Why does your air conditioner cost more to use this year than last season? Your home's energy bills suddenly spiked. What gives? Before you settle for high electricity costs during the cooling season, take a look at what you need to know about your AC system, air conditioning maintenance services, replacement/installation, and the price you could pay.
How Much Electricity Should An Air Conditioner Use?
Combined, air conditioner use accounts for six percent of the electricity that the United States produces, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Even though this may not seem like a high number, it does show the sizable amount of energy devoted to residential cooling systems. This means it isn't likely that you will have a barely-there bill during the cooling season. To estimate how much you should pay for your AC-related energy expenses, review past years' bills and look at the system's SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating.
What Can Make Your AC Energy Bill Increase?
You have concerns about your air conditioner and the sudden spike in energy-related costs. What should you do next? Don't assume that you have to pay excessively high electricity costs to cool your home. The first step is to check your energy supplier's prices. Did the cost of electricity go up? Did the supplier add on new fees? Did you switch suppliers?
If the price of energy is nearly the same as last year (or at least, hasn't increased dramatically), you're ready to move on to your AC system. Maintenance can help to increase efficiency, reduce problems, and decrease operating costs. You should schedule a pre-season check-up and cleaning with a qualified HVAC contractor each year. If you've skipped a year, or a few, it's time to call the technician for air conditioning maintenance. It's possible a debris-clogged filter, dirty ducts, or wear/damage that's gone unchecked is forcing your system to work harder. This can increase energy usage and related costs.
Should You Replace the Air Conditioner?
Even though annual maintenance can help to reduce energy use costs, care-related issues aren't the only cause of a suddenly high energy bill. An older system that has significant wear or damage may never cool your home in a cost-effective way again.
New high-efficiency AC systems can reduce home energy use by between 20 and 50 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. If you're constantly calling the contractor for a repair, have an old system, or have a worn system with a low SEER rating, talk to air conditioning maintenance services about energy-efficient replacement options and AC installation.