Air conditioning power svings

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Electric company wants me to install a device that lets them remotely alter the duty cycle of my AC compressor.
Is this truly harmless?
Can it make the thing less efficient, or wear out / burn out sooner?
--
Wes Groleau

“Two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity.
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Read the details of the plan...
When I signed up for an AC power use reduction plan there were a number of choices.
It was while ago so I don't remember the exact details For like $250 per year they had the right to disable the AC for a maximum of 3 hours per day for an unlimited number of days. For like $150 per year they had the right to disable the AC for a maximum of 3 hours per day for X number of days.
The whole idea is they're paying for option to be able to shed load as suits their needs. They're not going to be turning your AC on & off every 5 minutes.
The net result of this program.... your house will be a bit warmer at times & the compressor might run longer at times to "catch up". YMMV cheers Bob
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On 1/23/2013 10:07 PM, DD_BobK wrote:

OK, but what's X?
You know the only way for them to reduce the peak is to turn off your AC when it wants to run...the hottest part of the day. So, people will just set the thermostat colder so it doesn't get so hot when it's off.
This only works if it makes you uncomfortable. And we know how people like being uncomfortable.

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As a HVAC installer and service guy, my view of how to save power, is to have the unit professionally cleaned. A dirty AC can and does use a lot of wasted power. If money permits, upgrading from piston compressor unit to a rotary compressor also helps.
If you get the remote disable, consider a window AC so you can retreat to a "safe, AC room" sort of thing while the power company shuts down your central.
Not many people have the capability, but it would be nice to set up a water tank and a chiller that runs from the off peak side of a meter. Use chilled water for cooling during the heat of the day.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
You know the only way for them to reduce the peak is to turn off your AC when it wants to run...the hottest part of the day. So, people will just set the thermostat colder so it doesn't get so hot when it's off.
This only works if it makes you uncomfortable. And we know how people like being uncomfortable.
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I had this program for 15 years with the local utility. It was already installed on the house I bought. I was a bit suspicous too and didn't buy their claims that it was unnoticeable. It would seem to me that the AC units are all turning on and off randomly and the only way to really effect the system to their benefit is to turn enough of them off for long enough that it has to effect the cooling performance. That is for the main use anyway. I guess there could be times when they have a crisis of some kind that only lasts 15 mins.
Here they paid some small fee, might have been $35 a year or so. I never noticed any situation where the AC was impacted though. Could be because I was working, not home during the day, etc. So, there are cases where even if it causes the temp to rise slightly, you would not be impacted by it.
After about 10 years, they changed the plan to one where they paid I think $2 each time they activated it. Since they rarely did so, I got even less. Last year they announced the end of the whole program because the frequency they use to control it is being converted by the govt to other uses and the eqpt is now useless.
I guess if I were offered such a plan in the future, I'd take a look at how much it amounts to in money. If it passes that test, I'd ask some neighbors that have it and what their experience has been.
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OK, but what's X? You know the only way for them to reduce the peak is to turn off your AC when it wants to run...the hottest part of the day. So, people will just set the thermostat colder so it doesn't get so hot when it's off. This only works if it makes you uncomfortable. And we know how people like being uncomfortable.
"X" depends on the details of the program choices offered by the untility.
It's not about energy savings... it's about power demand reduction (load shedding). If the occupant makes the house colder by setting the thermostat lower in anticipation of AC being disable...so be it.
This behavior shifts the load.. "storing cold" in the house mass for "later use". The utility is happy...lower peak load.
They paying for the option to juggle their load in ~10kw increments.
cheers Bob
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There are several possible reasons but load shedding is the likely one. It won't damage it. Of course it will be turned off exactly when you need it most. The amount of discomfort will depend on how massively your house is constructed and how well insulated it is.
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I'd not want one on my house. Too much risk of them shutting you off during the hot afternoon when you need it most. You can be nice to them and raise the the stat set point temp during hot days. Even nicer, is to have your AC cleaned by a tech, so it's not wasteful.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
Electric company wants me to install a device that lets them remotely alter the duty cycle of my AC compressor.
Is this truly harmless?
Can it make the thing less efficient, or wear out / burn out sooner?
--
Wes Groleau

"Two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity.
  Click to see the full signature.
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Here in NY I don't think the offer is to shut it off, only to turn it up a couple of degrees. I don't know if they adjust the temp upward regardless of the setting or they mostly just stop people from cooling their houses to 70 on peak power days...
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On Thu, 24 Jan 2013 07:54:36 -0500, "Stormin Mormon"

lsd.org is a drug website! Just goes to show what this guy is using!
Anyone who posts about 50 times a day to alt.home.repair, and still cant figure out how to bottom post on a newsgroup, has to be on drugs. Some people just dont have a life!
It must be nice getting all that money from welfare, and spending life in front of a computer. The OP must be about 400lbs overweight from lack of exercise. Oh well, I'll leave so the OP can inject another syringe filled with drugs.
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On Wed, 23 Jan 2013 23:59:25 -0500, Wes Groleau

