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  • Ray Austin

High Electric Bills 2022

Updated: Sep 19, 2022

This Air Conditioning topic is an old topic I get to relish in again this year because I proactively increased my AC efficiency several years ago (2019) when utility prices were much less then than they are this year.

If you are locked into a longer term Electrical Utility contract, only then have you escaped (temporarily). Utility rates as they sometimes do go up, maybe they get their act together and get the costs down. But things are different now than in the past because there is more and more things being plugged into the grid.

They (who are they?) the people at the switch like to tell you it’s because everyone is blasting their AC. Let’s not talk about plugging in EV’s or running a bitcorn mining operation? I like to tell you like it is, rather than just blame energy problems all on AC use.

The original thread is still there, I include a link to it so you realize this isn’t some elaborate gimmick. This is to show you how my personal use has faired with record heat this year as well as a 40% increase in utility costs. It’s different than the original thread which is why the need for a new blog post about this topic.

I compare these current electric bills to what I had before because I saved my old power bills when I had a 14 SEER single speed AC. If your AC was made in the last 10 years it is at least a 13 SEER unit. If it is older than 10 years the amount you save could be greater than what I show on this #1 Katy Texas AC blog post.

If record heat causes your air conditioner to run longer AND utility rates have risen at the same time your utility costs take a double whammy. That is what this AC blog post is about. (Katy, Texas area)

Simple Math / Tricks Your Utility Provider Pulls

The biggest trick is charging you variable rates or rates that change based on what you use by the month. Fall into or out of certain usage tiers and prices change. These things are all determined by your utility contract TOS (terms of service)

If you’ve ever seen the TV commercials the utility providers all say “We have the cheapest rates” But have you ever paid attention long enough to realize they say this without actually giving you the rate?

If you sign up you may get 1 rate if you use 1500 KWH per month or more. But if you use less like under 1000 KWH in any month what you pay for those are much higher than what you paid for the 1500 KWH. In some cases it could be as high as 2000 KWH. If they truly wanted you to conserve energy the less you use should cost you less not more. How’s that for a big conundrum?

It’s best to find a provider that charges the same rate (or close to it) for each tier. The tiers are 500 KWH / 1000 KWH / 1500 KWH / 2000 KWH. The reason it’s better to get the same price for all tiers is simple. Your utility usage will fluctuate over the course of a year. If your electricity provider plan is chosen from a cheaper price from the larger part of that scale and you never use that much energy you will pay a higher price for that less usage. It’s a trick, designed to trick you based on how much energy you use, versus what you are signing a contract for a specified amount of time. The electricity utility plan you choose can vary from a few months to several years. That too can affect price you pay in various ways.

If you sign up for a rate of 12 cents per KWH that is based on using 2000 KWH’s (kilowatt hours) compared to other rates this rate appears cheaper at face value. It’s only when you dig deeper and find this rate goes much higher if you don’t use 2000 KWH. The rate you actually pay could be 17 cents or more per KWH in 2022. (This is merely an example of what it could be, not necessarily what it is. These utility contracts come in many different shapes and sizes and some providers do more than just 1 or 2 contract types. Always save your utility bill statements. Those will tell the story very easily.)

The Easiest Way To Figure The Electric Rate You Pay Per KWH

KWH are the units in how the utility providers sell you electricity. If you went to the store and you bought apples by the pound to find the price per apple how would you figure that? Total cost of apples divided by number of apples = price per apple.

So ignore anything else on your bill. Some providers try to make this complicated as to fool you. Total price you pay and the number of KWH’s they sold you is all you need. Total cost (the whole bill including any / all fees): $290 divided by 1551 KWH = 0.186976 rounded to nearest whole cent = 19 cents.

This is just an example. My new rate for 2022 is around 14 cents a KWH, up around 40% since last year. If you are on a variable rate or some tiered rate monster you could be paying more than 14 cents right now.

My Utility Usage Record in KWH Used

So now that you have this understanding how electricity is sold to you this chart below will make more sense.

The price (whatever it is) can be adjusted to show what my savings are compared to what I pay now over various time periods of the past.

Record heat is also a thing because the more days spent at 100F degree heat will cause longer run periods for the same amount of comfort indoors.

