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the ac electric bill from hell was: re: faulty kiln

updated thu 18 sep 03


wayneinkeywest on wed 17 sep 03

We are fortunate to live in what is the only frost-free city in the
continental US.
As a result, we have approximately one week per year where we need heat
(it dips into the 50s at night. Being on the ocean, that's cold and damp.)
That also means that we have 51 weeks a year of weather that requires
that AC be on. Unless you LIKE living at 80-90 degrees with 85% humidity.
We have a five ton unit cooling a 1550 square foot house. Anywhere else in
the country except CA or the Southwest, you can prob'ly get by with 3 ton,
but anyway...

We first got the central air in 1998. Tried only turning it on when we were
ostensibly to "save electric". The month before the AC, the 'lectric bill
was $95.
The first month WITH the AC, the 'lectric shot up to $450. I just about had
a stroke.
The second month, with the bill again at $450, I decided that either
something had
to be done, or I was going gunning for my AC contractor. When I called him,
listened, then laughed, and said ":Set your thermostat to whatever temp you
want (78)

Running all the time? This is nuts. I thought
he was out to bankrupt me, but then it started to make sense. Everything in
the space
you are cooling has mass. Once that mass gets cool (or warm, it works both
it is cheaper to _maintain_ that temp than to have it rollercoaster up and
We did as he suggested, and the bill has never gone over $150 again.
Now that I have an electric kiln, I can just imagine what is going to happen
to it.
BTW, our daily consumption _before_ the kiln is just over 1000Kwh.
Wayne in Key West

> At 12:19 PM 9/16/03 -0500, you wrote:
> >Thanks to Earl, I did the math and came up with 1,200 KwH being
> >for an average, but I didn't take into account small and incidental use,
> >such as radios, TV, the computers, the microwave and the toaster, and
> >Nor did I figure in the A/C in that math piece, so that would account for
> >the higher use in the summer, even though we usually only use it at night
> >when we are not here, since it's so loud...
> You use the AC when you're not even there? Huh?
> Is it really worth it? AC is a truly huge user
> of electricity, even when only used occasionally.
> If you really need to cool the building at night,
> could you convert to a swamp cooler, or do you
> live in one of those damp places? It might make
> the difference in bringing your peak usage back
> below the 'magic' 1500 KwH number.
> -Snail