Surviving summer conditions is near impossible without an air conditioner. However, employing the use of your HVAC system to cool your home directly affects your energy bill. If you’ve asked yourself the question, “why are my cooling costs so high?” and you’ve come up with nothing, you should be wary of your air conditioner. There could be an internal issue that’s decreasing the energy efficiency of your unit. You’ll notice this problem when your energy bill, similar to the temperature, rises steeply every summer.
Why Are My Cooling Costs So High?
The loss of efficiency by your air conditioner means it costs you more to operate the system. Furthermore, it undergoes quicker wear and tear, leaving you with a potentially larger problem.
One of the leading causes of cooling and heating issues is dirty air filters. Failing to replace or clean your air filter regularly will lead to a collection of dirt and dust that prevents proper airflow. Without sufficient air, the system can experience several performance and efficiency hurdles. If you leave the filter unclean for a long while, it could result in a complete breakdown of the system.
We recommend maintaining the system’s efficiency by changing the air filter after every 90 days for most systems. However, if you smoke indoors or have a pet, you’d have to change the filter after every 60 days.
Apart from dust affecting the filter, it can work its way into crucial components and affect their efficiency. Every air conditioner has two coils – the evaporator coil that you’d find inside and the condenser coil on the outside unit. Dust gathering on any of these can lead to expensive problems. Dust can prevent the evaporator coil from removing warm air from the home while the condenser coil won’t release the hot air outside.
The solution to combat the build-up of dust is recruiting an HVAC technician to carry out the annual maintenance and clean the system in the spring.
Leaks in the Ductwork
Sometimes your air conditioner is working fine, but you still find yourself asking the question, “why are my cooling costs so high?”. The answer could be in the ductwork – the network that cool air travels into your home. If there’s a leak in the delivery system, it will negatively affect the efficiency. You will typically find leaks near your air ducts’ joints and where it connects to the air conditioning system. External factors such as rodents can cause leaks in the ductwork when they chew through.
While it may seem obvious, sometimes people have mistakenly blocked their air vents which causes the system to push air harder in that area. It’s possible to create an air pressure imbalance which will target weak points in the ductwork and eventually lead to leaks.
An Old System
Air conditioners typically last between 15 and 20 years. With proper maintenance, you can extend the longevity of the system. However, air conditioners that are older than 12 years should begin declining in performance and efficiency. The Department of Energy says that if your system is ten years old, you may want to replace it with a more energy-efficient model that can save you up to 40 percent of your heating costs.
Keeping your home cool is simple; you need to prevent the interior from heating up initially. Insulation such as caulking and weather stripping helps to regulate the temperature. In the summer, set your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher to save approximately five to ten percent of your energy bill for every two degrees more. Keep your windows, blinds
Conversely, for every two degrees you lower the thermostat in winter, you’ll save almost ten percent on energy. Try to set the thermostat to 68 degrees and decrease it to 55 degrees at night or when nobody’s at home. Heat pumps should be set below 63 degrees.
If you have a water heater, wrap it all year round with a blanket to keep the water at optimal temperature.
Houses older than 15 years should have their insulation checked, especially in the attic and basement. To take the load of your air conditioner, you can replace incandescent light bulbs with LEDs.
Avoid using multiple appliances simultaneously, such as your dishwasher, dryer, washing machine, and air conditioner, especially during five and eight in the evening when rates are at their highest.
Smart thermostats are another option that learns your preferences to develop a custom schedule. They do contribute to making your home more energy-efficient and lowering your monthly energy bill. Since these thermostats require smartphones to operate, you can be hands-on with controlling their power and energy consumption.
Now you have an answer to the question, “why are my cooling costs so high?”, you need to use the tricks we shared with you to lower them. The team at Valley Comfort Heating and Air are prepared and skilled to assist you with your HVAC system.