Home Buying in Phoenix>Question Details

Tom Bloomer, Home Buyer in Phoenix, AZ

Is there a big difference in energy costs between a East-West and a North-South home in Arizona?

Asked by Tom Bloomer, Phoenix, AZ Sun Jan 27, 2008

My wife and I are looking at a very nice house in the Desert Ridge area. The only problem is the fact that the house faces East-West. We have been told that this makes for much higher cooling costs as compared to houses that face North-South. Should this be a big enough deterrent to not buy the home?

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East-West sun exposure would make a large difference in your power bills in the summer. If it's East-West, two stories with a vaulted ceiling, it would make an even bigger difference.

When my husband moved here from Albuquerque, NM to Gilbert, AZ, he did not think of the utility bills with an east/west house. The sunsets were gorgeous in the late afternoons, but the energy bills were killer. It was a new build, vaulted two story, 2400 sq ft. The highest bill we had was about $500 in the summer; and that was keeping the thermostat at 79! We now live in a single story, north south facing home with tinted windows and plantation shutters.

If you really love the home otherwise, I would go for it but make sure the following things are in place:
- Tint on the east/west facing windows
- Darkened screens on those windows
- Plantation Shutters

If you can mitigate the sun from your back patio with a roll-down shade, this will help too.
In our current single-story, north-south home that's 3000 square feet, with tinted windows and plantation blinds, our highest bill has been $180.

Hope that helps! :)
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 29, 2008
From personal experience, I have had a house that had the Sun Rise in the back of the house, pretty much our master bedroom, making it difficult to sleep in on my day off.
The Sun Set on the front part of the house, making the afternoon the hottest part of the day in the family room and my kid's bedroom. All said and done though, the bills were manageable for 2400 sq. ft.
However, my neighbors, with the same issues purchased the dark sun screens and she said "It makes all the diffrence in the world." I think our best help was the SRP plan where you pay the same every month.
Web Reference: http://www.amygerrish.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 29, 2008
My colleagues pretty much covered your question. If you are deciding on buying an older home or maybe even a home built of Block_ masonary or slump block - the exposure will definately be felt in the Summer and even in the Winter.The suggestions made by Steve Belt go a long way in cutting down on energy costs if you have an East-West facing home. The newer homes with extra R rating for insulation and also the Low-E glass windows will make a big difference and if you are building a new home- the more spent on upgrades for insulation and energy saving items will save you a few bucks each month. Newer homes are a lot more enery efficient and can save uitlity spikes that we experience here in the Valley of the Sun and mostly in the heat of Summer
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 27, 2008
Energy costs are primarily defined by windows. If there are a lot of West facing windows, your energy costs will be higher, all else being equal. However, there are a number of things you can do to help lower the energy costs associated with west facing windows.

#1: Tint the windows.
#2: Install shade screens.
#3: Install a retracable awning.
#4: Plant a tree to shade the windows.

If this is the home for you, and you probably felt that way as you entered the door, that very first time, I would suggest to looking in to one or more of the above ways to make the home more energy effecient.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 27, 2008
Hey Tom.
Yes it is more expensive, of course if you have plantation shutters this will cut down on the expense.
Now if the Backyard ( Back of the house ) is facing West. You can forget about hanging out by the pool after work in the summer. Your patio will have those cheap bamboo blinds.

In this town you want coverage to protect your home from that late afternoon sun.

You can call SRP and ask them what the electric cost have been for that property. Remember SRP is jacking the rates 9% this spring.
Myself I am a North South Guy
Other than that Desert Ridge is nice place
Good Luck
Patrick
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 27, 2008
Mr.P, Other/Just Looking in Arizona
MVP'08
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