PDA

View Full Version : Three-level townhouse--cooling costs?


tessiemez
03-27-2011, 11:10 PM
Hi there,

I'd love a little advice from the DISverse. My husband and I are looking into a townhome to rent. We're currently in a 850 sq. ft. apartment. The townhome is three stories, with two bedrooms on the second floor and one bedroom (which we'd keep as a guest room, to be used once or twice a year) on the third floor. Total square footage for the townhome is around 1100.

We love everything about it, but I'm worried about cooling costs. Heating likely won't be too much of an issue, as we live in the south and there's a fireplace. I know the second story of a home will get much warmer than the first floor ... are power bills for three-level homes just outrageous compared to single-level homes? I know I'll be paying more because there's more square footage, and power around here comes at a fairly modest cost (I pay 80-100 per month now). Anyone have advice on this they'd be willing to share? TIA.

Molly Meow
03-27-2011, 11:26 PM
I can't help you with specifics, but I had a suggestion. I have been able to call the electric company with an address and get an estimate on the monthly bill - they told me the price paid per month averaged over the last 12 months.

Good luck and hope this helps! :)

ah1126
03-27-2011, 11:39 PM
I live in NWFL in a 2 story townhouse. One advantage about being in a townhouse is that we only have two exposed sides, and our neighbors in the back are pretty close. This helps to cut down on the heating and cooling costs. I keep my air set at 74 during the day and 71 at night, and the air is on most of the year. I have budget billing (where they average and you pay the same every month) and our electric bill is $140 year round. Everything in the house is electric and we are in about 1250sqft. Hope this helps!

cbg1027
03-28-2011, 06:40 AM
Maybe the utility company that serves the townhouse has a website? Usually you can look up what the bills were on an address for the past year.

If the townhouse has attached units on both sides, that helps with the cooling costs a lot as there is more insulation than a single-family home.

Purseval
03-28-2011, 08:33 AM
We live in a 3 story townhome in the South, 2700 square feet. It also has programmable thermostats on every level and 3 zones. We pay about $80/month in winter and $200/month in summer.

One thing we do both winter and summer is because we have a thermostat in our bedroom we can set the temperature we want and close the door so it only has to heat or cool one room instead of the entire floor. But it's just the 2 of us so that's pretty easy.

Check and see how many compressors you have outside. If you have 1 that means it either has to have a high capacity or it's going to be doing a lot of work. If they make it too small it has to run more often, maybe even constantly, to keep the house at the temperature you want, which will cost more money. We have 2, 1 for the top floor and one with a switching valve so we can set different temps on the bottom 2 floors.

Also, as a PP mentioned, where your unit is located will also affect your bill. We used to have an end unit and when we went looking for this unit one of our priorities was to have an interior unit so our neighbors would help with our energy costs.

bettymae1121
03-28-2011, 08:40 AM
Does it have cathedral ceilings? If it does, and it goes all the way to the 3rd floor it's going to be $$$ to cool it. If it does not have cathedral ceilings, it won't be as bad.

Can you ask the landlord or rental company for the average annual utility costs? They may have that info on file somewhere.

dis-happy
03-28-2011, 09:50 AM
As long as you're not regularly sleeping on the 3rd floor you should be okay. I found that heating a TH in a cold climate with 1 heat pump to be expensive---and cold all the time. Cooling (even with hot sticky DC summers) wasn't such a problem.

Are the vents in the floor or in the ceiling? If in the ceiling of the 2nd level you'll be better off, as the cooler air will fall. Also, a ceiling fan in the bedroom is helpful---you could ask the landlord to install one if there isn't one already. GL

amez
03-28-2011, 11:30 AM
In college (like 15 years ago) I shared a three story town house with some roommates. We had an end unit so neighbors on one side. I'm thinking during the summer months it was $350-400 to cool that place and the bedroom on the top floor still wasn't completely cool -- but the downstairs would be freezing. I'm sure it wasn't the most energy efficient place since it catered toward groups of college students, but it was definitely a sticker shock.

jen22984
03-28-2011, 12:01 PM
Our old house was a tri-level in GA. It was a pain in the butt to keep the bedrooms in the to floor cooled. The top floor was 2 bedrooms and a bathroom, the middle floor was the living room, dining room, and kitchen, and then the lower level was a 3rd bedroom, an office, and a bathroom. The bottom level was always cold and the top floor was always hot! When the main living floor was comfortable using the central AC, we still used ceiling fans & stand fans to cool the bedrooms (and sometimes...like when I was pregnant in the middle of summer we used a window AC unit).

tessiemez
03-28-2011, 09:24 PM
Thanks so much for the advice, everyone! I called the power company and they told me the average power bill for the last year there was about the same as we're paying now. I don't know how conservative the last tenants were, but I'm feeling much less worried than I was. Thanks again!

Pooh_Friend#1
03-29-2011, 08:01 AM
I have a 3 story townhome (1200 sq. ft) and all of our bedrooms are on the 3rd level so it gets hot up there in the summer. I learned that it is much cheaper to buy a mini mobile air conditioner and keep it in the room that I am in. Much cheaper than running the AC for the entire place. I pay between $74-$90 in the summer, and for the winter it is typically about $110.

Shelly F - Ohio
03-29-2011, 08:17 AM
Using a ceiling fan is a great way to cool the upper levels. We also use a pedalstool fan and place it in front of the register vent to help circulate the cool air.
This is the fan we use and love it. IT has a timer on it so we can set it to run for a set amt of time. The height is adjustable so you can make it as short or as tall as you want.

It so slim it takes up very little room

http://www.electronicsshowplace.com/oscillating-pedestal-p-169055.html


I got ours at Target

tessiemez
03-29-2011, 09:28 PM
Using a ceiling fan is a great way to cool the upper levels. We also use a pedalstool fan and place it in front of the register vent to help circulate the cool air.
This is the fan we use and love it. IT has a timer on it so we can set it to run for a set amt of time. The height is adjustable so you can make it as short or as tall as you want.

It so slim it takes up very little room

http://www.electronicsshowplace.com/oscillating-pedestal-p-169055.html


I got ours at Target

That looks great ... thanks for the tips, all!