Thursday, August 4, 2011

Some Like it Hot

Are you tired of watching $200-$400 electric bills roll in this time of year because your ac is running constantly? I may have come up with a novel solution. In addition to changing your filters regularly (I hope we all are doing this), there is a more basic solution to consider.

I learned this after spending a week in Haiti last month where there was no air conditioning. Sleeping under a mosquito net with only a fan blowing on you gives you a different perspective. (actually the fan was an improvement over my previous trip). While there I rediscovered an interesting phenomenon. After about 2 days of sweltering I began getting used to the heat. Sure it still felt hot, but it did not bother me as much. Many times, when the breeze kicked up it was actually pleasant (in the shade).

When I got back to Miami Airport (and into air conditioning) we felt like we were walking into a freezer. Several of us felt that this was such a waste of electricity. We were actually cold. When I got home I resolved to raise the thermostat a couple of degrees. We usually keep it at 78 in our house during the summer, but I bumped it up to 80 knowing that you get used to what you are exposed to.

To my surprise when the most recent electric bill came in it was $100 less in July than it was in June! I hadn’t realized that just a small change could make such a big difference in energy consumption.

Did my kids complain a little at bed time? Yes at first they did, but I just turned the ceiling fan on a little higher and offered to let them pay the FPL bill. They actually did get to sleep. (My wife is always cold so no problem there.)

I am often amazed when a resident in one of our properties complains that their A/C is not working well because it struggles to maintain 74 degrees in summer. What a waste of money. Dial it up and save.