While Katy, Texas has periods from time to time of record heat usually these amount to a few days to a few weeks. 2022 has been exceptional which is why I noted that on the chart below as RECORD HEAT.

System size / how many as well as other possible accessories all play a part.

When averages go up, so in turn can the savings.

From the Orange 14 SEER single speed unit total use 10948 compared to first year AC inverter of 5772.

10948 x 10 cent per KWH = $1094.80 total cost.

5772 X 10 cent per KWH = 577.20 total cost.

This example saves over $500 a year based on cost of 10 cents per KWH. (old utility rate)

New rate 14 cents

10948 x .14 =1542.72 5772 x .14 = 808.08 Find the savings new savings rate.

1542.72 – 808.08 = 734.64 The savings before was only a bit over $500. So there is even more incentive now that electric utility rates are higher.

This isn’t a gimmick, equipment replacement is necessary and what is required for one may be completely different for another. This can only be determined in person. Currently as of August 2022 this air conditioning equipment is available in extremely limited quantities.

A comment I’ve received via text from a customer who waited for 6 months for this Bosch equipment to get back in stock….

Notice they said they were loving the Bosch Inverter.

Want to see the installation of this particular AC unit? I embed the video below it’s included as a “special” toward the end of the video.

Bosch Inverter AC Install at the end of the above embedded video.

Spend a little bit more, the AC equipment will pay you back and give you more comfort as well. Is it for everyone? Not necessarily. Once we talk about your situation this can be determined. Remember I am here to help you make a decision that is right for you. Things are changing again in HVAC very soon. This will only get more complicated in the years to come.

For the Katy, Texas area an Inverter AC? there isn’t anything better at any price. It operates like a comfort dream in more ways than one.

Record Heat Compared To Normal Heat

This year it is due to a number of factors. Very little to no rain and many, many days at or above 100F. While it’s not uncommon for Katy, Texas to hit 100F during the summer, this prolonged heat wave isn’t that common.

The reason I want to touch this subject is that it’s rarely discussed because this situation doesn’t occur that often. You see the Inverter AC operates differently than a traditional AC. The Bosch Inverter 5 ton configuration is considered to be operating at 100% when it reaches 15 amps.

Now when I say this you might say well a normal AC can run at 15 amps, so big deal? But a normal single speed AC is either on or off so it will always hit that 15 amp target sometimes higher than that.

A less known feature of the Bosch Inverter is that it also has a turbo mode. This mode is determined by the algorithm. A single speed AC doesn’t have an algorithm. It’s either on or off.

Bosch Turbo mode is more likely to engage in record heat. Obviously to run in that mode it will cost more operational wise, which is why it only engages when it’s needed. There are times in record heat where people think they need a bigger unit… more capacity to get cool.

The problem with too big of an AC unit is during normal years humidity rises in the home and mold growth is likely under those situations. The Bosch AC inverter handles this problem with ease.

How much Turbo AC do I get with the Bosch AC Inverter? 30% over rated capacity. So if your Bosch AC Inverter is configured for 5 tons of AC or 60,000 BTU’s then 30% would be 18,000 BTU’s or 1.5 tons of additional capacity just sitting there when you need it.

If your Bosch AC inverter was configured as a 3 Ton, or 36,000 BTU’s 30% would be 10,800 BTU for total capacity of 46,800 just shy of 4 tons of AC sitting there for when you need it.

You see this air conditioning equipment (HVAC) decision isn’t just about a brand, it is about what the equipment will do for you. Bosch is more or less considered a disrupter in the HVAC industry because they do things differently than the major HVAC brands.

Different ways give you more choices, it’s not a bad thing when I educate you from just picking a name brand because you heard a particular brand was good. You do realize a brand name doesn’t really tell you what exactly you are buying does it?

The August utility use numbers are in and currently for me I am averaging around $0.155 cents per KWH. Chart above was updated 9-19-22.

If record heat cost more operationally in turn the old 14 SEER would cost more as well. From the chart above you can see minor usage differences between 2021 and 2020 even though those years heat was closer to averages.

Part of this topic is about the record heat / part about the utility cost increase this year of about 40% (utility cost inflation).

