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Old 05-07-2021, 08:24 AM
 
7,076 posts, read 8,530,515 times
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I'm back in Northern MN where it is sunny and a high of 52 degrees. I'm a snowbird.

Since 2011, I've turned my air off over the summer, I turned off the Fridge, unplugged everything I could (clocks etc), and placed upwards of 15 large buckets of water inside the home. I'd also ask my neighbor to babysit my battery devices (drills, etc) and candles in their home. In late August, I'd have someone refill the buckets until I returned in October. It's a PITA. But my power bill was close to zero.

Using this air-off approach, I'd lose some elastic every so often (sheet corners, and some clothes) even with placing buckets inside of closets. I also noticed some (especially red color) sauces turn color and go bad even if they are brand new. Because of this, I went out of my way to drain down all of the food in the cupboards. Again, a PITA thinking about meal planning etc.

We recently moved to a 2018 energy-efficient, 2950 square foot single-level home. This year, I decided to put out only a few buckets of water in the house by our leather sectional and set the air to 83 degrees. Why 83 degrees? More on that in a later post. But the number was derived by talking to Carrier and local technicians. Now, the Fridge is still on with the condiments in place and I no longer have the stress of trying to time using up salad dressings etc.

With SRP, the cost per kWh (Kilowatt Hours) changes in peak months. With SRP, I can see my daily and hourly usage. So I can report on both kWh per day as well as daily / monthly costs.

For the last few weeks, I was spending from $3 a day to $5 a day. Since I left I set the thermostat to 83 degrees on all three air conditioning units, I'm spending $1.50/day. Interestingly enough, the house reaches an equilibrium of about 80 degrees even when the temp is 98 degrees outside. That's because it gets cooler at night. So the air basically does not turn on. As it gets hotter (and the sun more intense), I will report what I learn. Obviously, the air will be running a whole lot more.

I'll post more on bills once I know more and as the summer gets hotter.
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Old 05-07-2021, 08:32 AM
 
Location: Sonoran Desert
34,506 posts, read 44,501,261 times
Reputation: 23542
We have been leaving for the summer the last couple years. Set the temp at 95. It saves a small fortune and nothing has been affected that I can tell. I have been leaving the fridge going but this year will probably throw out the three year old turkey etc and turn the thing off. We don't do buckets of water either. Without the AC running 24/7 and desiccating things, there is plenty of monsoon moisture in the house in summer.
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Old 05-07-2021, 09:24 AM
 
Location: Chandler, AZ
3,488 posts, read 3,535,739 times
Reputation: 4943
Our "Leaf" on the Nest Thermostats pops up at 80°...I was told once that A/C units operate at efficiency when set to no more than 20° below ambient temperature. Don't know how true that is but...even with no one in the home 90° in July would be pretty warm.
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Old 05-07-2021, 09:50 AM
 
Location: Bay Area CA
40 posts, read 14,467 times
Reputation: 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by MN-Born-n-Raised View Post
I'm back in Northern MN where it is sunny and a high of 52 degrees. I'm a snowbird.

We recently moved to a 2018 energy-efficient, 2950 square foot single-level home.

For the last few weeks, I was spending from $3 a day to $5 a day. Since I left I set the thermostat to 83 degrees on all three air conditioning units, I'm spending $1.50/day. Interestingly enough, the house reaches an equilibrium of about 80 degrees even when the temp is 98 degrees outside. That's because it gets cooler at night. So the air basically does not turn on. As it gets hotter (and the sun more intense), I will report what I learn. Obviously, the air will be running a whole lot more.

I'll post more on bills once I know more and as the summer gets hotter.
?

Do you have solar panel system then? That is very cheap.
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Old 05-07-2021, 10:49 AM
 
1,298 posts, read 1,570,809 times
Reputation: 1518
Quote:
Originally Posted by MN-Born-n-Raised View Post
I'm back in Northern MN where it is sunny and a high of 52 degrees. I'm a snowbird.

Since 2011, I've turned my air off over the summer, I turned off the Fridge, unplugged everything I could (clocks etc), and placed upwards of 15 large buckets of water inside the home. I'd also ask my neighbor to babysit my battery devices (drills, etc) and candles in their home. In late August, I'd have someone refill the buckets until I returned in October. It's a PITA. But my power bill was close to zero.

