On 28 Aug 2006 13:08:31 -0700, email@example.com wrote:
In a way, the idea that if something is repaired it is now good, or if
it is replaced with new, it is now good, while a compliment to
repairmen, I think ends up with tremendous and often excessive
dissatisfaction on those, hopefully few occasions when something is
repaired or replaced and it's not good.
There can always be bad parts and repairmen can always make a mistake,
if only in not verifying that every part and every feature is working.
The quality of work is partly determined by whether it works well
after he leaves, but also by whether he fixes it well after the
customer discovers the flaw.
But forgetting about judging the quality of work, it's just not true
that when someone fixes something it is guaranteed to be fixed, or
that when someone does anything it is guaranteed to be done.
Assumintg otherwise slows down debugging.
I can only reemphasize what Edwin and others (and myself) have already
told you--if the house feels this cold, in undoubtedly _IS_ colder than
80F and _SOMETHING_ isn't right. If the actual temperature is
somewhere in the 60's, it's no wonder your power bills are
astronomical. Your first step needs to be to find out independent of
the thermostat what the air temperature is and get the A/C guy out to
find out why you're running so cold. I suppose it's possible the
thermostat is located in a very poor location and is being affected by
something else so it thinks the temperature is 80, but a thermometer
will tell you that, too.
A 12 SEER unit isn't very efficient these days (I don't think it would
qualify for Energy Star rating) but is probably better than what was
there, but if it's running all the time or is actually keeping the
house at 65F, see above.
I also have to agree w/ Edwin and others in that your brother may be an
electrician by trade and capable of performing the mechanical processes
of wiring, etc., but he definitely is way off base on this hypothesis.
It just isn't the way electricity "works". It's certainly not uncommon
that many tradesmen don't know much theoretical behind what they do
In summary, given this additional information, the A/C is almost
definitely the problem and the reason is almost certainly that
something isn't right so you need to get the installer out to find out
what the problem actually is and fix it.
A larger than necessary wiring hole behind the T-Stat can artificially
affect the stat with heat from the wall cavity. I seal-up around the
The OP can cut back now as mentioned.
I think we pay more $$ during peak hours and $ during non peak hours.
I have to look at this again.
We try to avoid big appliances during the day, really so in the
Sounds to me like you are just floundering around and not approaching
the problem systematically, lady.
What does an accurate thermometer hung next to the thermostat read, when
the rest of the place is as you say, "pretty cold"?
And what does that same thermometer read when placed in the "pretty
cold" parts of the house?
It's quite possible the thermostat is located in a part of the house
where cold air from the system does not reach it until it's "lost a lot
of its cold" and isn't cold enough to make the thermostat switch off
You may just need to properly balance the air flows by adjusting
register dampers (Assuming they ARE adjustable.) until you achieve a
relatively acceptable temperatures where you want them.
Actually, it seems extremely pracitical for a couple reasons.
1. The bill is big enough to be big problem for OP, who needs to cut it
2. There is possible problem with t-stat and/or a/c sizing.
3. Central air cools way more of house, possibly, than you'd want to
pay to cool.
4. Insulation (toss in sealing) is suspect too, causing a/c to try to
cool the county.
5. Efficience of central a/c is suspect.
I'd ditch the money/energy sucker in a heartbeat.
On 28 Aug 2006 13:00:49 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Maybe not. I expect to open windows and turning off the AC in the next
30 - 45 days. I live in the Mojave desert. In mid to late September it
cools down and we open up the house. Adding cost to AC for a single
mom might not be best for the moment.
Can't speak to the panel.
Use energy (appliances) during non-peak hours. Kids with a runny
noise can get by without AC, wash clothes off peak, dishwasher during
the night...examples only.
I would do a factory default reset on a digital T-Stat. A non-digital
would go by the way side, in my case.
A season change and the OP can turn it off and open windows.
A friend had two second floor rooms, extremely hot. When he finally
got up into the space he found three rooms - no insulation by any
Certainly spending a few more hundred as the _first_ action w/o even
discovering the problem w/ the _NEW_ installation doesn't seem like the
most practical action to me...
If the bill is an immediate issue, the first expedient is to cut the
unit off for a day or so until the A/C guy can get there and look at it
or control it manually to only cool the house to a comfortable
temperature and then only when it begins to become uncomfortable turn
it back on for a while.
W/ kids in a not huge house (inferred), it's unlikely there's a desire
to only cool one or two rooms, anyway. If so, bedroom registers can be
closed and doors remain closed to minimize the area w/ the central
system while determing the problem.
Insulation is typically pretty cheap and often has cost share and has a
long term payback in both summer and winter that the window unit won't
In summary, if (and only if) there aren't other practical solutions
would it seem to make sense to go that route and certainly not as the
immediate reaction before even finding out the answer to several other
Some good advice so far. I will post inline as you asked your questions.
Go to the end for another thing to look at...
Set your thermostat as high as you are comfortable. Also consider
getting a set-back thermostat (it has a timer to turn on/off when you
are not at home)
My brother is an electrician, he said I probably need to
If your brother really is an electrician I suspect you have
mis-understood what he has said. This does not make sense.
