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~1250 ft2

1939

$129

reliant

for anyone with txu...when you switched did you bill go up? only reason i'm asking is that i've spoken with 3 customers who switched this yr and their bills are all rising.

Edited by musicman
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Wow. I'm kinda jealous, Torchlight. These are my current stats:

1. 1400 sq. ft. home

2. 1960

3. $205

4. reliant

And, I keep my thermostat at 78 degrees. However, my a/c unit is 13 years old. Do you have a high efficiency a/c? Really good insullation?

This is the highest bill I've ever had, and I've lived there 3 summers now.

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1. 2350sq ft

2. 8 yrs old

3. $319.00 :(

4. Green Mountain

5. 78 degrees - nothing lower

This is the biggest home I've ever owned, and am still adjusting to the higher engery bills. I'm doing things now like leaving the A/C on 78 at all times, closing all doors as often as possible, shutting off vents to non-essential areas like bathrooms & closets, and keeping curtains drawn during the day to help combat the sun's heat through our windows.

I'm hoping to see if those things will make a difference this month. I started all these things at the end of last month after getting what I thought would be my highest bill of $278. Then the August bill came for $319. I was hot and sweaty for the first two weeks, but my body has gotten used to 78 versus 75. Hopefully my bill will reflect my sacrifice.

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1. fourplex, lower level, about 1600 sq ft.

2. 1924

3. $228 --- two window units and two box fans for that vortex effect --- whee!

4. HL&P

every time i see those green mountain folks outside the grocery store

pushing their leaflets, i avoid them. i had a really pushy fella give me

a hard time once and yell after me when i didn't have time to talk to

him on a slow day.

now i just say, "i don't need any." one guy outside the whole foods

said, "we all need electricity so i would like to show you..."

so i said, "dammit boy! i'm amish. can't you just leave me alone."

maybe i should look into it anyhow.

i would also recommend the "gaps & cracks" stuff. it's not a bad

investment if you're renting. at home depot it's 5.88 per 12 oz can...

at southland the same thing is $12.99, no kidding.

now don't get upset... i have shopped southland for years. i am

usually very serious about supporting local businesses. when working

on that big project recently southland was constantly out of many things

i needed. so a looming deadline and no choice, i went to the home depot.

i felt bad about it until seeing some major price differences and not being

witness to any employee squabbles. hooray!

Edited by torvald
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~1250 ft2

1939

$129

reliant

for anyone with txu...when you switched did you bill go up? only reason i'm asking is that i've spoken with 3 customers who switched this yr and their bills are all rising.

My bill was the same for May, June and July (within $5) I called them and they are blaming it on oil prices (go figure). De-regulation is NOT a good thing, the utility companies claim 'you have a choice,' you sure do! Pay through the nose or get shut off. Anytime big business says there is something in it for you... I say you are right..higher costs. I have been considerering switching but who REALLY is the least expensive?

(Sidenote: I am moving to 4,200 square ft built in '73...can't wait for that bill!)

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1. 2350sq ft

2. 8 yrs old

3. $319.00 :(

4. Green Mountain

5. 78 degrees - nothing lower

This is the biggest home I've ever owned, and am still adjusting to the higher engery bills. I'm doing things now like leaving the A/C on 78 at all times, closing all doors as often as possible, shutting off vents to non-essential areas like bathrooms & closets, and keeping curtains drawn during the day to help combat the sun's heat through our windows.

I'm hoping to see if those things will make a difference this month. I started all these things at the end of last month after getting what I thought would be my highest bill of $278. Then the August bill came for $319. I was hot and sweaty for the first two weeks, but my body has gotten used to 78 versus 75. Hopefully my bill will reflect my sacrifice.

If you have central air conditioning, you should not close off vents in unused rooms. It could cause leaks in your ductwork. Leakage in air conditioning ductwork in average 10 to 15 year old home is 15% to 25% of its heating and cooling airflow loss. Closing off vents is effectively "dead heading" the airflow, causing undue pressure on the ductwork. You also are causing "Hot Spots" in your home. Good insulation, good circulation and thermostat setting is the key to lower cooling bills. Run ceiling fans always, close drapes on the sunny side of the house during that time. Argon Gas filled double pane windows are a big plus. Keep your filter clean, and your door thresholds in good working order. A "good" central air system is designed to heat and cool your home as efficiantly as it can get, altering airflow cuts down it's effectiveness, I guarantee you. If you are getting a new system installed, go that extra 1/2 ton or even a ton, the extra grand it will cost you will come back ten fold in electric bills. An oversize unit works a lot less than an undersize unit and in the long run uses less power. My two pennies for what it's worth to you.

