As a homeowner, you may see your air conditioner bill fluctuate, and wonder why it’s constantly so high. There are several common causes that contribute to an increase. 

1. Dirty Air Filters

Air filters keep the air in your home clean. When the filters aren’t replaced regularly, they become clogged and restrict the air flowing through the ducts.  Restricted airflow means that it takes longer for your home to cool down, and you may need to run the unit longer. This increases your energy costs, as your home may be warmer than normal with heat generated from compressors and running motors. It is recommended that you change your air filters every month. 

2. Low Level of Refrigerants

Air conditioners use refrigerants to cool the hot air in the home. When the refrigerant level is low, the system becomes inefficient as it has to work harder to cool and transfer hot air. This will increase your energy costs. Low refrigerant is likely due to a leak perhaps in the coils or line sets, through which the refrigerant flows. At this point, professional service is required.

3. Mechanical Parts May Be Failing

Your AC system consists of several mechanical parts, which cannot last forever. As parts such as the compressor, capacitors, and motors weaken, the system becomes less efficient. A failing motor in the condenser causes a decrease in the amount of air being condensed. The home stays hotter longer, the motor runs longer and the bill goes higher until the system breaks down if not repaired.

4. Leaking Ducts

Leaking Ducts
Image via Flickr by Wesview

The cooler air is distributed throughout your home by the ductwork. This is the air that was cooled by the AC system. If there are leaks in the ductwork, it means that enough of the cool air will not get to the rooms and the thermostat cannot sense the cooler temperatures,  As a result, the system works harder and longer than is needed, causing your energy bill to increase. This problem can be fixed with proper duct sealing.

5. Your System is Too Old

Old air conditioners were not as efficient as present-day technology. The system’s efficiency can be noted by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating. Although the cost of high-efficiency air conditioners may be higher, the savings are made up in lower bills. The rating indicates higher efficiency, but you may need some advice in deciding which rating may be the most suitable for you and your family.   

6. Poor Maintenance

Your HVAC system is much like your vehicle. It consists of a lot of mechanical parts that should be properly maintained in order for it to keep working properly. When it does not work properly, the bills will increase. One of the best things that you can do to ensure that your system works as it should is to have it maintained by professional service people. With regular inspections, they can tell which parts should be replaced and when. In the long run, this helps to keep your bills from increasing.

Looking out for these signs and taking steps to remedy them can save you quite a bit of money on your utility bills. Making the investment to be sure your system is running as smoothly as possible pays for itself over time.

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