How You Can Fix an Irregularly High Cooling Bill
Using an air conditioner to cool your home usually leads to a higher electric bill over the summer months. When your cooling bill spikes, increased electricity costs could be a sign of poor energy efficiency related to your air conditioning unit.
The home’s heating and cooling system consumes more energy than any other household appliances, but HVAC costs for the house should remain consistent as long as there aren’t other changes that could cause increased system use. It’s normal for your central air unit to work harder during the summer heat when the weather brings hot temperatures or when you host guests as company over summer holidays. Poor maintenance, air leaks, low refrigerant, thermostat errors, and the need for professional repair services or a new air conditioner are issues that serve as an example why air conditioners unexpectedly drive up cooling expenses.
Williams Comfort Air shares ways to keep high electricity bills under control this season. With some TLC and service for your air conditioning system, you’ll save money on your monthly utility bill, make your HVAC system more efficient, and keep your home at a comfortable temperature, filled with cool air.
1. Poor Air Conditioning Maintenance
Air conditioners require regular maintenance services for many reasons and keeping your electric bill low is one of the many perks.
Professional Tune Ups
Lower electricity bills are a great bonus that comes from a yearly cooling tune up. Professional maintenance services combat the wear and tear your cooling unit sustains over a typical air conditioning season – left unchecked, wear and tear force your system to work harder and consume more energy. If your air conditioner has not been serviced by a professional technician yet this year, it’s time to call and schedule a service appointment for preventative maintenance.
Change the Air Filter
The air filter within your air conditioning unit needs to be changed regularly to maintain the system and prevent airflow obstructions that cause the air conditioner to be less efficient with its energy consumption. In the summer, the air filter may need to be replaced more frequently than it does during the spring or fall – this is because your HVAC system is used more frequently and air passes through the filter many more times each day. Check your air filter monthly and replace it as often as necessary to boost air conditioning efficiency.
2. Using the Wrong Thermostat Settings
Whether you use a programmable thermostat, smart thermostat, or manual thermostat, the temperature settings and system settings you choose have a big impact on the amount of energy used to cool the house. If the programmable thermostat hasn’t been reset for the summer season, the temperature setpoints may be lower than needed, causing your air conditioning system to run longer. Turning the temperature down extremely low on hot days will not cool your house down faster, only cause the system to use more energy and increase your electric bill costs, especially if you forget to reset temperatures once you are cool enough.
Occasionally, homeowners experience high electric costs when running an air conditioner because heating devices have been left on, too! Some heat pumps use electric heat strips, some homes have baseboard electric resistance heaters. When these devices are left on, they heat your home at the same time your air conditioner works to cool it. With more heating added to your home, the air conditioning unit works longer and harder, using more electricity to cool things down.
Verify your programmable thermostat is programmed with efficient temperature settings for the season. Check the heating and air conditioning settings on your thermostat to make sure COOL mode is selected. If you have baseboard heating units throughout the home, check each unit’s thermostat to make sure it has not been turned on by accident.
3. Duct Leaks and Air Loss
As much as 30 percent of the cool air your air conditioner produces is lost through leaks in the duct system. Loose joints, disconnected duct runs, and damage to the ducts can allow your cooling to escape into unconditioned areas of the home. Ducts typically run through an attic, basement, and/or crawlspace – these areas usually have poor insulation and temperatures can be quite hot. Duct leaks cause you to waste money cooling these areas and provide an opportunity for higher temperature air to seep into the ducts and circulate into the living areas throughout your house. Dust, dirt, and other airborne contaminants common in these areas also infiltrate your indoor air supply, diminishing indoor air quality.
Duct sealing is a repair service that eliminates air leaks caused by damaged ducts, helping air conditioners cool a home more efficiently. The average home loses 20 to 30 percent of its heating and cooling energy through duct leaks – having your ducts serviced will instantly help you save money and reduce electricity usage. When ducts are sealed tight, energy waste is minimized and your home living areas receive the full benefit of the cooling generated by your air conditioning unit and its electricity use.
4. Air Conditioning Needs Repairs
When your air conditioner cannot meet your home’s cooling demand, it’s a sign there could be something wrong with your system. Even if the unit doesn’t keep your home at comfortable temperatures, it often still consumes more electric power due to the malfunction. Having your unit serviced is the best way to diagnose and correct the issues causing you to waste money on high utility bills that stem from cooling your home.
Low refrigerant due to refrigerant leaks is a common problem that causes an air conditioner to decline in energy efficiency and use more electric power as it runs. If the system doesn’t have enough refrigerant, it cannot remove heat from the home efficiently or effectively. The refrigerant system is sealed, so the most common reason for low refrigerant is leaks in coils, the line set, or other parts.
If you receive a high cooling bill that cannot otherwise be explained, it’s a good idea to request an appointment for diagnostics and repair services with your trusted HVAC company. When repairs are properly made, your system will operate with greater efficiency and your family will benefit from even temperature indoors as well as a more comfortable home.
5. Inadequate Insulation
Cooling escapes from a home when insulation is not up to par. Old windows that are not efficient, not enough insulation in the attic – these issues cause cooling loss inside a home. Consider making home improvements that increase the R-value of your home’s insulation to help the structure retain cooling energy in the summer as well as heating when the weather turns cold. Broken windows or older single pane model windows are another source of cooling loss due to air leaks and solar heat gain. Consider upgrading your old windows with the new, highly efficient options available today.
6. Air Conditioning Replacement Is Needed
When your air conditioning unit causes a high electric statement, hopefully the solution is a quick repair or a change of habit. Unfortunately, sometimes the reason your air conditioning uses too much electricity is because it needs to be replaced. As the years pass, air conditioners decline in energy efficiency, increasing costs season after season. If your bills have steadily increased over the summer and no other issues are present with the cooling system, replacement is the likely solution.
Installing a new air conditioner is the only way to avoid wasting money when your home is equipped with an older unit that isn’t so efficient anymore. Upgrading air conditioning units provides a drastic increase in energy efficiency right off the bat, as today’s models start out far more efficient that those from several years ago.
Cut Your Cooling Bills with Williams Comfort Air
Williams Comfort Air helps Indianapolis area homeowners keep energy bills low through expert air conditioning services. If your air conditioner drives up your electric costs, it is likely in need of maintenance or repair, or it may be time for a new air conditioning unit. Our NATE-certified professional HVAC technicians inspect your system, performing thorough diagnostics to pinpoint the source of inefficient system operation.
Based on these findings, we’ll work with you to perform repair, maintenance, or replacement services that meet your needs. Our team performs repairs and maintenance services for all air conditioner makes and models. If you need a new cooling system for your home, select the perfect unit from our line of new Carrier air conditioners and heat pump units. No matter what air conditioning services your family needs, count on Williams Comfort Air for the high-quality workmanship and professionalism you demand.
Contact us today to schedule a service appointment for maintenance or repairs, or request an estimate for new air conditioner installation.