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Why Does My AC Cost So Much to Run?

Posted on: July 24, 2017

Here in the deeps of summer in Durham is when we’ll rely on our air conditioning systems the most. You’ll expect to see an increase in your electrical costs when the AC has to spend extra time running in order to keep your house cooled down to a comfortable temperature.

However, do you think you’re paying more to run your AC than you should? Whether this is a new development or an issue you’ve always had with the system, it’s worth looking into. There could be some simple steps to take to fix the problem—or maybe you have a malfunctioning air conditioner that needs to be repaired. We’ll look at some of the possibilities below.

Poor thermostat settings

You might be using the thermostat unwisely, lowering the temperature too far and then pulling it back up when the house feels too cold. This is a wasteful way to use the thermostat: it’s best to maintain a steady, higher temperature. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends 78°F during the day when people are home. If this is a touch too warm for your household’s comfort, start a few degrees lower, and raise the temperature one degree each day. Then at night, raise the temperature by 8°F. (A programmable thermostat can make this much easier.)

Forgetting to change the air filter

This is one of the more common reasons for an AC to start to drain more power than it should. The air filter on the HVAC cabinet needs to be changed every 1 to 3 months (depending on the filter strength). Unfortunately, this is a task people often forget, and if the filter remains in place, it will become so clogged with the debris trapped in it that the AC’s blower fan will strain to draw air through it—and that means it will draw on more electricity.

Leaks in the ductwork

A damaged ventilation system will allow air to escape from the ductwork and into closed off areas of the house. You’re paying to cool down air that doesn’t end up reaching you! Up to 30% of the air moving through the ventilation system can be lost this way. To fix this, you’ll need to arrange for professional duct sealing.

System age

How long have you had your current air conditioner? If it is over 15 years old, than the rise in cost to run it is probably wear and tear due to age. If an air conditioner receives regular annual maintenance, it should be able to maintain 95% of its energy efficiency for most of its lifetime. But somewhere around the 10 to 15 year mark, age will catch up with it, and the decline in its components will mean higher bills. At this point, rather than continuing with repairs, arrange to have a new system installed.

If you think you need service for your air conditioning in Durham, NC, then you can reach our experts 24/7 for repairs. We also install replacement systems, and we’ll help you make the best choice for how to move forward if you need a new air conditioner.

Bud Matthews Services is here for all your home service needs in the Durham area.

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