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What Other Steps do I need to take?

QUESTION: What steps can I take so that my a/c turns off during the day when temps go above 85 degrees? BKGRD: I've got a 1,400 sq ft top floor condo apt in which I'm having new a/c unit and air handler installed (2 ton air conditioner, 24000 btu air handler - First Co. AquaTherm). It will be 13 SEER. If it's like my current unit, it will run continuously daily when the temps go above 85 degrees, even if I set the programmable thermostat at 74 (any higher and I won't be able to sleep, sorry). I have ceiling fans in the bedroom, loft, and main room on entrance level, that run continuously. Apt faces NNW, has single-pane uninsulated windows facing same, as well as W, and single pane uninsulated skylight windows facing NNW. All the windows are covered. One of your articles linked me to a site wherein I measured ceiling height (avr 12 ft at tallest), selected nearest city, measured walls exterior and interior, measured windows, etc. The resulting calculation was that my home needed 20,400 (+/- 1,000) btu/hour. FOOTNOTE: Similarly, my heating runs endlessly in winter when temps fall below 30 degrees. I live in Rockville, MD, a suburb of Washington, D.C.

Re: What Other Steps do I need to take?

Have them install a multiple settings programmable thermostat.

Then set it to 89 during the day, from 8 to 5, then as you are commuting home it will lower to 80-85 for you to be comfortable in the evening and at night it will drop to 74.

I have a 3 stage thermostat. In the summer it comes up to 78 because my sons and I are home during the day, when it's time for my husband to come home the thermostat comes on to lower the temp to 74 then at 10 or 11 the thermostat kicks it on again to bring the temp down to 72 for the night.

It works well to keep our bill down to a manageable level.

Re: What Other Steps do I need to take?

Nice options there Debby...I do nearly the same thing. Saves alot on the bills, which I think is a major plus!

Re: What Other Steps do I need to take?

silverbde .... by some of your description it sounds like part of the issues have to do with heat gain from questionable insulation .... single pain windows and skylight .... western exposed window(s).

Having the temperature set for 74 degrees during the day when you're not at home would likely cause the A/C to run quite a bit.

The same can be said ..... though in the opposite thinking .... for the heating season.
With the points about insulation and single pane windows would have a heat loss effect.

If you have the temperature set for the thermostat at a high value when you're not home during the day would cause the heating system to run more continuously.

As Debby touched on .... setting the values on a programmable thermostat can be beneficial.

For example .... during the cooling season have the temperature set for a higher value when you're not home during the day . Then have it programmed to a reasonable temperature before returning home ..... just remember the lower the temperature setting the longer the A/C will need to run.

The same principal would apply ..... though the reverse ..... for the heating season.
Set the temperature for a lower setting when you are not home during the day and have the temperature programmed for a reasonably higher value for when you return home for the evening ....... just remember the higher the temperature setting the longer the heating system will run.

Hope this helps. :)

Re: What Other Steps do I need to take?

Thanks to debbysewn, rachael24 and canuk for your insights and advice. It confirms for me that my next home improvement project will be upgrading the windows. In the meantime, I'm going to give the increased temperature settings a try. (I've recently installed a Honeywell 5-1-1 digital programmable thermostat that allows for four settings per day.) The greatest concern for me as I work thru that will be the health of my two cats. I'm at work from 0530 til 1930 each day. I'll let you know how it works out. Thanks again, silverbde :)

Re: What Other Steps do I need to take?

... and I hope it goes without saying that you keep blinds or curtains closed on the windows,right? I don't know how to shield the skylight, unless you can get up there and cover it with something for the summer. The less heat in, the less to contend with, right? (I even tape aluminum foil over the windows in my garage doors in the summer and put up thick curtains on the windows facing the south. Ever since I got new siding and new 'barn doors to the back yard, and a solid attic access cover, it really holds the heat! I take it off and remove the curtains in the back for the winter, when i want the warmth in there).

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