If you have ever dieted, you know that you will never get your desired results unless you make a full dedication. There is no such thing as “trying” a diet, if you actually want to see results. Often, a lifestyle change is involved, as one must change their habits and at times, there may even be some slight discomfort involved in order to reach your goal. Any cheating from the plan will result in diminished results and continually cheating may even wipe out all your results.
At this point, you may be wondering… Why are we talking about dieting on a blog dedicated to HVAC and saving money on energy bills? For illustrative purposes, they work hand in hand. In order to see real savings on the new APS plans, you must make a full dedication. It is not something you can “try” and expect to see savings. This will often mean lifestyle changes and may even involve some discomfort in the form of temperatures to truly save. If the plan is not followed, you will likely diminish savings or even INCREASE your bill. A seemingly small “cheat” such as running the pool pump during on-peak hours for a Friday evening get-together; doing a quick load of laundry or turning the AC unit on for a short period, can easily increase your bill $45-$60 for the month, when on a demand charge plan.
There is, however, some good news! We compared summer bills from a customer who was formerly supercooling on the Combined Advantage Plan, to the rates of the new “Saver Choice Max” Plan. We calculated the cost of the bill as if the customer was on Time Advantage (no demand charge) for comparison purposes, using both the “old rates” and the “transition rates” that went into effect August 2017. In all instances, the customer would be close to the same (sometimes less) than the old time advantage rates, and even save over the transition rates.
3100 square feet, single level
2 AC systems
2 Pool Pumps
Attic Insulation – Good
Door/Window Seals- Tight
Off-Peak Temperature: Sleep- 73 Morning- 68
On-Peak Temperature: 84
Weekend Temperature: 75
All high loads (laundry, pool ect.) scheduled off-peak.
Here is a snapshot of June/July bills, figuring a 30 day month:
A couple of things to note: The home above is a standard track built home in Anthem. The insulation in the attic is good and the home is tight, so air is not entering/escaping through gaps in doors/windows. You can also see that the customer went to extremes, 68 degrees off-peak before Noon and all the way up to a toasty 84 degrees on-peak. The customer said the house rarely got to 84 degrees before on-peak hours ended and it started cooling back down. This can mostly be attributed to the insulation and thermal efficiency of the home. If you were previously super cooling and your home was reaching the upper temperature within 4-5 hours, your home is likely due for a top-off of attic insulation and a check of door weatherstripping (if you see light, weatherstripping needs to be replaced). Not only will this help keep your bill lower by keeping the units from running on-peak, it will also increase your comfort because the house will not get hot as fast. An inefficient house will not work with the new plans that include a demand charge.
Another opportunity for greater efficiency is switching over to LED lights instead of standard incandescent bulbs or even CFL bulbs. LED lightbulbs last much longer and emit almost no heat. You can run 6 LED bulbs (60 watt equivalent) on the same amount of electricity as 1-60 watt incandescent bulb. LED bulbs were very expensive when first hitting the market but now you are able to buy 6 packs of LEDs for a similar cost, in comparison to just a single LED a couple of years ago. Lastly, make sure your filters are clean and your systems have been inspected and are running efficiently. Turn off any appliances you are not using and if you use multiple refrigerators/freezers, see if there is an opportunity to condense into one.
The calculated savings are based off of the current 7 on-peak hour plan. One exciting thing is the new on-peak hours are only 5 hours, which gives less time for the house to heat up. This will contribute to possibly greater savings. The only draw back is the on-peak hours do not end until 8:00pm. If you usually retire to bed early, it may be a couple of hours until the room becomes a comfortable sleeping temperature.
8pm-5am- Desired sleeping temperature; under 75
73-78 degrees constant temperature
With the above schedule, I believe customers will save money without sacrificing a lot of comfort. As was mentioned at the offset, you must consider your energy usage as a diet, if you want to save money. Any cheating will offset all the hard work put into saving, so it’s important that the whole family is on board and ready to make a dedication to saving money and energy!
Q: How much will I save?
A: If the super cooling plan is strictly followed, A/C systems are functioning correctly and your home is well insulated, it is not uncommon to see triple digit savings during the cooling months.
Q: Does Super Cooling hurt my Air Conditioning units?
A: Not at all! Conversely, it is easier on the units. The highest stress on an A/C unit is at start up. If we keep the unit running instead of cycling on and off, it gets less wear and tear. Think city driving vs. highway driving, similar concept.
Q: When should I start to run my A/C System on the Super Cooling Schedule?
A: If your A/C is running AT ALL during the peak time frame, you should be super cooling. So, unless the system is OFF, it should be following the super cooling schedule.
Q: Will my electric usage go down?
A: Nope! But because the power is being used during the OFF-Peak hours and your demand is low during the ON-Peak hours, you will still save.
Q: Do I have to use a programmable thermostat?
A: Technically no. However, even one slip-up for as little as 15 minutes, could ruin your savings for the month. So, a programmable thermostat is HIGHLY recommended.
Q: Do I have to turn my A/C system OFF during the ON-Peak time frame?
A: Yes. Because the demand charge is based off the highest usage at one time, any time during the ON-Peak time frame for the month. If the A/C turns on at all during the 3:00PM – 8:00PM time frame, that will be the highest demand time frame and this will be used to calculate your demand charge. (Highest Kilowatt Hour Demand ON-Peak x $17.438 = Demand Cost)
Q: What if my house gets hot shortly after the A/C system(s) turn off during the ON-Peak time frame?
A: Something is wrong. Possible culprits include: Not cooling the house off enough prior to the ON-Peak time frame; Poor Insulation; high traffic in and out of the house (think kids, in and out the door during summer break); Activities that create heat in the home (I.E. Cooking/Baking).
Q: What if I cannot handle the temperature swings?
A: Super cooling is a strategy to save money and increase the overall comfort in the home. However, for those who cannot handle the cold morning temperatures and warmer afternoon temperatures, super cooling may not be for you.
*Notice: Blog is for educational purposes only. ProSkill Services does not guarantee savings.