If you have window units, closing off unused rooms will reduce cooling costs and provide more cooling to the used areas. This is a whole other situation when you are running window units.

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1. 2350sq ft

2. 8 yrs old

3. $319.00 :(

4. Green Mountain

5. 78 degrees - nothing lower

This is the biggest home I've ever owned, and am still adjusting to the higher engery bills. I'm doing things now like leaving the A/C on 78 at all times, closing all doors as often as possible, shutting off vents to non-essential areas like bathrooms & closets, and keeping curtains drawn during the day to help combat the sun's heat through our windows.

I'm hoping to see if those things will make a difference this month. I started all these things at the end of last month after getting what I thought would be my highest bill of $278. Then the August bill came for $319. I was hot and sweaty for the first two weeks, but my body has gotten used to 78 versus 75. Hopefully my bill will reflect my sacrifice.

If you have central air conditioning, you should not close off vents in unused rooms. It could cause leaks in your ductwork. Leakage in air conditioning ductwork in average 10 to 15 year old home is 15% to 25% of its heating and cooling airflow loss. Closing off vents is effectively "dead heading" the airflow, causing undue pressure on the ductwork. You also are causing "Hot Spots" in your home. Good insulation, good circulation and thermostat setting is the key to lower cooling bills. Run ceiling fans always, close drapes on the sunny side of the house during that time. Argon Gas filled double pane windows are a big plus. Keep your filter clean, and your door thresholds in good working order. A "good" central air system is designed to heat and cool your home as efficiantly as it can get, altering airflow cuts down it's effectiveness, I guarantee you. If you are getting a new system installed, go that extra 1/2 ton or even a ton, the extra grand it will cost you will come back ten fold in electric bills. An oversize unit works a lot less than an undersize unit and in the long run uses less power. Inadequate attic insulation can cost you as much as 40% of your cooling cost. The problem is worse in the winter because heat rises. As much as 60% of the energy input to heat can be lost in the wintertime due to poor in poor insulation. If you are re-roofing your home, you should consider using roof decking with a foil backing (radiant barrier). This can reduce annual energy bills by 5%. Using a lighter color on the shingles can also save 5% to 10% on cooling bills.

If you have window units, closing off unused rooms will reduce cooling costs and provide more cooling to the used areas. This is a whole other situation when you are running window units.

Water Heater is a real biggy, in real terms, about 25 cents of every electricity dollar that you spend goes to heating water. I made a really interesting chart on my spreadsheet machine showing where the hot water in an average house goes. I went with the SETS Tankless Water Heater and dropped my bill $35.00 a month. A tank heater run off and on all day long and all night long, wheather you use water or not, and it costs to maintain that 150 degrees in 70 gallons water. Tankless doesn't run until you use it and you NEVER run out of hot water, 100 people can shower in a row and all will have hot water. I paid $800 for the SET Model 280 - Whole House Water Heater, and it paid for itself in less than three years. No tank to rust out, it's small. (19.5" x 13" x 3") hangs on the wall, no bulky tank to clean around.

Water heating is the second largest user of energy in the average home (close behind heating and air conditioning). It represents 25% to 30% of a typical homes energy consumption. Setting your water heater down from 140 to 120 degrees can save as much as $65 per year. Insulating your water heater with a special made blanket can reduce its energy use by 10%.

My two pennies for what it's worth to you.

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1. About 3,000 sf

2. 3 years old

3. $421 ($0.1485/kWh)

4. Gexa

5. 78-79 degrees

We have a radiant barrier on the roof deck, but since the house is 1 1/2 story, there isn't much in the way of attic insulation...and lots of recessed lighting probably does not help. Also - we only have those trailer-park issue paper blinds still, although wood blinds will be coming very shortly.

I also have tankless hot water - actually two Takagi TK-1 units. We were told that our master shower would overload a single unit so we got two of them. It turns out one is just fine, so I leave the second turned off. The shower has 5 shower heads... although I usually only run two of them, it can easily keep up with all five, with slightly reduced flow in the winter.

