Heating, Air Conditioning, Fridge, HVAC/Trying to lower Summer A/C bill

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Question
I live in stockton, CA in a two story (1905 sq ft)house where its pretty hot and my A/C bill goes up each summer ($300). I have a split system and Ive decided to try to keep the Central Air off this summer by installing a window unit in the second floor (905 sq ft)and closing off the top of the stairs so there is no cool air leakage out of the second floor. My question is 1) Is this approach even feasible for savings ? and if it is 2) What size window a/c would be recommended to install to keep the upper floor cool. I plan on putting a floor fan in the hallway from the masterbedroom (where the A/C unit will be installed) to help distribute the cool air from the bedroom and hallway to the only other room upstairs.  

Thank you

Answer
A window unit is cheaper, but you aren't going to find one large enough to cool the entire home.  It works if you are in only one or two rooms, but the drop-off is considerable.  Fans help a lot, good thinking.  But it sounds like your main issue if electrical cost, which you can probably have augmented by better insulation.  I'd have your power company check into what attic and wall insulation you have.  Have them inspect your ductwork for leakage.  Here in Florida, FPL, our power company offers replacement rebates to change to a better insulation material and covers a LOT of the labor and costs just to get your home more efficient.  I am constantly referring people to FPL to see what they qualify for, and then they decide to use me or whomever to do the work.  Age of the A/C unit and efficiency play a part in your bill too, so if it is more than 10 or so years you may want to start thinking about an upgrade.  As far as efficiency, when is the last time you cleaned your coils?  I always recommend every 2 years, but with pets or heavy usage sometimes sooner.  A dirty coil lets less air flow across it which makes it run longer and harder, thus using more power and raising your bill.  A simple $350 coil-clean every few years keeps you cooling well and quicker to keep the bill lower.  In Florida, my bill is about $200 a month.  We can whittle it down to $150 or so, but it isn't worth the hassle to argue with the girls.  An average bill in summer is $200 anyway, but I see larger houses with multiple units go as high as $500.  Again, call your power company and have them check into what you are spending every month on.  Maybe it isn't only your A/C, but your water heater cycling too often as well.  I wouldn't go the window unit route because they are only spot coolers.  If you want to chain yourself to a room or two in your home, fine, but if you have a system you should be taking care of it and finding out why it is costing so much.  TO throw another unit into the equation messes with air balancing when the main unit DOES come on.  Simplest solution is usually correct, and that is find out why it is a high bill and fix it.  

Heating, Air Conditioning, Fridge, HVAC

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Frank A.

Expertise

I will be happy to answer any basic HVAC question by a homeowner, installer, or technician about their split-system maintenance, repair, and installation. I would not be willing to do extensive research into the particulars of a specific system, but any homeowner looking to get questions answered about why we contractors charge what we do, explanations of why a certain part is needed, how to improve indoor air quality and basic repair. I specialize in ELECTRIC HEAT and HEATPUMPS...NOT gas or oil. Although I may be able to answer the odd question about gas and oil, please do not ask me questions pertaining to them because I am not an expert in that aspect of the field.

Experience

I repaired my father's unit when I was 9, and always had an interest in the field. Became a helper at 16, and am now a certified contractor for residential systems in HVACR. So I have over 20 years experience in the field, and add about 7 more of just dabbling and study.

Organizations
ACCA, Rheem Team, Trane Certified Contractors, Nordyne Distributors, a host of others.

Publications
HVAC Insider, A/C Experts, HVAC Contractor South Florida, mentioned as a reference in Trane Instructional Videos 2-5. My company was recognized in HVAC Insider in 2008, 2009, 2010, etc. I am personally mentioned in the articles pertaining to my awards.

Education/Credentials
EPA, Journeyman, Licensed contractor, NATE, Puron, Trane, Carrier, Rheem Team.

Awards and Honors
I won the ACCA technician award on the state-wide level 8 years running. This is the all-around A/C repair competition where most large companies each send their best guy to compete for the plaque. I am 12-for-17, rated as the #1 technician in Florida. I have the plaque to prove it. **I placed second in 2011, ending my 9 year run. But won it again in 2012, and the award should arrive in late January.

Past/Present Clients
Tommy Lee Jones, Santana Moss, Wayne Brandy, Jennifer Lien, Patrick Stewart, Jason Taylor, Kirsten Dunst, Majel Barrett Roddenberry, Robert Picardo, Ethen Phillips, Ashley Judd, Debbie Gibson among others.

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