How to Fix Your Unusually High Cooling Bill in Louisville, KY
If you use a central air system to cool your home, you’re probably used to the fact that your electric bill is high in the summer compared to the rest of the year. What isn’t normal is when your electricity costs skyrocket without a clear cause. In the event you receive an energy bill that is far higher than you expect, your air conditioning equipment could be the cause.
While home heating and cooling units have higher electric usage than other appliances used in a typical house, when they do their job efficiently, electric power waste is minimized and almost all the money you pay is for the cooling you feel indoors. Poor energy efficiency is linked to various system issues like neglected maintenance, a thermostat that is not set to the correct temperature or mode, low refrigerant due to leaks, or even overlooking the need for air conditioning repair services. Each of these issues are an example why your air conditioner wastes electric energy and your hard-earned money.
Keep your air conditioning energy usage under control this summer with help from Jarboe’s Plumbing, Heating & Cooling. Our licensed Louisville HVAC technicians share the reasons why your air conditioner is raising your utility bills and how to stop it.
Make Maintenance a Priority
Poor maintenance is a leading cause of high air conditioning bills. From professional services to tasks you can complete on your own, when your system is serviced, it operates at a higher energy efficiency level and costs you less on your monthly electric bill.
Schedule a Tune Up
Cutting high cooling costs is a very noticeable benefit of having your air conditioner serviced for a maintenance tune up. Your HVAC contractor performs numerous tasks during this service that eliminate damaging wear and tear that forces your system to draw more electric energy and waste it as it runs at a lower efficiency level. Not only do these services help you save on energy costs by helping the system use less electricity, your unit and its many components are protected from damage and breakdowns so you spend less money on repair bills.
Change Your Air Filter
Your home air conditioning system needs a new air filter periodically – if you forget to change it, expect your electric bill to rise. When the air filter is dirty, the system does not receive enough airflow to operate efficiently. Plus, the dirty air filter creates a blockage so your air conditioner is forced to consume more electric energy as it struggles to move air through.
You may notice you pay more for HVAC air filters over the summer – this is because the system filter often becomes filled with contaminants sooner due to the system’s heavy operation when the weather is warm or hot. A few dollars spent on an extra air filter can generate lower electric bills and savings each month. Make it a priority to inspect your air filter each month and replace it as soon as you find it is clogged.
Set Your Thermostat Properly
It doesn’t matter if you have a programmable thermostat, a smart thermostat, or an old manual control – there is always a chance that user error will impact the amount of energy your central air uses and loses. A shocking amount of programmable thermostat users admit they do not even use the thermostat to set temperatures and temperature changes for efficient control of the air conditioning and heating systems. Here are critical tips to help you set your thermostat correctly and eliminate errors that lead to wasted energy and high electric cooling bills.
- Resist the urge to lower the thermostat temperature an extreme amount when the weather is very hot. Contrary to popular belief, setting the thermostat to 65 degrees will not help your air conditioner cool your home to 72 degrees faster. All the lower setting does is tell your air conditioner to run longer, because you want to cool your home to a temperature lower than what you usually prefer. Plus, once your air conditioner reaches a 72-degree cool, you aren’t likely to notice it right on time and you’re apt to forget, so your air conditioner will cool your living areas below what is actually comfortable, wasting all that energy in the process.
- Another way homeowners waste electricity through errors in thermostat settings is running a heating unit at the same time as your air conditioning! If you cool the home with a heat pump, you may also have electric resistance heat strips installed for primary or backup heating in cold weather. If your thermostat is incorrectly set to HEAT or HEAT/COOL mode instead of COOL, these heat strips could be running, adding unnecessary heat to your home, wasting energy adding unnecessary heat to your home, and forcing your air conditioner to waste energy as it attempts to counteract this unnecessary heat to keep your home at ideal temperatures. Always check these settings if your electricity bills are high, because heat strips can consume a great deal of energy.
- In older homes with electric baseboard heat units, multiple thermostats are installed throughout the house to control each baseboard. It’s easy for one of the controls to get knocked into a position that causes the unit to generate heat. Be sure to check each baseboard control and keep these devices off for the summer.
Seal Your Ducts
High electric bills become all the more frustrating when you consider that 20 to 30 percent of the money you pay is wasted through a single HVAC system flaw – duct leaks! On average, a home loses 20 to 30 percent of the heated or cooled air produced by HVAC systems through leaks in the duct system. Loose connections, damaged flex duct, and fallen duct runs cause cool air to spill out into areas of the home where you don’t want to send cooling, like your attic or crawlspace.
Contact your trusted HVAC contractor to ask about duct sealing services. By eliminating the holes that cause air to escape, sealing your ducts could save you an immediate 20 to 30 percent on monthly electric bills!
Have Your Air Conditioning System Serviced
Too often, homeowners overlook the need for air conditioning repairs. Sometimes it’s because it’s difficult to tell if something is a serious enough problem to warrant professional attention, other times it’s strictly to avoid spending money on the repair bill. While this strategy might allow you to save your pennies now, it will cost you a whole lot more later.
Many malfunctions can occur within a central air unit, causing the equipment to draw more electrical power as it runs. Refrigerant leaks for example are difficult to diagnose on your own but they have a huge impact on comfort and electricity costs. Damaged refrigerant lines cause the system to leak coolant needed to transfer heat for the cooling process. With less refrigerant available, your central air conditioning is unable to cool your home with the expected efficiency – it will use more power because it must run longer to make up for the decline in cooling ability.
If your home doesn’t receive as much cool air as it once did and your utility bills are higher than normal, it is highly likely that your cooling unit is in need of service. A professional HVAC company is able to examine the entire unit and find what flaws are causing excessive energy consumption and waste. With repairs completed, your air conditioner will not only provide plenty of cool air, but it will do so with lower energy consumption so you don’t have to pay as much!
Phone or contact your trusted cooling company for repairs and service as soon as you notice performance problems or get a high utility bill.
Up Your Insulation
Many Cincinnati homes do not have enough insulation – especially older ones. When attics, basements, and crawlspaces are underinsulated, the home can lose significant cooling energy simply because it doesn’t have the tools needed to retain it. Old doors and windows lack the insulation technologies available today that stop solar heat gain from increasing the home’s cooling load.
When planning energy efficiency improvements for your home, put adding insulation on your to-do list. Increase the R-value of attic, basement or crawlspace insulation and budget to replace old windows and doors with new, high efficiency fixtures.
Replace Your Air Conditioner
Many times, a high electric bill is easily and affordably solved through cooling unit maintenance, repairs, and the projects mentioned above. However, when your utility bills are consistently climbing, you probably need a new air conditioning unit altogether.
As time passes, your air conditioner has to work harder because of lost efficiency, wear and tear, overlooked repairs, increased cooling demand, and a number of other possible factors. The old gal simply can’t keep up.
When you call your contractor to discuss a new air conditioning model, you’ll learn that energy efficiency improves drastically once your new unit is in place. This is due to the fact that older models were not held to the same manufacturing standards for energy efficiency, nor was today’s advanced technology available when they were built. New air conditioners start out at higher energy efficiency levels, generating serious savings for homeowners who make the upgrade.
Reduce Cooling Costs with Jarboe’s
Jarboe’s Plumbing, Heating & Cooling helps homeowners across the Louisville area keep summer cooling costs low through professional air conditioning services including maintenance, repairs, and replacement. If you’re ready to start saving and quit paying extra to your electrical utility provider, call us today to schedule service or request an estimate for air conditioner installation.