Lesson learned

Last month, our electricity bill was about $108. It was hot last month so I set our thermostat to 85° during the day and 76° at night. I thought, by doing so, I'd be saving us a TON of money because the a/c wouldn't be working as much during the day. I thought I was all that AND a bag of chips.

Until I opened our electric bill today. $214+!! I then had to sit down and put my head between my knees. That's not only double last month's bill, it far exceeds my budget for that utility. Thankfully, I have some wiggle room because our gas bill is so low but dangit!

I talked with a friend of mine whose father is a mechanical engineer with some 40 years of heating/cooling experience and she pointed out that having such a discrepancy between the daytime and nighttime thermostat settings might be making the a/c work harder to cool the house down as opposed to setting the temp to either one constant setting or keeping the day/night settings closer in range. So it's possible that, by trying to SAVE us money, I've costed us money. Poo. Absolutely not what I had in mind.

However, there might be a bit of an upside. I reset the thermostat to 80° during the day and 78° at night (and before you all get worked up over how hot that is, keep in mind the fact that I lived in Hawaii for 6.5 years and 85° during the day was JUST. FINE.) and we'll see how the next bill shakes out. July has been wicked hot (and dry) and it looks like August is going to be the same, if not worse. Fun times in the heartland, I tell you!

At least it will cooler here during the day!


- hfs


Pogue said...

At what times does the thermostat switch between modes? You want to make sure that's coordinated with when the rates change as well. Some of the utilities can be down right punitive when it comes to peak times. We usually keep the house right around 80 when the AC is running, and a little lower when we use the evaporative cooler. We also use fans quite a bit, too. The seem to help with the comvort level when the humidity is lower. Hang in there!

Unknown said...

Our bill in TN was over $300 in the summer usually. The thermostat was probably set around 68-72 degrees though!

Homefront Six said...

P ~ I think that's a big part of it as well and might explain the difference in the $/KWH. It was set to switch from 85° to 80° at 4pm and then down to 76° at 10pm. I"m assuming that's probably peak times for this part of the country.

We'll sit at 80° during the day and 76° at night and see how that works for the next month.

Wen ~ 68°??? I'd FREEZE!!!

Crista said...

Yeah, a 9* difference is a lot for it to handle and it works harder, even though you had smaller changes set up during the later part of the day. What I've read and heard over the years is to keep the changes within 4*. I don't even bother with different settings. I used to when I worked but I don't anymore. I just keep it at a constant temp and that would be 73* all summer. If we're on vacation and the house is empty, that's when I change it. Otherwise, it sits at one temp for the entire summer. I budget $200/month for electric and gas (our electric bill includes our water and sewage, though) and that usually covers me for the entire year, as the gas bill increases when the electric/water bill decreases and vice versa.

Did I mention I hate bills?

DL Sly said...

When we PCS'd to NC the first time, I got the same lesson in the workings of a heat pump from the a/c guy who explained essentially the same concept - set it at one temp and leave it because it takes more energy to keep cooling the walls and interior if you let them heat up too much in the first place.
And, that, too, was after a rather large electric bill. Hang on, you're getting to where you want to be.
And I won't tell you what our temps are here in MT. You'd get chills just thinking about them.

Mary said...

Both my A/C and heat settings are 76; I often have them "off" because the apartment is well insulated and if I feel "hot" I put on a portable fan unless the dog is visiting. Right now, it's 85 degrees outside at 2:30 Pacific with some humidity - less rare than it used to be, unfortunately.


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