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Old 08-16-2010, 06:10 PM   #61
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The fan that lets that hot air out from the attic through the roof, cooling the attic, isn't working. Frank thinks it might be the fan's thermostat that starts the fan, or maybe it has an on/off switch that needs to be hooked up somehow, but then again it might be the fan itself I suppose.
In my house, the ceiling under the attic used to be literally hot to the touch on a summer day. I added an electric vent fan and an additional 6 inches of fiberglass insulation and the house is much cooler even if I don't run the AC.

If it is just the fan thermostat, it is an easy fix.
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Old 08-16-2010, 06:34 PM   #62
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Sounds like you need to keep your thermostat set at 75 or so until you get the attic ventilation problem solved. Your A/C is probably working so hard to overcome the 10 degree setback in the heat of the day that you're using more electricity than you're saving by going up to 85.
I'll keep that in mind. At 75 or 85, it is running constantly during mid-day at this time of year. I know that's hard to understand for you folks sitting in cool, crisp central Texas. So anyway, I'm using plenty of electricity either way.

At some point I will fix the fan and sell this money pit house, and then it will all be the new owner's problem.

It's down to 85 inside, and a big line of thunderstorms will be barreling through shortly so that should cool things down.
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Old 08-16-2010, 07:33 PM   #63
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At some point I will fix the fan and sell this money pit house, and then it will all be the new owner's problem.
You understand, of course, your house-fix-up/listed-for-sale delay is beginning to resemble Rich's "just one more year" syndrome...
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Old 08-16-2010, 07:48 PM   #64
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You understand, of course, your house-fix-up/listed-for-sale delay is beginning to resemble Rich's "just one more year" syndrome...
Words of wisdom. My moving dilemma involves some inner conflict and ambivalence, and while I wouldn't want to speak for Rich I would speculate that perhaps his "one-more-year" syndrome is similar in those respects.
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Old 08-16-2010, 08:08 PM   #65
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We keep it at about 74 to 76 during the summer. I am happy enough with 76, DH would like 72 so we compromise at around 74 during the day. We have 3 units so the upstairs is on a different setting. We do use programmable thermostats and upstairs (where kids are) we program them to go up when kids are out at school.

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I'm happy with 74 but I can feel a substantial difference if it gets a degree or two over my favored temperature. Fed - if you don't feel good over 70 keep it low. Your wife can throw on a long sleeved shirt but taking off your shirt won't help.
Everyone always says this, but as someone often freezing it really doesn't work. That is when the air temperature is cold even if you bundle up you can still be miserable. The cold against the face for example and breathing it in is just miserable.

One reason I don't sleep any more in my mother's house when we visit is that we can't get together on temperature. She won't set the AC below 82 (I'm talking about when it is over 100 outside). During the winter she won't set the heat above 62. I remember the time it was well below freezing (this is not a cold environment) and she wouldn't put the heat above 62. I was so miserable. Now I just stay in a hotel when I visit.
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Old 08-16-2010, 08:50 PM   #66
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Just cold enough to keep DW and the kids from pestering me.
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Old 08-16-2010, 08:52 PM   #67
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One reason I don't sleep any more in my mother's house when we visit is that we can't get together on temperature. She won't set the AC below 82 (I'm talking about when it is over 100 outside).
Yes, that would be a problem.

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During the winter she won't set the heat above 62.
Is that bad? I set mine at 45.
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Old 08-16-2010, 08:59 PM   #68
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78 deg downstairs and 79-81 degrees upstairs. Ceiling fans over every bed. Since outside is 100 degrees and about 110% humidity in the day and rarely below 80 deg at night, I would freeze if the house temp was much below 78. A/C has cost about $200 in electricity in June & July. I suspect August bill will be $220.
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Old 08-16-2010, 09:17 PM   #69
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I could have called the guy back and yelled at him, but since I was already up there, decided to patch it up with duct tape myself. Worked like a charm!
There's duct tape and then there's tape actually designed for real HVAC ducts. Hopefully you used the "good stuff" from the HVAC section of the hardware store. Common fix-everything "duct tape" has adhesive and backing that won't stand up to the heat of an attic or hot duct, and gets brittle in a few years regardless. I'm a big fan of the silver aluminum/mylar tape--it sticks well and is designed to last for a very long time in HVAC use.

