If your living in the Phoenix area I’m sure your already used to high electric bills that come from running your air conditioner, but what if you’ve noticed that this year its higher than usual and your wondering why is my air conditioner so expensive to run?
Air conditioners use a lot of electricity, but a loss in efficiency will cause high electric bills. Dirty filters, duct leaks, failing parts (motors, capacitors, etc.), low refrigerant, lack of maintenance, old system, and a bad install are all reasons your air conditioner itself will cause high electric bills.
1.) Dirty Air Filter
Air filters keep your homes air handler, ducting, and indoor coil clean.
When they aren’t replaced routinely, debris will build up after so much air is filtered. They can become so dirty that they actually restrict airflow throughout your duct work. Restricted air flow will cause your unit to take longer to cool your home down. Increased run times can cause you to have high electric bills because of overheating motors and compressor.
There are reusable filters that you can just clean off and there are replaceable ones that you should change every 30 days. We recommend using the replaceable ones since they allow for better airflow.
This is the number one and easiest thing you can do to maintain your unit and prevent high electric bills.
2.) Duct Leaks
Your duct work distributes air throughout your home, it plays a major role for the efficiency of your system because it delivers the desired results of your air conditioner.
A duct leak reduces your systems ability to distribute air and satisfy your thermostat. If your air conditioner is taking long to satisfy your thermostat, then it’s going to run harder and longer. Your unit running longer and harder while achieving less results will cause high electric bills.
Proper airflow is vital to having a healthy and efficient system. We recommend having a duct seal(we use Aeroseal) done to fix this problem.
3.) Failing Parts (Motors, Capacitors, etc.)
Failing parts on your system like motors, capacitors, and the compressor will result in a high electric bill. The reduction in production from a failing part is going to cause your system to be less efficient.
For example, if there is a failing condenser motor on your condenser and your trying to cool your home down, the motor is not going to remove heat from your home very well. The motor struggling and the thermostat not being satisfied is going to cause the motor to run longer and cause high electric bills. This can go on till your motor fails and you have an A/C breakdown.
4.) Low Refrigerant
Air conditioners and heat pumps, use refrigerant (either r-22 Freon or r-410a Puron) to transfer heat and remove it from the home.
Low refrigerant won’t allow your system to remove heat efficiently. If your units running low then you will see an increase in your bills because the system is going to have to work harder to satisfy the thermostat.
The reason for low refrigerant is most likely a leak, they can occur throughout the system of coils and line sets that transfers the refrigerant. Professional service is needed to accurately diagnose that there is a leak, where it’s occurring, and what should be done to repair it.
5.) Lack of Maintenance
Having an HVAC expert come take a look at your homes air conditioning system will benefit you with maintained system efficiency and preventing possible breakdowns.
This is also one of the best things you can do to prevent high electric bills because the technician has all the tools necessary to determine the condition and performance of your system and its components.
The technician will make recommendations like getting a coil clean, replacing a capacitor or motor, surge protector, hard start kit, duct sealing, and maybe getting a programmable thermostat.
6.) Old System
An old air conditioner probably means that your system isn’t very efficient. Back in the day the highest SEER rating was only 10, plus with years of working under the hot Arizona sun without maintenance, the air conditioner can get expensive to run. Some units are so old and under maintained that they rust out!
7.) Bad Installation
Lastly it could be that the unit was not installed properly.
For example, the contractor may have over-sized the unit, causing it to short cycle and kick on and off rapidly. That will cause high electric bills because air conditioners use the most energy at start up and are more efficient when startups are reduced.
Other problems from bad installs could be missing parts, bad electrical connections, bad brazing and welding, and non-sealed duct connections.
Aside from high electric bills a bad installation can lead to a lot of frustrating breakdowns.