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Why Are My Cooling Bills Already So Steep?

air-conditioner-money-saverAs warmer weather starts, the ACs all through the Triangle will start coming on. When that happens, electrical bills will begin to rise and more power goes to run the air conditioning systems’ compressors—the big workhorses of any air conditioner.

You’re probably used to seeing this uptick in your electrical bills once the cooling season starts, the same way you expect to see your gas bills rise during the winter when you have your furnace running. (Or, if you use an electric furnace or a heat pump, your electrical bills.) But if you’ve noticed the rise in electrical costs is far more than in the past, something may be up. Unless you’re running the air conditioner much more than usual or the cost of electricity has risen steeply, you may need to have air conditioning repair in Chapel Hill, NC to get those bills back down.

A Malfunctioning AC Eats Up More Power

An air conditioner’s energy efficiency is a measure of how well it converts electrical power into cooling power. The standard measurement is SEER, seasonal energy efficiency ratio. If an air conditioner is well-maintained throughout its service life, it will maintain 95% of this efficiency until it finally starts to fail …

Okay, we need to talk about that first before going into how else an AC may waste power. If you have an air conditioner that’s more than 15 years old, a rise in the cost to run it often indicates the system is wearing down and coming near the end of its life cycle. You can perhaps have it repaired to keep it going for a bit longer, but the efficiency will never be what it was and the system will be in danger of more repair issues. It’s better at this point to have a new system—one with higher efficiency—installed.

If the AC is still relatively young (less than 10 years in service), a spike in electrical costs shows that something in the air conditioner is forcing it to work harder than normal. Here are just a few power-eating AC problems:

  • General lack of maintenance. Please remember to schedule maintenance each spring for the AC so age doesn’t have an opportunity to dig into it.
  • The motors have lost lubrication.
  • The indoor or outdoor coils are dirty, making it harder for the AC to absorb and release heat.
  • The air filter is clogged up because it hasn’t been changed for a clean one recently.
  • Refrigerant is leaking from the system, causing a loss of cooling that the AC is trying to make up.

With the exception of the clogged filter, which you can take care of yourself, these other issues require the work of an HVAC professional to fix. Since some of these malfunctions can put the entire air conditioner at risk (leaking refrigerant being particularly damaging), never wait to call for repairs. Get the technicians out to your house to diagnose the problem and have it remedied before the malfunction worsens.

Comfort Master Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. lets you enjoy the comfort you deserve! Schedule air conditioning services today for the best summer possible.

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