You’ve seen your first set of bills for the summer after you started running your air conditioning system in Haughton, LA—and you don’t like what you see. The bills have risen higher than you expected, even factoring in possible increases in the cost of electricity. You glance at your air conditioner because it’s what has changed since summer started. Why is the AC suddenly costing more to run than before?
Consider if you’ve increased the use of the AC
Before looking into the possibility of a malfunctioning air conditioner, make sure you can’t account for the rise in costs with a rise in how much you’re using the AC. People spend more time in their homes today than ever before, and that can mean a heavier reliance on indoor comfort systems. You may have guests in your house. Or you’ve found you enjoy having the AC on more. If the cost increase still doesn’t make sense to you, start considering other factors.
Change the air filter if you haven’t
A frequent cause for an air conditioner that’s draining excess power is a dirty air filter. This air filter needs a change at the start of the summer and regular changes every one to three months after. Otherwise, it will throttle airflow into the HVAC cabinet and cause the blower fan to waste power. Put in a new filter and this may fix the problem.
Dirty condenser coil
The condenser coil is the outdoor coil inside the condenser cabinet. Because of its exposure to outside elements, it can collect dirt, grime, grass, leaves, mulch, etc., all of which will restrict the condenser coil’s ability to release the heat the AC has drawn from indoors. This will cause AC efficiency to drop and the cost to run it to rise.
Low refrigerant charge
An air conditioner circulates a set amount of refrigerant (known as the AC’s charge) to move heat from inside a house to the outside. The charge can drop because of leaks, and this will have a large impact on the energy efficiency of the system. Often, a rise in utility bills is a major warning of these leaks. Low refrigerant charge threatens not only AC efficiency but also the entire air conditioner, eventually leading to the compressor burning out.
Listen to how often your AC’s cooling cycles last. Does the compressor turn on and run for less than 10 minutes before cycling down? If so, the AC is short-cycling, a condition where it becomes trapped in a rapid start-up cycle. This drains large amounts of electricity because an AC uses the most power at start-up. You’ll need repair experts to find out what’s caused the short-cycling so they can have it fixed.
An air conditioner that’s too old
Any AC will start to wear down with age, especially when it’s more than 15 years in service. You can expect an air conditioner to lose energy efficiency at the end of its service life, so a rise in bills on an old system often means it’s time to schedule a replacement.
Moon’s Air has provided whole-home comfort since 1971. Call us for service today—it’s good to be Mooned!