Can someone recommend a company to inspect/maintain/service our A/C units? I've noticed the upstairs unit is not dehumidifying as well as it used to. The units have not been serviced since they were installed... I am a bad homeowner :(

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I'm doing things now like leaving the A/C on 78 at all times, closing all doors as often as possible, shutting off vents to non-essential areas like bathrooms & closets, and keeping curtains drawn during the day to help combat the sun's heat through our windows.

Depending on your system, closing your vents can wreak havoc on the A/C system. Each system was designed to input a certain amt of air and output a certain amount of air. When either is altered, the a/c works harder therefore isn't as efficient. An open vent in the restroom is essential due to the humidity the room generates. Less humidity will cause you to feel cooler because moisture will evaporate off your skin faster.

IMO, I was having a humidity problem in my house and I ended up elevating the evaporator coil slightly on one end so it would force water out of the drain. Now is it very comfortable.

Edited by musicman
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Depending on your system, closing your vents can wreak havoc on the A/C system. Each system was designed to input a certain amt of air and output a certain amount of air. When either is altered, the a/c works harder therefore isn't as efficient. An open vent in the restroom is essential due to the humidity the room generates. Less humidity will cause you to feel cooler because moisture will evaporate off your skin faster.

IMO, I was having a humidity problem in my house and I ended up elevating the evaporator coil slightly on one end so it would force water out of the drain. Now is it very comfortable.

I only closed the vents to the two bathrooms, an unused bedroom, and the master walk-in closet. I did this because we have 10 foot ceilings in the master bedroom, dining room, and foyer; and 12 foot ceilings in the living room/kitchen (open floorplan). By shutting off those non-essential vents, the airflow has increased to the dual vents in both the living room and master bedroom. I'm also able to stand sitting in my living room and sleeping in my bed with the thermostat set on 78 degrees, versus 75. My A/C unit also comes on fewer times daily.

Just for reference, my living room is 17Lx15Wx12H with an open kitchen attached that is 10Lx15Wx12H. It takes alot of cool air plus the ceiling fan to cool the entire area. You also have to take into account that the dining room is openly attached to the living room, as is the foyer, and breakfast nook. All said, closing a few vents has greatly improved the climate in my giant open spaces.

Edited by Jeebus
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If you are getting a new system installed, go that extra 1/2 ton or even a ton, the extra grand it will cost you will come back ten fold in electric bills. An oversize unit works a lot less than an undersize unit and in the long run uses less power. My two pennies for what it's worth to you.

DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT oversize a unit in this climate, here's why:

1. The above argument doesn't even make sense. Even though a larger unit will run less, it will use more electricity when it is running, thereby negating any gains from running less.

2. It will turn on and off more frequently shortnening the life of the equipment.

3. It will not run long enough to dehumidify the house properly, espescially on days when it isn't scorching hot outside, but kinda warm.

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I'm also able to stand sitting in my living room and sleeping in my bed with the thermostat set on 78 degrees, versus 75. My A/C unit also comes on fewer times daily.

Your unit doesn't come on fewer times a day because the vents are closed. You've raised the thermostat 3 degrees. That is why it comes on less.

I just said because you have closed your vents, your unit is working harder while it is on. In the long run it will be interesting to see how your master closet does mold-wise, esp if you enter it from the master bathroom.

DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT oversize a unit in this climate, here's why:

1. The above argument doesn't even make sense. Even though a larger unit will run less, it will use more electricity when it is running, thereby negating any gains from running less.

2. It will turn on and off more frequently shortnening the life of the equipment.

3. It will not run long enough to dehumidify the house properly, espescially on days when it isn't scorching hot outside, but kinda warm.

You can oversize depending on the conditions of your home. Many homes are older and the walls aren't insulated therefore a larger unit is needed to cool properly. Of course is your home is super-insulated, oversizing a unit is NOT recommended. Also remember the SEER rating of the unit will determine how much electricity is used. A larger unit may use less power, depending on its efficiency rating.

Edited by musicman
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Your unit doesn't come on fewer times a day because the vents are closed. You've raised the thermostat 3 degrees. That is why it comes on less.
Yes, I should that point more specific above.
I just said because you have closed your vents, your unit is working harder while it is on.
How is it working "harder"? Edited by Jeebus
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You can oversize depending on the conditions of your home. Many homes are older and the walls aren't insulated therefore a larger unit is needed to cool properly. Of course is your home is super-insulated, oversizing a unit is NOT recommended.

