In anticipation of the hot weather, you’ve had your air conditioning checked, cleaned your filter and tested the system. Everything’s a “go.” But when a hot spell arrives, you might walk into your home and feel – well — hot. If you joined the electric company’s energy saving plan, you may find yourself wondering whether or not you need to repair your air conditioner.
These programs were designed to save energy by offering cycling events or rolling shut downs on the power grid. In concept, it sounds good. We all want to do our part in conserving energy. The purpose is to prevent brown-outs and black-outs during peak periods. In general, these will help in emergency heat situations. There are also times when the power company is simply trying to drive down the price of power and they are using cycling to do it. They tell you this up front as you consider joining the program, and it is listed on their websites, but on a hot day when your air conditioner is cycled down, you may not appreciate their motives. Normally, there is an override feature which allows you to override the cycling of your air conditioning – but it has its stipulations. For example, you may only be able to override twice in the entire summer. That’s a tough one if it’s a summer full of Maryland 90-degree days.
Also, how do we know when there will be a shut down? What if it’s on the day of your daughter’s graduation party and it’s a high of 90 degrees? What if it’s on the day that you stay home from work to get household chores done? The shut-down can cause the house to become uncomfortably hot. And let’s face it. It takes quite a bit of energy to cool the house back down again.
These energy-saving programs sound great in theory and when we sign up for them, we often don’t think through all the possible scenarios. Inevitably, you’ll be wondering if your air conditioning needs work, when all it really needs is to be on an energy-saving cycle that considers your individual schedule and needs.