Did your latest air conditioning bill come with a side of sticker shock? You’re not alone! Last summer, the National Energy Assistance Directors Association predicted summer electric bills would spike by 20%!
Major heat waves, longer hot spells, and rising energy costs are all contributing to that rising monthly budget hit. But these aren’t the only factors that can push up your summer cooling bill. And while you can’t change the weather or your local electricity rates, the costly culprits we’ll share below are well within your control.
Read on to learn the five most common A/C issues that may be causing your bills to rise—and the air conditioning unit maintenance you can do to counteract them.
- Dirty A/C Unit Components
Over time, your A/C unit can accumulate layers of dust, dirt, and debris—especially around your filters and coils. All that junk and gunk buildup impacts your unit’s ability to keep your home cool. It also forces your unit to run harder and longer just to maintain a comfortable temperature.
To keep your unit clean and clear, consider scheduling annual preventative air conditioning unit maintenance. Not only does annual maintenance keep your unit clear of dirt and debris, the comprehensive inspection can reveal small problems before they become major repairs.
Bonus Tip: Our Healthy Home Plan includes an annual cooling system safety inspection—and saves our Omaha customers even more $$ every summer!
2. Clogged A/C Filters
Clogged and dirty air filters can significantly reduce the efficiency of your unit and trigger those sky-high cooling bills. When your filters become clogged by dust, dirt, and pet dander, airflow through your unit becomes restricted. That causes your unit to work even harder to draw in air, taxing your system and consuming greater energy in the process.
Changing your air filters once every 1-3 months is an easy way to lighten the load on your unit and enjoy cleaner, fresher air.
3. Leaky Ductwork
Leaky ductwork is another common cause of surprisingly high A/C bills. When cool air escapes into your attic, basement, or ceiling, your unit is forced to run longer just to maintain temperature.
Repairing leaking ductwork requires specialized equipment to inspect your ducts and locate the leak. Once discovered, your HVAC specialist may repair the tear, reattach the loose section, or replace part of your ductwork.
4. Inadequate Insulation
Insufficient insulation is an energy drainer we see more often in older homes with thin walls or drafty doors and windows. When hot air and Nebraska’s relentless sun hit your home with hours of heat every day, those thin spots in your home just can’t keep up. And if you have single-pane windows or gaps in your exterior doors, your home is especially susceptible to the heat.
There are a few ways we can boost the efficiency of your whole home. One way is to replace the weatherstripping around windows and doors, and caulk any gaps. You can also add insulation to your attic or exterior walls. And in a pinch, opting for blackout curtains over the windows that face the morning and afternoon sun can help keep out some of that warmth.
5. Old, Inefficient, or Improperly Sized A/C Equipment
The last reason your A/C bills may be on the rise is if your unit is past its prime—or no longer able to keep up with your home’s needs. Even with air conditioning unit maintenance, if your unit is more than 10-15 years old, it may be time for a replacement or upgrade. Or, if your unit is still functioning properly but you’ve added an addition to your home, that small unit may not be able to properly cool the new square footage.
In either situation, upgrading to a newer, energy-efficient air conditioning unit (or adding a unit to serve your new addition) can significantly reduce your energy bills in the long run, and keep your family comfortable all summer.
When your A/C bill takes you by surprise, Just Call Burton
We’re Omaha’s top-rated choice for HVAC service, air conditioning unit maintenance, and cooling system upgrades. Why? Because there’s no substitute for up-front pricing, guaranteed parts and labor warranties, and 5-star customer service. To schedule your A/C service or learn more about our high-efficiency units, just call (402) 934-7003 or send us a message.