How expensive is it to cool your house? (Phoenix, Surprise: transfer, neighborhood)
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The last house we were in was a single story, 1400 sqft and AC bill ran up to $300 n the summer. .. although this was mostly due to a faulty AC unit that was working full time and producing NO cool air. But even in the apt we had before that house, our AC ran to a max of $280... but it's only ever that high about 2-3 months, then it'll fluctuate in the lower ranges as the weather cools down. Our current house is a 2 story, 1900 sq ft, and we've only been here for 3 months now, and our a/c bill has been under $100 so far. We expect it to skyrocket to 300 in the summer, although we're typically careful to not turn the a/c on until off-peak electricity hours so to have the lowest bill possible. If possible, I recommend investing in fans in all rooms and tinting the windows if possible. Oh, that's the costs with APS. One thing you have to know moving to AZ from CA, is AZ electricity companies will charge you nearly 3x more than CA companies... it is the HUGEST rip off of a bill you will ever see, but there's nothing we can do about it. The only other electric company out here is SRP, but it is limited most homes east of Avondale and Peoria. I heard their charges are about the same as APS though and you can't really CHOOSe one of them at all. So it depends where you live, what you invest in, and how much a/c you use.
I don't know much about your other questions. No matter where you live in AZ, your a/c bill will be ridiculous in the summer... so I'd propose you just be prepared for a 300-400 summer bill, and put your priorities on the other things to narrow down a location.
California rates are higher.....I used to be a PCG customer...not much of a difference between SRP and APS, either. I own two properties and use both. NVE is higher than both, also (Nevada).
In this state, one of the biggest issues that comes up is the shoddy "contractor" grade quality that was built into these homes, making them extremely energy inefficient. Poor insulation(or no insulation), shoddy single-paned or bottom-of-the-barrel double-paned windows, poor attic ventilation, lack of proper weatherproofing, leaking ducts in the attic(due to the difference in pressure in your home and attic, your house is actually like a vacuum cleaner and you live in the dirt-bag, pulling in all the dirt, mildew, allergens, insulation and other gunk from up in the attic through your A/C system, think about that the next time you neglect to have your ducts inspected and repaired.)
People will spend money on all sorts of stupid crap, lawn ornaments and ornate stone fountains, decorative lighting, but the things that are really causing money to leak out of your wallet as if it was a sieve they tend to ignore, they'll complain and whine about them from time to time, but little usually ends up getting done because for the most part, its things you generally don't see or typically worry about.
Bottomline, your A/C unit should be inspected annually, just as you get regular oil changes on your car, you don't want to delay basic maintenance that can lead to poor efficiency, expensive repairs and expensive power bills down the road. The ducts should be inspected if not annually, then at least every couple of years. The insulation should be inspected every 5 years, this stuff tends to settle pretty darn quickly in the heat and if it hasn't been changed out in 10-15 years, its probably past time for that to happen. Also common sense indicates that you follow your monthly time of use as set forth by the utility company as well, making sure you limit your heavy electric loads to offpeak hours with say the exception of running the A/C.
If you follow these basic tips, for an average sized home, you really shouldn't be exceeding $200 a month in the summer.
I have had some questions about this too...our last aps bill was 1100.00!!!! we don't even really live in the house and my husband keeps the ac at about 77.....it's about 3900 fsf
APS has an energy efficient tune-up rebate that might be a good idea for you- they send in well-trained contractors to check the a/c unit(s) out for proper operation. The checklist of things that are required for the rebate is a good idea - it should be standard practice for all contractors, but until it is, at least with the rebate you know they're checking everything they should to ensure proper operation. Other than that, there's another rebate program for duct-sealing - the "average" home in the US dumps 15%+ of it's conditioned air into the attic or basement through duct leaks... APS will pay part of the cost of getting that checked and repaired for you... it's kind of a no-brainer...
Another worthwhile call would be to APS to make sure you're on the "right" power plan - the wrong plan can cost $100's per month...
After doing the above, then you might want to add some insulation to the attic if you've got less than 10 inches there... (R30)...
But... 3900 square feet is going to cost a few bucks to cool.. I'd expect closer to $500-$600 if things are set-up right...
My bills came yesterday for electricity and water. I live in a 1000 sq. ft. home built in 1948 in central Phoenix. 1900 killer watts and demand of 2.9 (combined advantage APS). $175. My water bill was $185. The Phoenix city council keeps raising the water bill to give raises to the people it didn't lay off. I don't want to let my trees die. My air conditioner was broken (but running non-stop) for one week of the month. Maybe I can get free lunches at one of the schools around here. As close as I can figure, the electric would have been close to $350. on the standard APS rate.
Last edited by BabsJohnson; 07-15-2011 at 12:19 PM..
The water bill seems to be the quickest way for the city to bring in revenue. Calvin Goode used to say, "The water bill is just a revenue vehicle." My yard isn't very big. I paid a lot of money for my trees and feel that they hold down the electric bill with the shade they give my house. I will give up restaurants and bars to use the money for water. It's just in the summer. A good part of the water bill is for the sewer system and trash pick-up. The residential Phoenix water bill starts at about $50./month with no water use at all. Then it goes up. I try to be careful with drip hoses around my trees. My neighbors with the nicest yards have water bills in excess of $300./month in the summer. A friend in the town of Paradise Valley says her neighbors have $600. and higher water bills. In comparison, I have a rental house with Salt River Project flood irrigation for $60./YEAR. That's one year. During the hot months the irrigation comes every two weeks. I take the irrigation for that house and fill it up a foot deep with water. I took irrigation on Thursday at 2 a.m. this week. You can take a drive in the car and find ten degree temperature drops in neighborhoods with irrigation.
Last edited by BabsJohnson; 07-16-2011 at 11:20 AM..
I did switch the plan we were on and they helped me to choose a plan that fit us better...it also cut off about 500 from our current bill (they retro added the acct or something) apparently I was on a low usage plan, which would explain the price being so high.....they said even in the hot months my bills should reduce to about 600 a month...whew!!!! much better number!!
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