So if utility rates go up, it makes the pay back of this technology even better. Under normal years it’s going to save you in the near 50% realm over that of a 14 SEER AC unit. In record heat years maybe not quite as much, but due to performance you won’t think the AC system is undersized. Comfort is a feeling and when performance changes due to the load it’s a difficult thing to understand.

Prior to 2022 utility rates were around 10 cents now at just over 14 cents and in some cases higher than that. At 14 cents cost for the year of a 14 SEER 4 ton unit is going to cost you at least $1533 for the year. Half of that $762 per year savings by upgrading to AC inverter.

The higher the utility rate goes, the better and quicker the pay off. Inverter Technology is truly revolutionary after seeing the performance of this machine in triple digit heat, day after day in 2022 and even with that it still out performs (so far) in terms of electrical usage the 14 SEER single speed AC I had prior in normal heat.

The whole point of this topic is to show you that if your plans are to stay put in the house you have you can dramatically improve your comfort. The higher electric rates go, the better and quicker the pay off will be. If you don't do this Inverter AC upgrade? From my numbers you are paying for it anyway. To the Utility company. YIKES!

Stay tuned I’m likely to update this blog post in the near future. I am probably more curious than you are how this year turns out.

The easiest less cost way to save money on your electric bill. This method costs you nothing monetarily. You don't need me or anyone else to do it. But "there is always a but" for a gimmick. So come on tell us what this easy no cost way is... get on with it.

Turn your AC system off. What is the real reason I say this? Is it to make fun of you? No. This form of gimmick is employed by thermostats that are shiny and costly. They have to make you think they are worth something without improving the equipment your thermostat is tied to. I have to point these things out. So this free method to save money on electric costs has a cost. That cost is discomfort. I am here to do both... give you comfort & lower those electric bills. The gadget market is a billion dollar a year industry. They are there to part you from your money. I like to call this hot climate myths. These kinds of gimmicks probably work better in more mild climates with much higher utility rates than Texas.

Thank you for visiting with me today. As always I hope your day is comfortable!

About the author of this Katy Texas Air Conditioning blog:

My name is Ray Austin. I am the owner and operator of Austin Air Companie, a Ray Austin HVAC Service Company serving Katy, Texas | Cypress, Texas | Richmond, Texas and some surrounding areas. I am a Texas Licensed HVAC Contractor with over 28 years experience in Air Conditioning and Heating Systems as of 2022. I hold an AOS degree in HVAC/R, EPA universally certified to handle any refrigerant and NATE certified in HVAC installations and repairs. I also own and operate a real estate rental business. It is not likely there is any HVAC company truly like me.

1 Guy. You won’t get a truck load of strangers roaming thru your home using my HVAC services.

People that use my services like the fact that they only have to deal with 1 person. The same person each and every time. It has always been this way for nearly 15 years now since I started my HVAC company. There is only one opinion here and I believe it is worth what I charge for it.

A free opinion is usually free because it’s not worth anything to begin with. If something is worth doing, it’s doing it the right way. The right way can be misconceived because of the opinion of who you’re talking to. I don’t think I can make this any more clear. You have choices. I can’t tell you how many times a year I find people who made the wrong choice. Choose wisely... even if that doesn't inlcude me.

I understand that comfort means different things to different people. I am not here to force something on you I often will provide more than 1 choice. Many of the opinions I provide you are rooted in experience of performing HVAC for a living for over 28 years now. My opinion is not rooted in hearsay, rumors, folklore of brands of yesteryear, or intimidation of a boss sitting behind a desk because he “made some deal” with a manufacturer.

Austin Air Companie doesn’t choose equipment / parts / service methods because of some “under handed deal”. I choose equipment based on experience of doing and how that equipment is likely to perform. Is it always perfect? No.

That is what HVAC service is all about. You have that number to call when you need it. You will always need a good HVAC repairman. I don’t provide gimmicks here. Some want to be told if they pick this or that their worries are over. I’m here to tell you that is a gimmick and your mileage will vary. Check out my You Tube videos… all brands break I show you this in butter your eyeballs high definition video.

Austin Air Companie


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