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Changing Your A/C For Energy Efficiency

September 28th, 2009 · 3 Comments · Green Products

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As some of my readers know, I have been working on my personal home over the past couple of years to get the Energy Usage down by adding insulation, contacting Free Lighting Corp to seal it up, change out light fixtures and appliances and other things that is proven can reduce usage.  My plan was to get everything changed out (including my windows) prior to changing out my air conditioner.  However, if you look at the chart above you can see that my unit decided to crap out on me right at the beginning of summer this year.  My bill reached an all time high and I gasped when I opened it up that month.

You see, I have always fought humidity in the home, condensation on the inside of my windows, needing to crank down the thermostat to feel comfortable…

I met Denny Patterson at Gulf Coast Green this past year as they had a 21 SEER Variable speed unit there for people to look at and we discussed efficiency in the home and hvac systems.  I was impressed with his knowledge so I contacted him to see what could be done to my A/C – obviously something was seriously wrong.

It was just worn out.  My 1200 sq ft patio home should NOT EVER use 3000 kwh per month especially as energy conscious as we are in this house.  My thinking was that in August if it kept going my bill would likely be about $600 if not more.  So, Denny and Airtron started putting bids together for me to change the unit.

I opted not to go with a unit that qualified for the Federal Tax Credit.  I suggest calling Denny for the specifics but basically with my home being built in 1982 and not brought up to today’s energy codes I simply did not feel that my home would benefit from such a high tech unit.

I opted to go with a variable speed 14 SEER Lennox that – being a variable speed it brings it up to the equivalent of a 15 SEER – The thermostat we went with was a programmable Honeywell that can not only be set for a certain Humidity level but can automatically toggle between Heat and A/C in those Fall Months in Houston where you wake up in the middle of the night freezing but using the A/C during the day.

What is Variable Speed?

The unit can run at TWO speeds.  A slow speed that simply reduces the humidity in the house and a faster speed to cool the house.  It allows the unit to not pull as much electricity unless it is needed.

It was an investment but I incredibly happy with it, quite possibly in my opinion the best investment I have ever made in the house.  The chart above for some strange reason is different than what is on my bill but the Bill shows my usage in August of last year to be nearly 1500 kwh – The other day when I got my bill the usage for last month was UNDER 1000 kwh.

Basically, had I dealt with the high bills and kept the old a/c running this unit will be paid for in a couple years.

Was it just the A/C?  I really don’t think so.  Being able to set the humidity in the house I am able to keep the Thermostat on 78 degrees even on 100 degree days and be absolutely comfortable.   It feels about 74 at that temperature.

The issue of condensation on the inside of my windows has also seemed to disappear for now.  The unit is so quiet I hardly know when it is on – and the guys balanced the ducts during the installation so that I do not have certain rooms hotter or cooler than another.

At this rate I project having an Electric Bill less than $100 in October and November and I am SO EXCITED to see what it ends up being.  I will update the post and let you know.

As for Denny and Airton I highly recommend them.  Their knowledge on how HVAC affects Energy Efficiency and the ability to properly size units, run the proper reports and so on is amazing.  If you are updating your unit to one that is more high tech and Energy Efficient you need use someone that can not only explain it to you but be able to maintain it properly to KEEP it efficient.

To contact Denny or Airton:

Denny Patterson – Airtron


3 Comments so far ↓

  • texas electricity bill

    texas electricity bill…

    As some of my readers know I have been working on my personal home over the past couple of years to […]…

  • Larry Peterson

    All good information – many sites go on and on about how wonderful it is be green, go green etc. but do not provide contact information which enables us to do so. Thanks!

  • steph

    Hi Larry,

    My goal is to not only help provide information but to lead readers to the proper experts. :) I am glad that you found it helpful. Stop by anytime.

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