Saturday, July 28, 2007

The HVAC verdict is in

Last summer we were running a window units only as we occupied the rooms and we were still sweating our asses off, and our electric bills were running over $200 for that privilege. The past six weeks or so we've run the AC a LOT, have never felt uncomfortable, we're cooling the whole house, and we just got a bill for $140, and our utility costs have certainly not gone down. Needless to say, we love our new central air. We do take advantage of the zoning, keeping the upper floors set a lot higher during the day and the first floor set higher at night (generally 77-78 on the floor we're using, 80-82 on the floor we're not), but there have also been days that I've been working on the house when I cranked that puppy down as far as 72 since frankly I'm a big fan of maximizing comfort as I'm busting my ass scraping floors or hauling boxes. We also turn the AC off on nights where it's actually cooling off, as long as the humidity isn't staying at 80-90% as it too often does around here. I'm just not a big fan of sleeping on sheets that feel like they're freshly out of the washer.

I must admit that I've been a little worried, having heard from a lot of folks who are having electric bills of $300-400, but this is our first bill where we've run the AC a LOT and it was totally doable. And we were COMFORTABLE. My allergies have been not giving me nearly the level of trouble as they usually do (though I did get a sinus infection that I finally kicked just before I managed to get food poisoning earlier this week - don't ask), thanks to the mega-filtration system we ordered. And did I mention that we were actually comfortable?!?

Oh, and I'll say another good word about our HVAC contractors. The downstairs system just wasn't cooling off as well as we thought it should, we called them 8:30am, they were here 10am, had it fixed by 10:30 (one of the coolant lines wasn't quite tightened down as much as it should have been).

There haven't been a lot of other updates because honestly there's been a lot of things going on that have prevented us from doing much of anything on the house. Hell, I haven't even had the time or emotional/mental energy to keep up with things I love to read about, like other folks' houseblogs. I did get the attic mostly organized in a fit of energy and exasperation one day, and had hoped to tackle the garage this week if my GI system hadn't lost that fight with a leftover bean burrito that got left in the car a wee bit too long.... (as I sit here sipping sweetened mint tea, my system not yet tolerant of much of anything else). But the dining room floor? Feh. It'll get done when it gets done. At this point I'd give my left arm to hire someone to finish it for us, but unfortunately that's probably what I'd have to do (that or sell a kidney or something) since the money certainly can't come from anywhere else, as we've been hit with some unexpected significant expenses with more on the horizon.

So... life in Georgetown goes on. Not much, but we're here, we're alive, we're doing pretty decently. I guess that's enough to be thankful for, eh?


Old House Gazette said...


We've been seeing the same thing. Last summer I was using 2 window units - one in the living room, one in my bedroom. $200+ was an average electric bill. Now with the shiny new Rheem AC running pretty much every day, we've had 2 electric bills of around $110.

This is also with an electric water heater that I've forgotten to put back on its on-off schedule. I disabled the timer while Sian's dad was here. With 4 people showering at odd times, it was more trouble than benefit.

Gotta love having the house at a nice constant 73°, eh?

Georgetown House said...

OHG, ours is most often on a nice constant 77-78 with fans, but I think a part of why that's so comfy to us is that our system is designed to keep the humidity low even without cranking the temps super low as was required in the last house where we had central AC.

I'd be interested in reading about the benefits of an on-off schedule for HWH. We only have 2 people here most of the time, and our showers are at pretty predictable times so that might be a benefit. It's fairly new but when it finally goes we're going to consider going for an on-demand system.