Like a million other people, we were affected by the storms and lost power for days. Thanks to my forward thinking, handy husband we have a generator and were able to power the fridge, freezer, one light, the water pump, a couple of fans, and the LED tv. We are blessed. We lost some limbs, but no damage to the house or cars. We are blessed.
There are still people without power and it's supposed to over 100 today and tomorrow. So for just a minute I'm going to focus all my positive energy in a single direction and pray that everyone is able to thrive during this time.
Last year we chose not to use the air conditioner. Primarily because it was quite old and needed frequent repairs, second because I prefer actual air, not conditioned air, third because we create a better world when we more thoughtfully use our resources. This year, we decided to replace our old unit.
Actually, we've been purposefully replacing all our old appliances and electronics to improve our houses overall energy usage. It started with the television last year, which we replaced a plasma with an LED TV. The picture quality is fantastic. The screen size is exactly the same, but the housing and weight of the TV is greatly reduced. The best part is the energy usage is less than half for the LED.
That started me thinking about what else in our house was ancient. Replacing the fridge reduced our monthly electric bill by $20 - no joke. The old fridge was more than 10 years old and was a very basic model. The new fridge, with all the modern technology, is rated at $51 dollars a year (actual usage may vary ;). $5 a month!
We've replaced light bulbs (LED's are quite expensive, but I've begun switching to them as the cost to run is so minimal); the dishwasher, and the washing machine. All of which have contributed to an overall smaller electric bill which means less energy usage.
So, we started looking at air conditioners. Last year it was pretty uncomfortable in August and this year we'd already experienced several 90 degree days. Plus, the old unit was 15 years old and we just couldn't see putting more money into it. In addition, the furnace was also 15 years old and not very efficient either. Turns out we would benefit from a whole new heating/cooling system.
After several quotes and much consideration we jumped in with both feet. There are a lot of choices and you just have to go with your instincts. My best advice: educate yourself, get more than one quote, stick to your budget, keep an open mind, trust your instincts. (Actually that advice is good for everything, isn't it?)
They came, spent two days, left us with more than we expected, wouldn't leave until we were happy - and we are. One full month into it, we are happy! It has been quite a month of high temps, storms and power outages, but every single time it kicks on, or we come into the house, we are happy. It's quiet, cool and best of all efficient. Our old unit cost us at least $100 every month we used it. This unit was just $45 for this first month. Chances are it will be higher as the summer progresses.