August 03, 2007

My New Air Conditioner Could Freeze the Sahara

SO THE AIR CONDITIONER at Casa Ben finally kicked the bucket last week after six good and dedicated years of service (and perhaps more). Naturally, this happened on the first day of a heat wave and so I mentioned this to my landlord. My landlord, who is shockingly good about dealing with these types of matters, switched out the old unit within hours, and when I came home from work my apartment was nice and cool.

I was pleased with this, but even MORE pleased when I learned later my landlord had simply put in a temporary spare, and that I would be getting a NEW air conditioner on Thursday. Well, I came home this past evening and fired the thing up. I can assure you this air conditioner, a Kenmore 12,000 BTU Multi-Room Air Conditioner, which retails for $339, could freeze the frickin' Sahara.

I mean, there are various items on top of my computer desk slowly swaying in the breeze of this beast, even though the unit is a good eight feet away. But not only is it nice and cool in my apartment, the story gets even better. Since it's a new air conditioner, it is an "Energy Star" rated device that should cut my summer electricity costs by at least a third and probably more. It has a special "energy saver" mode that, were I to use it, would likely cut my bills even further. It has a timer and I can set the actual temperature I want the room. IT EVEN HAS A REMOTE CONTROL. What a brilliant idea THAT was. Now, I don't even have to get up to turn on the air conditioner -- I can just click a button and on it goes.

I daresay this example is a good instance of how living below one 's means is actually a pretty clever idea, because you're constantly impressed with the wonders of new technology when you do get it. Plus, the new stuff -- when you finally get around to getting it -- is so often cheaper than the old stuff.

For instance, I figure my new air conditioner will cost me $130.73 to use per year, based on this handy formula. I know that my air conditioner usage last year effectively doubled my electricity consumption. At 13 cents per kWh and an average use of 13 kWh per day, that works out to $1.69 per day or $50.70 in an average summer month, which works out to $202.80 in total for the four months I used it. (The best $202.80 I ever spent, but that's another story). Anyway, I ran that old rattletrap constantly and so I can imagine this one will save me some change over the next few months, and that's quite nice. Plus, unlike my old unit, this will apparently cool down my entire apartment as opposed to just the main room.

And boy, it didn't come a moment too soon, either. It's 79 degrees outside and humid -- and it's past midnight.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to dig out my gloves from the winter storage bin.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at August 3, 2007 12:23 AM | TrackBack
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