A load calculation will take into account insulation, infiltration, etc, and determine the proper size. To upsize or downsize from that, after all the variables have been taken into consideration is foolish.

Also remember the SEER rating of the unit will determine how much electricity is used. A larger unit may use less power, depending on its efficiency rating.
Of course. But if the units are the same SEER and only differ in capacity, then the larger one will always use more electricity.
How is it working "harder"?

The blower is working harder because it is working against a higher static pressure. Also, in low load conditions, the compressor may be fed liquid refrigerant because there isn't enough airflow across the evaporator to evaporate all of the refrigerant, and that's a problem because you can't compress a liquid.

Ugh. I hate the post consolidator that puts two replies into one post.

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How is it working "harder"?

The system is designed to take in a certain amount of air and put out a certain amount of air. Anything that restricts airflow on either end lessens the efficiency. For instance, the flex duct commonly used today is less efficient than the sheet metal that was used in the past. If you go up in your attic, most likely you'll find it is suspended by nylon straps which also constrict airflow. you'll find that these straps eventually cause the duct to be pinched. You can place 1x4 or something similar between the straps and it minimizes the pinching. Closing ducts similarly constricts airflow.

A constricted airflow causes a higher internal pressure in duct system which causes the unit to work harder.

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The system is designed to take in a certain amount of air and put out a certain amount of air. Anything that restricts airflow on either end lessens the efficiency. For instance, the flex duct commonly used today is less efficient than the sheet metal that was used in the past. If you go up in your attic, most likely you'll find it is suspended by nylon straps which also constrict airflow. you'll find that these straps eventually cause the duct to be pinched. You can place 1x4 or something similar between the straps and it minimizes the pinching. Closing ducts similarly constricts airflow.

A constricted airflow causes a higher internal pressure in duct system which causes the unit to work harder.

2780, 1992, $480, TXU

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every time i see those green mountain folks outside the grocery store

pushing their leaflets, i avoid them. i had a really pushy fella give me

a hard time once and yell after me when i didn't have time to talk to

him on a slow day.

now i just say, "i don't need any." one guy outside the whole foods

said, "we all need electricity so i would like to show you..."

so i said, "dammit boy! i'm amish. can't you just leave me alone."

maybe i should look into it anyhow.

I don't think Green Mtn is necessarily cheaper than the bunch. I got it "to help save the planet, man", but when I got my first bill, I realized the green mountain they must really be talking about is a huge pile of money somewhere.

My central AC's compressor went out almost 3 years ago to the day. I had/have the money to fix it but I decided, as a sort of historic research experiment, to finish out that summer the old fashioned way without any AC.

It helps to live alone and to be "skinny" but I would recommend it for those liking the feeling of saving chunks of real money and also having fresh air in their living space, unlike most ACed air which is stale and lacking in mood-enhancing negative ions.

The semi-old fashioned way;

1) Ceiling fans

2) Keep windows and interior doors open to allow air currents to flow and utilize the double-hungs by opening the upper sash to allow the warm air to escape. Leaving windows open all day requires either an alarm or keeping possessions to a "nothing here to steal" level.

3) Someone gave me a window unit because they felt sorry for me, and it is good for sleeping.

4) Wear scant clothing and learn to enjoy the lush, tropical indoor environment (sweating).

I figured I've saved enough since it broke to pay for what I need to fix, but I'm so used to it that I really don't see the need at this point. I am looking forward to Oct-Nov though.

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1. 1492 sq ft

2. 26 yrs old

3. $295

4. TXU (i just switched to Amigo - they're cheap and require no contract.)

my wife and i are both home all day, so A/C stays running... plus i have a deep freeze in the garage... and a 9 seer A/C (ouch!)

for those of you going with Green Mountain, you're getting jobbed. They buy their energy from the same providers as everyone else, and they certainly aren't cheaper. I had them once, they totally screwed up my bill - as in didn't send me one and couldn't tell me how much they owed me - for about a year, when they all of a sudden sent it to a collection agency. when i called to pay it, i was told green mountain had an accounting problem that affected almost all of their texas customers. this was in 2001/2002.

if you are on reliant, switch to something - anything... we have to get the competition going.