Wouldn't it be cheaper and just as cost effective to install a programmable thermostat ?
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No, because the power company can't adjust your thermostat. The purpose of these utility company programs isn't to save you energy. It's to shed some big loads when they need to do it to either avoid having to buy more power at much higher rates, or having the system brown out on it's own, etc.
And cheaper isn't a factor. The utility installs the power control for free and then typically pays you for doing so, either yearly or each time it's activated.
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On Thursday, January 24, 2013 9:05:24 AM UTC-5, Doug wrote:

Sure it would, but then you're depending on the good will of the people to program their thermostats so that their ACs don't run at peak times of the day. People aren't going to do it out of the kindness in their hearts.
Of course, that will never happen. Most people are going to say, "I want to be comfortable," and leave their ACs cranked 24/7. Then they will cry and complain about brownouts and rolling blackouts.
The only effective way to make this work is cash bribes.
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On Thu, 24 Jan 2013 10:26:54 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

program their thermostats so that their ACs don't run at peak times of the day. People aren't going to do it out of the kindness in their hearts.

comfortable," and leave their ACs cranked 24/7. Then they will cry and complain about brownouts and rolling blackouts.

Ok but if they could save money does that matter? I use one and of course there is part of the day my home is slightly less comfortable if I'm home but later it kicks in and all is well then. I know I've saved money and prefer one.
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Well yes it does, because you're talking apples and oranges. The subject of the thread is power rationing initiated on the extreme peak occasions when the power company needs to do so. It's implemented with a device on your AC that THEY need to control.
The programmable thermostat, well everyone knows what that does and it's not the above.
I use one and of

You could just adjust the thermostat like the rest of us instead of suffer....

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My home seems to start to require more air conditioning around 4:00 PM and after. Peak is around 6:00 PM. The brick on the house stays hot on the southwest side until dark. It's also where the condenser is. Daytime temp around 73-74 degrees, unless I'm doing labor inside. Around bedtime I often turn temp on 68 or 67 degrees. Becoming rare, are comfort nights where outside temp is below 70 at bedtime, where I could use fans. From unique monthly electric bills, I don't seem to use much more electricity in the summer. $15 at most. My basement stays cool without air, and I have less than 1000 sq feet ranch.
Greg
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Obama can fix it!
He can empanel a commission, to....
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
Sure it would, but then you're depending on the good will of the people to program their thermostats so that their ACs don't run at peak times of the day. People aren't going to do it out of the kindness in their hearts.
Of course, that will never happen. Most people are going to say, "I want to be comfortable," and leave their ACs cranked 24/7. Then they will cry and complain about brownouts and rolling blackouts.
The only effective way to make this work is cash bribes.
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On 1/23/2013 10:59 PM, Wes Groleau wrote:

The local utility here calls the program Saver Switch. During periods of peak demand, they activate the switch and cycle your a/c compressor on and off every 15 minutes. Like you, I wonder if repeatedly cycling the compressor that often would be hard on it. I decided I didn't want to save 15% on my June-Sept. electric bill but maybe end up having to replace the compressor after a few years.
My sister had the switch put on her a/c unit. She lives in a multi-level home and discovered that it was difficult to adequately cool the upper levels when the a/c kept cycling on and off. So she had them remove the switch.
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Don't know your climate, but in most places with AC it's not at all unusual for the AC to be doing 15 min cycles on typical AC days. And the power company is only adding to that when it's necessary, ie it should not be enough that it's going to make a difference.
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On 1/23/2013 11:59 PM, Wes Groleau wrote:

It will not damage your AC system, or cause it to wear out or burn out sooner. When implemented, it actually reduces the # of on/off cycles per day which if anything might reduce wear and tear on moving parts.
Efficiency? If your asking for an engineering analysis, I can't provide an answer. If your asking because you're concerned about cost, I'm sure the value of the rebate you'll receive more than compensates for any loss in your system's efficiency - assuming there would be any.
The decision to enroll should be based on how much your home will be occupied on very hot afternoons (working, retired, stay-at-home lifestyle vs. always out and about, etc)., how tolerant the occupants are (both medically and temperamentally) to mild heat discomfort, and how well your home is insulated. A poorly insulated home will warm up quite quickly after the AC cycle ends. A better insulated home takes longer to get uncomfortably hot again. There's no single answer that's best for every homeowner.
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