OK - AC IS a big draw on electricity. As others have said, insulation
and attic ventilation will help. Also, dark drapes on the sunny side
will help keep things cooler when running AC.
Look at other things drawing electricity. An old refrigerator can cost
over $100 a month run! Electric stove? Other appliances that draw
electricity when not in use? Leaving lights on?
Yea, you probably got the least efficient AC installed but there is
nothing you can do about that now. Check to see if you can find a date
of mfg on your fridge and post back here. I'm suspicious.
Did they replace the ducttwork?
These A/C units are usually connected with flex duct and duct board.
They will leak when they get old and critters love to eat holes in
there to air condition their den in the attic. The new unit may
actually be blowing harder making the leaks worse.
One more diagnostic check...turn absolutely everything in the house off
(unplug the refrigerator if need or wait until it cycles off and trip
the breaker to the water heater) and go check the meter--it should not
be moving. If it is, you have either something still on and drawing
power or a meter problem or a leak-path problem. If this shows a
problem, get your brother back w/ his clamp-on ammeter and have him
help you find out where it's going or have the utility company check
for a service problem on their side first.
The point is, the bill is high because the metered usage is high--you
need to know where the usage is to know what to attack first.
The thought of the refrigerator reminds me of another related to it--if
you haven't done so for a while, check behind it and clean the
coils--they're a wonderful collector and the accumulated dirt and
fuzz-balls kills efficiency.
Reason I know 'bout the fridge thing. Once someone gave my wife one for
a small retail shop she ran. They put it in the basement and the elec
bill was almost $200 higher the next month. We tossed it and bought a
new cheapie and the bill want back down to almost where it was before.
I heard a story at work, a gas utility company. Customer complained about
high gas bills, wanted someone to come out and check the meter and
equipment. Serviceman checks everything, all OK but lots of gas flowing
through the meter. While talking to the customer, serviceman looks out
window on a winter day just after a big snowfall. An outdoor barbecue is
sitting in the back yard with NO snow on it, while everything is covered
with it. They go outdoors and find the BBQ running on high, and has been for
the past 3 months since it was last used. That was the cause of the high
OT, but when I was doing some work, with county permission, in public
woods and fields in suburban Baltimore, I found a 2" water pipe
running full blast. It was horizontal and the water was going out 2
1/2 or 3 feet by the time it fell 1 foot.
I called the county water deparment and they wanted the address, but
it had no address, it wasn't even near a street (although it was near
an expressway, I don't think that would be an address). Since there
was no address, they had me call Baltimore City (which is like a
separate county, and about the same size, but with more people) They
wanted the address too, and iirc when it didn't have an address, they
told me to call the county. IIRC it took a month to get the water
turned off, even after I made the last phone call.
On the other side of the xway, and maybe 600 feet, there was an area
an acre or more that was flooded, and we had been waiting for almost a
year for the water to dry up. We thought it was from the stream right
there which we assumed overflowed in heavy rains. Plainly there had
been flooding because the chain link fence that bordered the
expressway had been covered with grass so the water would not flow
through, and then the fence knocked down. So there had been flooding,
but we waited almost a year, checking every 2 to 8 weeks, and I kept
wondering when the dry season would come.
Then I found the pipe, a month to get the water turned off, and in
anotther month, the land was dry, iirc. By then, we had found another
way to do things, so we didn't need to do any work there after all!
This pipe must have been running for at least 11 months, and maybe
Kravynn posted for all of us...
I don't top post - see either inline or at bottom.
I didn't read through all the responses so I may be repeating others...
The breaker box has nothing to do with electric consumption other than if there
is an internal problem in it which would result in heat or fire. Does the box
allow you to put your hand on it without being burnt? Some parts may be warmer
than others but NOT hot enough to burn.
Looking logically - you had new AC installed - costs go up - you are cold. My
conclusion is AC never shuts off. It could be the thermostat or another
control. What is the problem and solution is not your concern. Call the AC
company back and have them fix it. The landlord should understand that you are
not complaining for the sake of complaining but rather realize that operating
the system in this manner will shorten it's life and increase his costs. The
company sold this saying it would decrease costs and increase comfort - neither
of which it is doing.
Like others mention your thermostat/AC system is out of wack if you are
freezing when the AC is set at 80-82 degrees. The landlord should take care
of this. I had a case where the HVAC duct came off and was cooling the crawl
space. Maybe worth checking for duct leaks too. I would expect a large
utility bill if nothing was done relative to insulation and windows for a
mid 50s house where energy was so cheap then.
As for the breaker box, its properly not the cause of your huge electrical
bill. A lesser effect is when you have a loose connection at the breaker and
you pay a little extra in heating the contact points. Further the wire
insulation wires may burn up and the breaker may trip or fail due to excess
heat. Another thing I could think off is that your panel may be way off
balanced with respect to electrical load where one bus is way overloaded
with respect to the other at he panel. Don't know about your electrical
company but some will bill on the peek values so balancing the panel by
bring the peek load down will bring down the electric bill. Your electrician
brother should know what I'm talking about and could give you more details.
But again don't think the breaker box is the cause of your huge electrical
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