Have you seen a significant unexpected increase in your energy bills? Your air conditioner can account for as much as 50% or more of your monthly electricity usage in the warm spring and summer months that the Dallas-Fort Worth area sees. Thankfully, there may be some steps that you can take to reduce this usage and get your bills back under control.
Our team at Air Patrol Air Conditioning has put together an overview of five reasons why your energy bill may be higher than you expect. We will also give you some tips and suggestions on how you can resolve these issues.
Air conditioners use copper coils with substances called refrigerants to cool your home. These refrigerants start as low-pressure gases in the coils. However, as they draw heat out of the air in your home, they become high-pressure liquids.
If the refrigerant in your system is low, then your HVAC will have a difficult time cooling the air in your home. As a result, it will run longer and use more energy when trying to achieve your desired temperature.
Air conditioners use one of two refrigerants that are available on the market today: R-22, better known as Freon, and R-410A, also known as Puron. Puron is a newer version of refrigerant that is more environmentally friendly than Freon.
Please contact our professional technicians at Air Patrol Air Conditioning if you suspect that your system may need more refrigerant. These substances can pose risks to the environment and to your health if they are not handled properly.
Just like any other equipment with moving parts, your air conditioner’s motor, compressor, capacitors and other key components will eventually wear out and need to be replaced. For example, compressors typically only have a useful life of 10 or 12 years before you may need a new one.
There are several signs that may indicate if your system’s components are starting to fail. These indicators include:
Regular maintenance is one of the best ways to ensure that your system is running as efficiently as possible. At Air Patrol Air Conditioning, we suggest that you have your HVAC system serviced and checked by a licensed technician at least twice per year. The checks should be once in the fall before you switch to heating and another review in the spring before you change to cooling will help keep your unit in tip-top shape.
One of the simplest explanations could be that your HVAC system’s air filters might need replacement. Key components like your air conditioner, furnace or air handler have filters on them to help remove dust, dirt, pet hair and other debris from the air in your home.
These filters have pleats or honeycomb screens that catch the dirt and keep it from cycling back through your air ducts. However, there are only so many particles that these filters can capture before they cannot remove any more.
Clogged air filters restrict the airflow in your system. As a result, your house doesn’t cool down as quickly, and your air conditioner has to run longer to keep you comfortable. This means of course that your system will use more energy, and your bills will go up.
At Air Patrol Air Conditioning, we recommend that you swap out your filters with new ones at least twice per year to help keep your system running smoothly. However, some systems have more advanced filters that eliminate even more particulates from the air. In those cases, you may need to replace your filters three or four times per year.
Air conditioner units, heat pumps and air handlers are all measured by the amount of air that they can move and circulate in your home. These measurements are typically done in tons of air. It is possible that your existing AC unit may not be the correct size for your home.
A unit that is too small won’t be able to effectively cool the entire square footage of your house. It will run almost constantly, especially during hot days, just trying to keep up with your comfort needs. As a result, an undersized unit will use more energy than one that is the correct size for your needs.
The reverse is also true. If your existing system is too big, then it will use more energy cooling your home. That is because AC units and other components of your HVAC system need the most energy when they first start to cool the air. A system that has too much capacity will turn on and off more frequently than one that is the right tonnage for your home.
Our highly trained technicians can help you assess if your existing AC unit is the right size for your property. If not, then we can come up with a plan to help you address your needs and potentially save you money on your electric bills in the process.
Newer, ultra-high efficiency AC units and heat pumps can save you up to 50% or more of your current cooling costs compared to older, out-of-date units. For example, an HVAC unit from the 1990s typically had a seasonal energy efficiency rating (SEER) of 10. Such a system normally costs about $600 per month to run. In contrast, a new unit with a 20 SEER rating would cut your bill in half to less than $300 per month on average.
The ductwork in your home is critical to your AC’s performance and efficiency. The ducts are what carry the cooled air throughout your home and release it into each room through the vents.
Over time, it is possible for holes or cracks to appear in your ductwork, which will cause a loss of airflow in your system. As a result, your AC will use more energy trying to overcome the loss of airflow. Reasons for the deterioration of your ductwork might include:
The five issues listed above are some of the most common causes of high cooling costs that we have seen. However, there are a number of other factors that may impact your system’s efficiency and cause it to use more energy over time.
Our experienced team at Air Patrol Air Conditioning can also perform whole-home energy audits to look at factors that may be causing energy losses in your home. Old windows, lack of insulation, missing caulking or weather-stripping and other issues might be contributing to your energy woes. We would be happy to come out, analyze your home or business in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and provide specific suggestions on how you can reduce your energy bills. Call us today! We provide heating, cooling and indoor air quality services.