Using this air-off approach, I'd lose some elastic every so often (sheet corners, and some clothes) even with placing buckets inside of closets. I also noticed some (especially red color) sauces turn color and go bad even if they are brand new. Because of this, I went out of my way to drain down all of the food in the cupboards. Again, a PITA thinking about meal planning etc.

We recently moved to a 2018 energy-efficient, 2950 square foot single-level home. This year, I decided to put out only a few buckets of water in the house by our leather sectional and set the air to 83 degrees. Why 83 degrees? More on that in a later post. But the number was derived by talking to Carrier and local technicians. Now, the Fridge is still on with the condiments in place and I no longer have the stress of trying to time using up salad dressings etc.

With SRP, the cost per kWh (Kilowatt Hours) changes in peak months. With SRP, I can see my daily and hourly usage. So I can report on both kWh per day as well as daily / monthly costs.

For the last few weeks, I was spending from $3 a day to $5 a day. Since I left I set the thermostat to 83 degrees on all three air conditioning units, I'm spending $1.50/day. Interestingly enough, the house reaches an equilibrium of about 80 degrees even when the temp is 98 degrees outside. That's because it gets cooler at night. So the air basically does not turn on. As it gets hotter (and the sun more intense), I will report what I learn. Obviously, the air will be running a whole lot more.

I'll post more on bills once I know more and as the summer gets hotter.
I set my thermostat to 90 degrees when I'm gone for two weeks at a time and have never had an issue. I don't leave buckets of water either and have a leather sectional. No ill effects whatsoever. I'd never completely turn my AC off.
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Old 05-07-2021, 12:12 PM
 
7,076 posts, read 8,530,515 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nasudesu View Post
?

Do you have solar panel system then? That is very cheap.
I don't have solar. The cheap bills are because the evening low temps drop from 60-65 degrees at night (90-95 degree highs). That pulls the daytime internal house temps well below the high temperature of the day. When it is 100 degrees, the lows are around 70 degrees at night. So for now, the bills will be inexpensive because I am basically paying for automatic lights, cameras, a security system, and a couple of refrigerators. Meaning, right now, my air isn't even going on. But it will in June and especially July.

Fast forward to this summer. SRP in PHX area cost per kWh about doubles AND the evening temps will be much higher (because of the heat island affects. See https://schoolofsustainability.asu.e...%20environment. ).
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Old 05-07-2021, 12:35 PM
 
7,076 posts, read 8,530,515 times
Reputation: 6464
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ponderosa View Post
We have been leaving for the summer the last couple years. Set the temp at 95. It saves a small fortune and nothing has been affected that I can tell. I have been leaving the fridge going but this year will probably throw out the three year old turkey etc and turn the thing off. We don't do buckets of water either. Without the AC running 24/7 and desiccating things, there is plenty of monsoon moisture in the house in summer.
As I mentioned, we had elastic go bad because of the dry, hot house even when we added buckets of water. I litered the home with buckets. As in, I could feel the humidity build. In the garage, I've had mesh beach bags literally turn to powder. Now, I fill my city garbage can with water and put it in the garage. The level drops several FEET over the summer. lol If you google "adding tubs of water summarize Phoenix" you will see dozens of people mention adding tubs of water even with the air on. In fact, SRP mentioned it as well.

Re: your 95 degrees set-point. Two HVAC techs (as well as the Carrier distributor tech support in Tolleson) do not recommend going any higher than 85 degrees. One of the techs said if it was his home, he would not go above 83 degrees. The reason has to do when it gets 110 degrees plus and you run your air at higher internal temps, the (high?) line pressure jumps and it stresses the system. I would have to look at my notes. But 3 for 3 don't recommend it. You might want to dig into it some more. His point was either shut off the air completely or set it as high as 85 degrees.
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Old 05-07-2021, 12:40 PM
 
7,076 posts, read 8,530,515 times
Reputation: 6464
Quote:
Originally Posted by timothyaw View Post
I set my thermostat to 90 degrees when I'm gone for two weeks at a time and have never had an issue. I don't leave buckets of water either and have a leather sectional. No ill effects whatsoever. I'd never completely turn my AC off.
I'm discussing the stress and impact over 16 weeks. I cannot speak for a couple of weeks here and there. Assuming the Carrier support person who takes calls from techs in the field knows his stuff, they said here in PHX, don't go above 85 degrees. I'm parroting what they said and I took their advice.
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Old 05-07-2021, 01:35 PM
 
Location: Sonoran Desert
34,506 posts, read 44,501,261 times
Reputation: 23542
Quote:
Originally Posted by MN-Born-n-Raised View Post
As I mentioned, we had elastic go bad because of the dry, hot house even when we added buckets of water. I litered the home with buckets. As in, I could feel the humidity build. In the garage, I've had mesh beach bags literally turn to powder. Now, I fill my city garbage can with water and put it in the garage. The level drops several FEET over the summer. lol If you google "adding tubs of water summarize Phoenix" you will see dozens of people mention adding tubs of water even with the air on. In fact, SRP mentioned it as well.

