When your air conditioner starts costing more to run, there may be one or more contributing reasons. In some cases, people find that their homes have leaks around doors or windows. However, there's usually an issue with the unit itself or the HVAC system that’s making it less energy efficient.
Below, we’ve put together a list of “top suspects” behind your air conditioner’s loss of energy efficiency.
If your unit is more than 15 years old, there's a good chance it simply can't keep up anymore. As units age, they lose efficiency. While an annual servicing may help, it's financially prudent to start thinking about investing in a new system that can keep up with your cooling needs without costing you a fortune in energy bills.
2. Dirty Coils
Your air conditioner has two coils: a condenser coil in its outdoor unit and an evaporator coil in its indoor unit. If your outdoor coil is dirty, this stifles its ability to release heat and increases its energy consumption. Similarly, if the indoor coil is covered with dust, it will struggle to cool the warm air that your system is blowing over it.
If you see that either of your coils is dirty, don't try to clean them yourself. The equipment must be taken apart correctly first, and a professional knows how to do that safely. A good way to reduce the likelihood of dirty, grimy coils is to keep up with annual inspections and service.
3. Clogged Air Filter
This is one of the most common culprits behind reduced energy efficiency. You should check your HVAC system’s air filter every month. Replaceable filters need to be changed about every 30 to 90 days. If you have a permanent filter, it needs to be cleaned regularly. When the filter is clogged, the unit works harder to circulate air and uses more energy.
4. Low Refrigerant
If your AC is driving up your bill and struggling to cool your home, a refrigerant leak may be to blame. Refrigerant can be toxic and harmful to the environment if not handled properly, so this type of leak should be left only to experts with professional training and licensing. Since a technician checks refrigerant during a servicing appointment, having your AC serviced periodically is a smart way to prevent a long-term leak.
5. Leaky or Dirty Ducts
Your air ducts can leak air when they're not properly sealed. You may not be able to see where the ducts are leaking air. However, it's a common way to lose a significant amount of cooled air and money. Additionally, if your ducts have significant debris buildup or an obstruction, you may notice higher energy bills. A good way to detect and prevent both leaky and dirty ducts is to schedule an inspection and duct cleaning. Clean, sealed ducts also promote improved indoor air quality, which is better for respiratory health.
6. Malfunctioning Thermostat
If your thermostat isn't calibrated correctly, it can increase energy consumption by causing your AC to run more than it needs to. If you suspect this issue, a professional can inspect it for you. Also, ensure that your programmed settings are efficient. Changing from a very high temperature to a very low temperature can make your system work harder. If your thermostat comes with preprogrammed settings to save energy, try to stick to those.
7. Motor Issues
Motors wear out prematurely without proper maintenance. They should be cleaned if they're dirty, and they must be lubricated regularly. Since HVAC technicians check for these issues when they service AC units, you can reduce your risk of motor problems by keeping up with your recommended service schedule. Capacitors and other parts may be failing as well, and a technician can detect such problems before your system fails.
If you want to plan ahead to reduce your home cooling costs in the future, you can also make a checklist to see if there are other areas of concern. For example, if you have old doors and windows, you can purchase newer and more efficient ones or material with which to seal them. Also, if your home lacks insulation, you can properly insulate it to help keep it cooler in the summer.
For reliable AC repairs and maintenance in Richardson, TX, you can count on Rescue Air Heating and Cooling. Our family business also proudly serves Plano, Garland, and surrounding North Texas communities. Please give us a call at (972) 201-3253 or use our online form.