Causes of High Summer Utility Bills
In the Laundry Room
- Someone's doing a lot of clothes drying every day. This is done during the heat of the day, with a dryer located in an air-conditioned utility room, and the dryer is vented to the outdoors. A clothes dryer has a powerful fan that whips air past the damp clothes at the rate of 150 to 200 cubic feet per minute (cfm). In a 1,500 square foot house with 8-foot ceilings, a 200 cfm dryer can empty one house load of air every 60 minutes of operation.
In summer, that results in a lot of expensively cooled house air being heated by the dryer and blown out. Just as bad, of lost house air will be replaced by hot, damp outside air leaking in fast wherever it can: through kitchen and bathroom vents, fireplace vents and dampers, around windows and doors; through recessed ceiling light fixtures, electric plug and light switch plates, etc. It's best to locate the dryer in an uncooled utility room or garage.
- The clothes dryer vent shoots lint onto the air conditioner's outdoor condenser coils. The AC system, hampered in its ability to release heat, runs longer and longer.
- The dryer vent hose or outdoor vent flap is clogged with lint. It takes longer and longer to dry a load of clothes. With the vent clogged, the clothes get a hot, damp tumbling, the dryer runs a longer time with poor results, and costs rise.
- The customer uses hot water for washing cloth diapers. This increases costs for a couple of years.