Why is Your Cooling Bill So High?
No one likes spending too much money on a product or service that could have been had for much less, and a great example here is within the realm of HVAC. Have you recently been noticing that your cooling bill is markedly higher than in past years, or much higher than your neighbors or others in your area?
At My Buddy the Plumber, we’re here to help. From our basic air conditioning maintenance services to AC replacements, thermostat changes and more, we’ll help you get to the bottom of a cooling bill that’s too high. What are some of the key issues that may be causing this to happen? Here’s a primer.
Leaking Air Ducts
In some cases, your high cooling bill can be attributed to leaking air ducts. These leaks can happen for a variety of reasons – old age, animals chewing through them, poor installation and more. No matter the reason, however, the end result is the same – cool air escapes before it has a chance to reach your home, causing your AC unit to work overtime.
This not only drives up your energy costs, but can also shorten the lifespan of your AC unit. As such, it’s important to have any leaks repaired as soon as possible by a qualified HVAC technician.
In other cases, faulty insulation may be to blame for a high cooling bill. This is often the case in older homes where insulation has degraded or shifted over time. In these cases, cool air can escape through cracks and gaps in the home’s envelope, causing your AC unit to work harder than necessary to maintain a comfortable temperature.
Again, this is an issue that should be addressed by a qualified HVAC technician as soon as possible. In some cases, simply adding or replacing insulation can be enough to solve the problem.
Dirty Air Filters
One of the most common issues leading to a high cooling bill is dirty air filters. These need to be replaced on a regular basis (usually every 1-3 months) in order to keep your AC unit running efficiently. When they become clogged with dirt and debris, however, they restrict airflow and cause your AC unit to work harder than necessary.
This is a relatively easy problem to fix on your own – simply purchase new air filters and replace them as needed. However, if you’re not comfortable doing this, you can always contact a qualified HVAC technician to do it for you.
Another common issue that can lead to a high cooling bill is thermostat issues. If your thermostat is not reading the temperature accurately, it may cause your AC unit to run longer than necessary in order to reach the desired temperature. In some cases, simply calibrating or replacing the thermostat may be enough to solve the problem.
If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, however, you can always contact a qualified HVAC technician to do it for you.
There are several important components that make up your AC unit, and any of them can fail over time. These include the compressor, evaporator coils, condenser coils and more. When any of these components fail, it can cause your AC unit to work harder than necessary, leading to a higher energy bill.
For instance, the motors inside the compressor and fan can wear out over time, causing them to work less efficiently. The evaporator coils can also become dirty or frozen, preventing them from doing their job properly.
Any of these issues will need to be addressed by a qualified HVAC technician. In some cases, simply cleaning or repairing the component may be enough. However, in other cases, you may need to replace the entire AC unit.
Low Refrigerant Levels
Refrigerant is the lifeblood of your AC unit, and it needs to be at the proper level in order for the unit to function properly. If the refrigerant levels are low, it can cause your AC unit to work harder than necessary, leading to a higher energy bill.
How can you tell if your AC unit is low on refrigerant? One telltale sign is if the unit is producing less than cool air. Another is if the unit is making strange noises. If you suspect that your AC unit is low on refrigerant, it’s best to contact a qualified HVAC technician to have it checked out.
Lack of Maintenance
Your system requires some regular upkeep to ensure that it runs optimally. This includes things like regularly changing the air filter, having the coils cleaned and more. Failure to do this can cause your AC unit to work harder than necessary, leading to a higher energy bill.
At minimum, you should be having annual maintenance performed on your AC unit by a qualified HVAC technician. This will help to ensure that all of the components are clean and in good working order.
Unit is Too Old
Finally, if your air conditioning unit itself is more than 10 years old, it’s likely that it’s not as efficient as it once was. Technology has come a long way in the past 10 years, and newer units are much more energy-efficient than older ones.
If your AC unit is more than 10 years old, it may be time to consider upgrading to a newer model. Not only will this help to lower your energy bills, but it will also provide you with peace of mind knowing that you have a newer, more reliable unit.
For more on how to get to the bottom of a high cooling bill, or to learn about any of our HVAC, plumbing or other services, speak to our team at My Buddy the Plumber today.
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