+1 on your observation about most home repair professionals. It's a little like investing for retirement--If you just blindly turn it over to a "pro," there's absolutely no gaurantee that he/she is competent and is puting your interest first. So you have to do research yourself to figure out what "right" looks like. By the time you've done that, often it's easier, cheaper, and even less trouble to do it yourself.
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Old 08-16-2010, 10:50 PM   #70
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We keep it at 72 degrees. If it gets down to <69 at night we will open the windows. Last month it was was run 27/7 so my electric bill was almost $600
We like to keep it cool at night to sleep better.
The upstairs is on another a/c unit and we keep it at 75, the kids don't need to be as comfortable till they pay the electric bill

Time for a windmill?!?
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Old 08-16-2010, 11:19 PM   #71
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I had no idea that I was keeping the house so much cooler (73 deg F) than the ER community average. I don't think I'd be enjoying myself if the house was 80 degrees all day. In the summer (most days over 90 degrees), our electric bill is about $150 per month. If $100 of that is for the AC, then that's about $3 per day. Dang, that's a bargain.

The house was built in 1959, and though I've upgraded the windows and attic insulation, it's certainly no Energy Star showcase home. Our electricity costs just about the national average (11 cents /kwh).
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Old 08-17-2010, 07:03 AM   #72
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W2R: it sounds like something is wrong with your A/C. If it ever cooled you down it still should, hot attic or not. I started having a problem that sounds like yours and the A/C guy cleaned the coils to no effect. He told me the unit was putting out all it could. He said I would need to replace it but recommended that I try to tough it out for a couple of years until good non-freon units came on line. I used window units in the bedroom during 90+ weather after that and the A/C was OK in the 80s. The next year I tried a different A/C guy to get a second opinion. He concluded the same thing. Last year (3rd year) I called in an A/C outfit that was recommended for installing a replacement roof unit. They sent out a top guy to size things. He checked out the existing unit carefully and concluded that the other two outfits had missed some sort of internal coils (mine is an unusual compact unit with the compressor and evaporator in the same box all on the roof). Whatever it was, he cleaned it up and the unit has been working fine ever since. We had the worst summer I can remember this year and the A/C was great.
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Old 08-17-2010, 10:09 AM   #73
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W2R: it sounds like something is wrong with your A/C. If it ever cooled you down it still should, hot attic or not. I started having a problem that sounds like yours and the A/C guy cleaned the coils to no effect. He told me the unit was putting out all it could. He said I would need to replace it but recommended that I try to tough it out for a couple of years until good non-freon units came on line. I used window units in the bedroom during 90+ weather after that and the A/C was OK in the 80s. The next year I tried a different A/C guy to get a second opinion. He concluded the same thing. Last year (3rd year) I called in an A/C outfit that was recommended for installing a replacement roof unit. They sent out a top guy to size things. He checked out the existing unit carefully and concluded that the other two outfits had missed some sort of internal coils (mine is an unusual compact unit with the compressor and evaporator in the same box all on the roof). Whatever it was, he cleaned it up and the unit has been working fine ever since. We had the worst summer I can remember this year and the A/C was great.
donheff, maybe it's the climate difference but down here failing attic fans cause this sort of thing to happen all the time. At least, just about every single person in my area to whom I have mentioned this story can recall a similar story from their own past. The A/C works beautifully when it is only moderately hot (in June, for example), and it is only in the worst part of summer that the problem arises. So anyway, I am not going to get too worried about it.

My house was frosty cool last night as it is every night. We have gone for weeks with the outside temperature above 80 at night this summer. Last night I turned it down to 71 (which it reached quickly), just for fun.

