PING: All you AC/HVAC experts

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As you said, there are a lot of factors. What is the SEER rating of the existing unit? Does the unit have and is using a dry-air mode? As Mac stated, they re-heat the air to remove humidity and use about twice the
electricity to do it. You only have R11 insulation in the walls and that in a word - SUCKS! Was the house even wrapped before the siding was installed? What kind of windows do you have? Are they at least dual-glazed? Are they low-E type glass. IF not, I would suggest at a minimum, a low-E solar film. You probably could also add another layer of insulation in that attic. I would also look for air leaks around those windows and external doors. Does this house have a crawl space, basement, or on a slab? If it has a crawl space I would check the insulation and vapor barrier under there as well. A larger AC unit will probably not save you any real money if your heat gain is way up there and the rapid cycling of the unit will shorten its life as well. Perhaps you might want to have an energy audit done.
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"azwiley1" < snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com> wrote in message
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Damn Tbone, did you read any of the other posts I made? I answered a lot the questions you asked, about SEER, about windows, about Low-E, about tints/film, window coverings.
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When I posted that the post where you answered those questions was not available to me yet.
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"azwiley1" < snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com> wrote in message
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SURE! <VBG>
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The AC is the most likely culprit, but don't overlook other things. A little clamp-on ammeter can help you diagnose things. For example, a friend of mine had a bill one month double his previous month's bill... turned out he had a bad dehumidifer where the humidostat went on it, causing it to run all the time.
Turn off everything in the house (that you can), and check your run-rate on your meter (hopefully, you have one of the newer meters with digital readouts, so you can get a base KW/hr number). Then, kick the CAC on, and see what it's drawing - see if that jives with the data plates on the compressor and air handlers.
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On Tue, 7 Aug 2007 15:47:45 -0400, "Tom Lawrence"

spending about $25 a month more than the average in the neighborhood, though we conserve and most there didn't...
We replaced a 5 or 6 year old "energy star" refrigerator with a slightly larger one and our electricity bill went down over $90 a month... paid for the damn frig in less than a year!
Now, we're bitching about running the AC a lot and having to pay $125 for electricity last month... almost like living in a foreign country!
mac
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wrote:

$125.00 huh, YOU SUCK! :-)
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wrote:

About $20 more than that per month here in Michigan.
Ken

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time of year?
mac
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hee hee
It's subsidized by the Mexican government and they move the subsidized amount from 75 KWH to 300 KWH during the summer... Our bill for May, the 1st "summer rates" month, was $33 US because we didn't run the AC that month..
We never used the central air in the house in the states and still averaged about $250 a month for electricity..
mac
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mac davis wrote:

$90/month just from the fridge??? My entire electric bill is only about $200/max in the summer and $50/winter. You must live in an area with some seriously expensive electricity!!
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Ok, so let me ask this, if I were to replace the current AC unit with something larger (4 ton vice 3 ton) and with a higher SEER rating, what brands would you recommend and why?
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azwiley1 wrote:

Carrier or Trane. Easier to find qualified techs as well as parts when needed. My family was in the A/C business for many years until retirement and those brands became the standard.
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As Mike and many others have said, bigger is not always better. What size is the one you have now and how long does it run on each cycle during the hottest part of the day? As I'm sure that you know, the bigger they are the more power they are going to use so unless your existing unit is running almost non-stop (like mine) then up-sizing it will save you nothing. Now going to a higher SEER rating will save you some money. It's just a matter of how long it will take to pay you back with the cost of installation and the unit itself. That is the one advantage of a gas-pack unit that my house uses for the first floor, it is self contained and installation costs are minimal. As for the manufacturer, I really think that is a matter of personal opinion. While Miles mentioned Carrier, IIRC, Steve (an HVAC installer and business owner) was not a huge fan of them. I would say that any of the major manufacturers such as Rudd, Rheem, Carrier, Trane, all have there advantages and disadvantages and your best bet would be to pick up the phone book and see what is the most popular in your area because that will give you the best chance of getting parts if and when it breaks down and possibly the best price due to competition.
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TBone wrote:

I currently have a SEER 10 unit but not sure of size. I had my old one replaced last year. If I had gone to a SEER 15 unit every A/C person I talked to said that unit would be larger. The coolant lines would be much larger, larger compressor and the exchanger (I have a heat pump) much larger. Estimated bills would be cut 25-50% but unit would cost about $5000 to install vs. the $2200 it cost to stay with a SEER 10. Most of that difference was because the higher SEER A/C unit would require replacement of my exchanger with a much larger unit. So in my case a higher SEER larger unit would be better...but much more costly.
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I was not referring to the SEER rating where bigger is almost always better (and more expensive to start out with), I was referring to the tonnage in which bigger is not always better and in some cases, much worse and more expensive to operate.
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pay for itself in power savings...
Also, have you considered mini-splits, or are they not usable with your type of construction?
We love ours because with 4 units of different sizes, we only cool the area that we're in... That usually means not running the 1 ton unit in the guest room, (your fault), or the 3 ton in the great room...
OTOH, the 1 ton in our bedroom runs damn near 24/7 and the 2 ton in the shop runs all day... A central unit with selected room vents closed saves some, but you're still cooling the ducts and stuff, I would think..
mac
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<snip>

mac
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wrote:

I work with a lady who's going to follow you to Mexico when she retires. She's got me thinking about it also. I know several people who would be retired if not for health insurance costs.
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BigIronRam wrote:

So, what happens to your property and assets if/when Mexico decides to nationalize like they did in the 70's?
Craig C.
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