Saturday, June 23, 2012

What's the right temp?

The very first day I looked at this apartment when I was buying it was over 100 degrees. I had been looking for an apartment to buy for about four months, and what had started out as fun, had turned into a chore. I remember that day -- a Sunday in July -- I decided that I was only going to look at one place and that was it. I called one ad -- yeah, back in the day when you read ads in an old-fashioned thing called the "classifieds" and was given this address to meet the broker.

Unbeknownst to me, he had given me the wrong address. Rather than the address of the apartment for sale, he gave me the address of an apartment (now mine) that he was living in temporarily and using as an office while he sold apartments in the neighborhood. So when I arrived, sweaty, hot and not in the mood, the broker wasn't here, but his mother was and she let me in.

My very first memory on that sweltering Sunday is how cool and dark this apartment is. It was like walking into a cave and I loved it. Because it was just his mother, who was not in the business, I was able to look around the apartment, which she did know was also for sale, with no pressure. Eventually the broker (her son) returned and the rest is history.

Of course, if I could go back, I would have negotiated the price way, way, way more than I did. This was a rental building being coverted to a co-op building and to do that, you had to sell at least 15% of the apartments which in this building amounted to two apartments, and this guy had sold one. As soon as I said yes, he would have successfully converted the building. Even knowing that at the time, I didn't use that to my advantage. He told me the asking price, and then suggested I offer $3000 less so I, like a big dummy, said OK.

Oh well.

Now, fast forward two decades or so and I have replaced those ancient air conditioners that finally gave up the ghost with modern ones where you can set to an exact temperature (with remote control no less) and therein lies my dilemma.

What exactly should the temperature be?

The forces at work... well, let's say you could make a pie chart ... 65% of the chart would say "Con Ed bill" which means that I pay from $40 to $60 a month for electricity eight months of the year. When I use a/c, my bill can jump to $200 or more. The other piece of the pie would be 25% labeled "sort of want to be green." I don't want to use more than my share of electricity.

I recycle. I use a low water use shower head -- but to be honest, I have to say that was motivated by the water pressure it produces -- think of holding your thumb over the end of a garden hose -- so I bought it for the pressure with the less water the bonus. I don't run the water when I brush my teeth. I'm getting ahead of myself. The remaining 10% of the pie would be an inability to make a decision.

Ok, so I like it at 68 degrees. It produces a nice comfortable chill. I know I'm in a/c, but it's not crazy. And yet, I think that may be too cool. At night, I turn it up to 70. I only have the a/c on in the room I'm in, and I don't ever leave my apartment with it on.

So what temperature do you all use? Is 68 degrees too cool?

PS: I also remind myself that I'm not so broke and that I can afford the summer Con Ed bills.


Melissa said...

You are so funny! I use 73 at night and 75 during the day. But I have central air and filing fans. But i cant cool just one room that i am in... Its the entire house (although the termostat is centrally located in a hallway). I've always heard that a/c can only cool a certain number of degrees cooler than it is outside (can't remember what it is). Also humidity plays a big role in temp control. I think you should run at 68 if that is comfortable!

Anonymous said...

I keep mine at 76 but I do turn it down to 74 because of Danny's breathnig. We also run 2 ceiling fans. Our bedroom is like a wind tunnel. I have to sleep with a sheet over my head because of the fan. Danny would be more comfortable in your apartment. My bill runs over 200. now that it is on constantly. If you want me to send Danny, let me know. It would be my pleasure...not yours I'm sure.

I think you should not feel guilty and keep the thermostat set at whatever YOU are comfortable at. You are the one who is important here!


Mary Mc said...

Mine is normally set for 68-70 in the winter and 74-76 in the summer. I set it to 78-80 durimg the day if no one will be home.

Barbara said...

In the city have one of those window air conditioners that I set between "7" and "6" on the dial. No temps are displayed -- a guilt-free appliance!