitty Carmel Well-Known Member
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    Thanks Frank. The home my parents bought had the six inch walls. It was insulated as well as a house. I don't think the newer single wide my step dad bought is six inch but it's well insulated and he's been happy with it. It's a 2001. Unfortunately newer homes for sale in this area are not super common. I'll have an inspection done of coarse. I just have to wait for the right place to go on the market. I have a good agent.
     
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  15. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
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    I had the same question about the vents. Closing the ones in the unused room doesn't seem to have helped much here. This house must have no insulation, because I've had bills close to that every summer, and every year I keep the thermostat higher than the last, in an attempt to keep the costs down. Since there are 2 floors here, I can hang downstairs when it's hotter, and up here when it's colder, and that helps somewhat. Good to know about the manufactured homes. I've considered modular in the past. Not sure what I'll end up with, but hopefully it will be better than this one.
     
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  16. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    I only have one floor but I keep the house dark and never turn on my oven. Also ceiling fans help.

    The best solution was going to my daughter's a lot. Save on everything when I'm gone. :)

    Had I not had so many medical tests this month I would have gone. Nits about 25-30 degrees cooler there also since it's on the coast.
     
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  17. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
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    I'm on the coast here, but since it's the Texas Gulf Coast, it's still pretty hot, although there are certainly inland portions of Texas that are much hotter. I couldn't handle that. Even being by a lake helps with cooling the temperatures off, and I will hopefully always live somewhat near water. I'm sure the bills are much lower when you're not there, that's a good way to keep the bills down and also spend time with your family. Hopefully next month, you'll be able to get away and relax.
     
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  18. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    I'm planning on it. Then in Sept I'm going for a month to Illinois to visit son. I guess I shouldn't gripe about this months bill because the rest of the year is always low. Usually around $50.
     
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  19. Kitty Carmel

    Kitty Carmel Well-Known Member
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    I don't use my oven in the summer either. I guess I got this from my mother who didn't.

    By the time it's cold enough to use the oven, I'm dying for pizza and baked potato.
     
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