The A/C problem you describe having had does not sound at all similar to an attic fan problem, I agree. Glad you found someone who could properly clean your A/C coils!
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Old 08-17-2010, 10:17 AM   #74
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If $100 of that is for the AC, then that's about $3 per day. Dang, that's a bargain.
I have come to the same conclusion regarding heating and cooling costs. It all comes down to what do you value. Comfort is very important to me (and my family). Our costs may be closer to $4 a day for heating and cooling in the absolute worst 2 months of the year and probably half that the remaining months (with a couple months at zero).

A few dollars a day is a small price to pay for comfort. I could jack the temp up by five degrees and save around a buck per day in the hottest part of the year. But it isn't worth it to be uncomfortable most of the time.

I just came up with a thought experiment regarding this situation. Imagine going to a hotel. Say they charge $60 a day for a room with no A/C (and it is located in a hot environment). Would you pay an extra $4 a day to have A/C that makes the room very comfortable? I would.
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Old 08-17-2010, 10:37 AM   #75
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We keep it at 72 degrees. If it gets down to <69 at night we will open the windows. Last month it was was run 27/7 so my electric bill was almost $600
We like to keep it cool at night to sleep better.
The upstairs is on another a/c unit and we keep it at 75, the kids don't need to be as comfortable till they pay the electric bill

Time for a windmill?!?
Are your A/C units old? New A/C units are unbelievably efficient, and I think you might even get a tax break for upgrading as well. To me, a $600/month electric bill is simply outrageous.
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Old 08-17-2010, 10:49 AM   #76
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Your wife can throw on a long sleeved shirt but taking off your shirt won't help.
Funny, but this is part of the "logic" we have in choosing to live where we do (mid-Atlantic).

We were born/raised in this climate and enjoy the seasons. While in the military, we lived just under two years in the Florida Panhandle (Eglin AFB), so we are familiar with mostly year-round warm weather.

Our reason (as related to temperatures) to come back here after I was discharged was the same idea; that is you can always put on more clothes (e.g. layer), but you can't take them all off.

Even with today's weather in our area (most days above 90, for the last three months), my wife is looking forward to cooler days and some outerwear...
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Old 08-17-2010, 11:26 AM   #77
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I just received my electric bill:

A/C set on 69 all month. Temps outside: 90-100 during the day and 70-80 at night for at least the past month. We used 1836 KWh for the month (don't know how much of that is A/C). Cost: $160.64.
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Old 08-17-2010, 01:09 PM   #78
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Our highest bill last year was in Aug. Usage of 3894 KWhr at a cost of $419. Daily usage of 126 KWhr. And our two-story house is 2800 sqft, which does not qualify as a McMansion. I do not remember the SEER of the AC, but it was only a few years old.

Yes, it is hot here, but I suspect my college-age children are the energy guzzlers at home. Now that my daughter has moved out, it might explain why our consumption for July 2010 is only 2704 KWhr, compared to last year of 3656 KWhr.

As my children do not have to bear the cost and "feel the pain", they simply see no reason to conserve. I have two water heater tanks of 50 gal each to make use of the solar water heater, and they have been known to run both tanks cold! Now when visiting my daughter's apartment, I see that she sets the thermostat on the warm side. Yes, when things are not "free", one tends to be not so wasteful.
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Old 08-20-2010, 06:37 PM   #79
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NW Bound,
What I find interesting is your rate .107 is the same as ours in S.E. Texas. We also have 2,800 sq ft but In July, we used only 1412 kwhr.
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Old 08-20-2010, 07:02 PM   #80
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1412 KWHr vs. 2704 !

There, we have it, ladies and gentlemen. Despite what REW has repeatedly claimed, you want to move to Texas. Do not, repeat, do not move to AZ, particularly the low desert area. You have been warned! Ask yourself how much of this "dry heat" you can stand.
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