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green mountain seems to have cost about the same as when i had txu (which i had terrible terrible problems with).

i never had anyone bother me about signing up, but i have seen them around half price books in the village - but i just enrolled online.

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1) 1500sqft

2) 1920

3) ~$300

4) Reliant (ugh)

This old brick duplex is on the ground floor, with 5 window units, 3 which are usually on all day because of a nanny and the little one at home. I'd say it never gets lower than about 80-85 during the heat of the day.. the temp just about breaks even.

3 weeks and we go to a renovated 1930s house in the Heights. New insulation everywhere and new windows. I'm so looking forward to moving.

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Another figure that would have been good to mention is your kwh usage for that bill. Also... do the bill values listed include add-ons to the the base energy usage charge? I've been comparing electricty costs with a friend in California and his bills are ridiculous for the amount he uses. I'm cooling about 1900 sq ft with my thermostat kept at 79. The average daily high temp for this period (to Aug. 3) was 99. Low average was about 79. The usage period was for 30 days (another relevant figure, since it varies). My energy charge was $185 for 1249 kwh, but a "Base Customer Charge" and Sales Tax added another $8 for a total of $193. I am in Central Texas and have TXU. My house was built in 1978.

Looking forward to my next bill, since our high temps have been, and continue to be, 100+.

Edited by 57Tbird
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Looking forward to my next bill, since our high temps have been, and continue to be, 100+.

Yeah...high temps are just great. Not only does the house gain more heat because its hotter outside, but the efficiency of the compressor declines as the ambient temperature goes up because it is working against a higher head pressure.

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Just got the new bill today.

3200 sq/ft Satterwhite Log Home (2 story w/heated pool)

800 gallon Caldera Spa (101 degrees always)

Built House in 1999 (Satterwhite Spruce Logs) Metal Roof

This Months Bill: $371.81

Usage 3197 @ $0.1162/kWh

Keep Thermostat on 70 @ all times Ceiling fans always on.

We like it cold and don't mind paying for it.

Dual Units Upstairs/downstairs

Dual 4 ton Lennox heat pumps

SEER 14

Mid-South Synergy Coop

286797726gHOPcL_fs_op_800x533.jpg

Edited by Mark F. Barnes
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Can someone tell me if it is better to jack your A/C up to 84/85 during the day and make it cool back down to 77/78 when you get home from work ~OR~ raise it to only 81/82 during the day so it doesn't have to work as hard getting back to 77/78 when you get home?

I'm trying to figure out the best efficiency. If I should raise it to 90, then I will. I just don't want to run it too hard and negate my savings when it has to cool down in the evening. What is the "breakeven" point?

2500 sq ft, 2 story, 1 A/C unit

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That would be $0.1162/kWh

That's cheap! IIRC mine was $.148/kWh which would have been $473 for the same amount of power.

Inverted the equation in my head didn't I? What a DFM

Yeah I don't complain much about my bill, as cold as we keep it in the house, and with all the exterior lighting and pool, spa, etc. could be a lot worse. I thought Mid-South was a COOP, but it's not, our phone (Consolidated COOP) is a COOP no the power company. Mid-South is just cheap.

Thanks for straighting out my calculation FUBAR

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1.) 2100 sqft.

2.) Built in 1978

3.) $253

Average billing, so I am guessing it would be a little over $300 a month regular. I like it cold, and my cpu is always on and my kids tv is playing dvds constantly. I figure I could get it down to $100 a month, without any convienences. Without a refrigerator though, a pork chop might make you sick.

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Inverted the equation in my head didn't I? What a DFM

Yeah I don't complain much about my bill, as cold as we keep it in the house, and with all the exterior lighting and pool, spa, etc. could be a lot worse. I thought Mid-South was a COOP, but it's not, our phone (Consolidated COOP) is a COOP no the power company. Mid-South is just cheap.

Thanks for straighting out my calculation FUBAR

dang! never heard of Mid-South and I work in the industry! That certainly IS cheap! If it is a REP, I'm switching!!!

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1. 2,250

2. 12 years

3. $450*

4. TXU

* Swimming pool (pump & cleaner)

Entergy ( we have no choice in the woodlands)

Katiedid - be glad you don't have choice. You still live in a regulated market. Had you lived in the unregulated market, your bill would've been $700-$900.

Edited by mrfootball
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