Electric Bills and Air Conditioning – ChaChing!

Don’t know about the rest of you, but we just got the lovely first of our “high” bills for running the AC in this Texas heat…although I know the rest of the country is experiencing some record temps, but this doesn’t just apply to AC, it also applies to your heat in the winter.

The longest day of the year is officially behind us…June 21st, so now the days will be getting shorter…but that also means the “dog days” of summer have arrived!

Of course when it is hot outside and you come in, you want to just crank that AC down…but think cha ching, cha ching…because the more your AC has to work to cool down your house, the more you pay!  Think of it this way, the bigger difference between the actual outdoor temp and the temp on your thermostat, the more your AC has to work…so the bigger the difference, the more time your AC has to run!  With every degree you turn your AC UP, you close the gap and put more money in your pocket for that trip…new car…paying off debt…college tuition…whatever it maybe!

The DOE – Department of Energy – they’ve recently started to become a hated department in the construction industry, but more on that later – says that 78 is a good setting.  Well – this is one time I agree with them – if you’re sitting there watching TV, with a ceiling fan running!  Ha!  Actually, I am very comfortable with it set at that temp with no ceiling fan, but my husband gets very hot.  However, I have to admit, if I’m cooking, have the oven going and am running around – I’m very hot.  And, 78 to us is not a good sleeping temp!  So…this is just what they suggest.  I know some folks keep it at 80 and are comfortable.  But hey – it is your house and your pocketbook, I’m just giving the advice!

Installing a digital programmable thermostat will also help – this way you won’t forget to turn it up or down – especially if you’re at work.  Why are you going to cool your home when you’re gone 8-10 hours a day?  Many of you probably have multiple AC units – we have 3 and they’re all on programmable thermostats.  2 are off when the other is running – we pretty much only have 1 running at a time because the house was zoned accordingly – keep that in mind when you’re remodeling or when it is time to upgrade your units as well…or heaven forbid…if one breaks and you need to replace it!

And of course…maintenance!  Check your outdoor condensing unit and make sure the coils are clean and have good air flow.  If you aren’t going to do it, have it services and cleaned once a year.  PLEASE make sure you change the filters inside your house as well – many forget to do that simple task as well!  If your coils do look dirty – just turn the power off to the unit and attempt to wash the coils off with a garden hose and pressure nozzle.  If you can get it clean, call a professional.

If all else fails, schedule a trip to someplace where you know for sure it is cooler…aren’t they having winter in Australia when we’re having our summer?!

Robin Burrill

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