When temperatures soar every summer, it’s important that your air conditioner keeps your home comfortable without breaking the bank. An efficient AC system makes this comfort possible. Unfortunately, even seemingly minor issues with your home’s air conditioner can have a negative impact on your monthly utility bills. While most modern air conditioners have incredible energy efficiency capabilities, they can require more electricity if anything goes wrong. If you’ve noticed that your electric bills are getting higher when using your AC, there are a few possible causes to consider.
1. Dirty or Clogged Air Filter
Your AC’s air filter captures particulates, including pollen, pet dander, dust, and debris. It reduces the chances that harmful pollutants will not be recirculated by your home’s vents so they can deliver clean, breathable air. These particulates will clog the filter over time if not changed, lowering the system’s efficiency and resulting in poor indoor air quality. This happens because a clogged filter restricts the airflow to your system. The system is then forced to work harder to ensure air circulates in your home, increasing energy consumption as the system undergoes more stress.
Regular air filter replacement is the best approach to lessen the impact of a dirty air filter on your energy costs. It is often advised that you change the filter at least once every three months, though it’s best to check it on a monthly basis just in case. If anyone in your home has respiratory issues, consider actually changing them monthly instead of simply checking them. Also, you might need to change the filter more frequently if you own pets or live in a dusty environment. In general, if you can’t see through your air filter, it’s time for a new one. By routinely changing the filter, you can ensure your system operates as efficiently as possible, and your energy costs do not soar.
2. Low Refrigerant
One of the most essential components of your air conditioning system is the refrigerant. It is crucial to heat exchange because it makes cooling possible. Your unit’s refrigerant level does not deplete over time. However, if there is a leak in the evaporator coils, the refrigerant levels may drop, which can impact the ability of your system to remove heat. Your system is forced to work longer to bring the indoor temperatures down. If your system works for extended periods, it will consume more electricity. A refrigerant leak must be immediately fixed by a professional.
3. Old or Mis-Sized AC Unit
Air conditioners typically last from 10 to 15 years before they begin to lose efficiency. If your AC is above this age or is the wrong size for your home, it could cause an increase in your energy bills. Older units are not as efficient as newer units, meaning they are more expensive to run. If your AC is too big for your home, it will short cycle. This means that it will turn on and off frequently, which is called short cycling. Short cycling can leave you with an uncomfortable living environment and skyrockets your utility bills.
On the other hand, undersized units are not big enough to adequately cool your home. The result is that they run all night and day, trying to get the temperature to desired levels. Having a modern air conditioner that is the right size for your home eliminates all of these potential problems.
4. Duct Leaks
The ductwork of your system distributes air throughout your home. However, the cooled air can escape from its designated pathway if there is a leak in the ductwork. Such an issue makes your system work harder to achieve the desired temperature inside your home, as it needs to make up for the air that’s not reaching the rooms throughout your home. In turn, it’ll take longer for your air conditioner to get to the temperature set on the thermostat. If your unit works harder and runs longer while achieving fewer results, it will cause high energy bills. Optimal airflow is crucial for a healthy and efficient system. It is generally recommended to have your ducts sealed to help curb this issue.
5. Poor Installation
When shopping for a new air conditioner, there are features that you look for to ensure you get the most out of your expensive investment. However, without proper AC installation, all those features are obsolete. Quality installation ensures the correct functionality of your system. If your system performs poorly, it will make you uncomfortable indoors. If the system is not functioning optimally, it can lead to higher electric bills. Problems resulting from bad installations include bad electrical connections, missing parts, non-sealed duct connections, and bad welding. Bad installation can also lead to frequent and frustrating breakdowns.
6. Lack of Maintenance
For an AC to perform at peak efficiency, you should schedule at least one maintenance visit yearly with your HVAC technician. If you have been putting off routine maintenance, your air conditioner may fail to work at maximum capacity. During a visit, your technician will check all of the components of your AC system, hopefully catching any issues before they become major problems. If you don’t catch problems early, they’ll decrease your system’s efficiency, leading to higher energy bills. As an aside, yearly tune-ups are often required to keep a manufacturer’s warranty valid, which means that you’ll likely spend less money overall by investing in regular maintenance.
7. Failing Parts
Failing components on your unit, such as capacitors, compressors, and motors, can result in high utility bills. If a part starts to fail, it will make your system less efficient. For instance, if the condenser motor is failing, removing heat from your indoor air will be harder. The struggling motor means that the set temperature on your thermostat will not be met easily, and the motor will run longer, resulting in higher electricity bills. If left unchecked, the motor may fail completely, leading to an AC breakdown.
No one wants to see an increase in the costs associated with any bills in their home. All your investments should work in your favor and not vice versa. In particular, since AC units are an expensive investment, they should not cost you more than they are supposed to. The best way to prevent skyrocketing utility bills is to ensure you schedule annual maintenance for your AC. If you have noticed a spike in your energy bills, one of the above seven issues is to blame.
Contact the Professionals
Have you noted an increase in your energy bills and suspect your AC may be to blame? At Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating, we are here to assist. We offer quality AC maintenance services in order to restore comfort in your home while saving on energy usage. If you are a resident of San Antonio or the surrounding areas, give us a call at Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating and schedule an appointment today. Our services allow our customers to expect fair treatment and a focus on quality. We are also experts in other HVAC services, including repairs and installations.