June 25, 2009

Conditioning More Than Air

Back before the housing bubble splat the entrails of hope all over the economy there were countless mortgage commercials from both reputable companies and those not so reputable. There was one in particular that I remembered from Bank of America, I'm pretty sure, that showed this guy turning on all the lights in his empty house and opening all the windows and doors. He then calls his mother while standing in the open front door to tell his father that he left all the lights on and is air conditioning the whole neighborhood. The closing line that came across the screen was something about owning your own home lets you call the shots. That commercial bothered me then and it bothers me now.

Back when it aired it bothered me because I thought it was just careless and stupid. He could've just called his mother and figuratively told her that he had all the lights on and the windows open. But no, he had to waste all that energy and money. I assume he only did that once to prove the point but what does that say about his attitude as a home owner? Is he loaded so he can do whatever he wants? Is he that bitter about his parents teaching him how to use energy responsibly that he has to rub his mother's face in it? Apparently the answers are it sucks, yes and yes. What an asshole.

The commercial bothers me now because putting our air conditioning units into just two windows makes our electricity bill jump more than 50%. There are many reasons for the hike. We live on the third floor, our ceilings are incredibly high, and the windows are old and inefficient. But still, putting the units on relatively high temps and on energy saving settings our bill is just huge. Luckily this only applies for about three months of the year but it really sucks when we have to take money from our grocery budget so we can have the air conditioning. First world problems, I know. But when you can't sleep, when the food in your pantry goes stale much too quickly no matter what you do and you have issues breathing when really hot and humid, you need air conditioning. But you need to be responsible with it.

This summer I'm going to try to be even more responsible. I'm going to keep the set temperatures a few degrees higher than before. I'm going to block the rooms that lead off the living room with curtains to try and keep the room cooler longer. I'm going to draw curtains during the day to keep the sunlight down (none of it is direct sunlight but still warming.) I'm also going to turn the units off outright at night instead of letting them just kick on in the morning. These will all probably make very little difference financially but we'll give it a go this summer. At the very least, we'll be making the effort to be more responsible. That's something worth sharing with your parents.

1 comment:

dad said...

Suggestion: A fan can make a big difference, and is much cheaper than AC; especially to help you sleep. I suggest a pedestal-type, Home Depot sells one for $19.95 that has 3-settings and rotates--also claims to be an energy efficient motor, whatever that means. works really well for us!
Stay cool....