Re: your 95 degrees set-point. Two HVAC techs (as well as the Carrier distributor tech support in Tolleson) do not recommend going any higher than 85 degrees. One of the techs said if it was his home, he would not go above 83 degrees. The reason has to do when it gets 110 degrees plus and you run your air at higher internal temps, the (high?) line pressure jumps and it stresses the system. I would have to look at my notes. But 3 for 3 don't recommend it. You might want to dig into it some more. His point was either shut off the air completely or set it as high as 85 degrees.
Well, my personal experience guides me here. 95 is it for me. It rarely runs at that temp anyway. I save enough on my electric bill to pay for the gas in my RV to the tundra and back. I've never seen any damage to fabrics or leather or anything else at that temp. That is cool for Arizona. My goodness how do our cars last? And I just have to laugh at the buckets of water. Sorry.

Last edited by Ponderosa; 05-07-2021 at 01:44 PM..
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Old 05-07-2021, 07:34 PM
 
Location: East Central Phoenix
6,896 posts, read 10,079,049 times
Reputation: 8139
Quote:
Originally Posted by MN-Born-n-Raised View Post
As I mentioned, we had elastic go bad because of the dry, hot house even when we added buckets of water. I litered the home with buckets. As in, I could feel the humidity build. In the garage, I've had mesh beach bags literally turn to powder. Now, I fill my city garbage can with water and put it in the garage. The level drops several FEET over the summer. lol If you google "adding tubs of water summarize Phoenix" you will see dozens of people mention adding tubs of water even with the air on. In fact, SRP mentioned it as well.

Re: your 95 degrees set-point. Two HVAC techs (as well as the Carrier distributor tech support in Tolleson) do not recommend going any higher than 85 degrees. One of the techs said if it was his home, he would not go above 83 degrees. The reason has to do when it gets 110 degrees plus and you run your air at higher internal temps, the (high?) line pressure jumps and it stresses the system. I would have to look at my notes. But 3 for 3 don't recommend it. You might want to dig into it some more. His point was either shut off the air completely or set it as high as 85 degrees.
I have a service contract where I receive HVAC inspections twice a year on a Trane system, and the technicians have said the same thing about the A/C thermostat setting: never set it higher than 85 degrees, even during the hottest part of the summer. Their reasons were exactly the same: higher settings cause stress on the system. There are other reasons, such as an A/C system being not only designed to cool the air, but for dehumidifying. That might sound ridiculous in a desert climate, but as you probably know, the onset of the summer monsoon in July causes increased humidity & dew point levels. Although some humidity is beneficial, setting your thermostat too high causes the A/C to not effectively dehumidify your home’s air. Other problems can arise from setting the temp too high: appliances such as refrigerators have to work harder, and won't cool as efficiently.

Seriously, I have never heard of filling barrels of water and leaving them inside the house if you're gone during the summer. I can see potential problems with that idea, but if it works for you, more power to you. BTW, congrats on having SRP as your provider. Although I'm not a fan of monopolized power companies, SRP is definitely the better of the two. APS has too much going against them as it is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ponderosa View Post
We have been leaving for the summer the last couple years. Set the temp at 95. It saves a small fortune and nothing has been affected that I can tell. I have been leaving the fridge going but this year will probably throw out the three year old turkey etc and turn the thing off. We don't do buckets of water either. Without the AC running 24/7 and desiccating things, there is plenty of monsoon moisture in the house in summer.
Terrible idea! Any qualified technician will tell you that anything over 85 degrees can be dangerous on so many levels. Setting the temp as high as you do adds stress to the HVAC system, and it's not healthy for your house in general. I leave periodically during the summer, but never set my thermostat any higher than 82 when I'm gone. The last thing I want is to come home from vacation and have my house feel like a g.d. sauna!
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