There are a few things no homeowner ever wants to see, and at or near the top of any such list is a rising bill of any kind. If you're noticing higher rates on your HVAC bill recently, what are some of the issues that may be causing this?
At Thompson's Comfort Connection, we're happy to offer a wide range of AC and furnace repair, maintenance and installation services, ensuring that you're always comfortable and never deal with exorbitant heating or cooling costs. What are some of the key culprits that could be leading to increased bills in your home, and what can be done about them? Here's a simple primer from our HVAC experts.
One of the single most common causes of higher HVAC bills is a clogged filter. In fact, this is the culprit in many cases where homeowners insist that their systems are running just fine and they have no idea why they're seeing such high energy usage.
To help avoid clogs, we recommend changing your filters on a monthly basis during peak heating or cooling season (so about four times per year for most homeowners). It's also a good idea to give your system a quick once-over on the outside, looking for any debris that may have built up around it.
Problems with your ducts are another common cause of increased energy usage. If you've recently had work done on your home, or if you live in an older property, it's important to check for leaks or other issues that may be causing your system to work harder than necessary.
In addition, make sure all of your vents are open and aren't blocked by furniture or other items. This makes a big difference over time when it comes to energy efficiency.
If you're noticing that your heating or cooling bills are on the rise, but you don't have any other issues mentioned above, it's possible that your thermostat isn't working as efficiently as it should. Check to make sure that all of its settings are properly calibrated, and consider having it inspected if you're not sure.
In some cases, your thermostat may have worn down to the point that it can't accurately collect and relay data to your HVAC system. In this scenario, you may also want to consider having a professional take a look at some other aspects of your home's wiring - there could be more serious issues that are affecting your energy usage than just your thermostat. You also could consider upgrading your thermostat to a new model that's more efficient and easier to use.
Another common source of increased energy usage is poor insulation. If your home has older windows or doesn't have proper weatherproofing, it's likely that you're losing a significant amount of energy in the form of heat or cool air. Make sure all areas are properly sealed and insulated, and consider having an inspection done by our pros to determine if large-scale upgrades are needed.
Down similar lines, you may have window or door gaps that are letting in warm or cool air, which can translate to a big change in your energy bills. Make sure all of your doors and windows are properly sealed, and consider investing in weatherstripping products if you notice any issues.
In other cases, the problem may be bigger than just your HVAC system. If you have older appliances or other household items that are not energy-efficient, they could end up costing you a lot of extra money in the long run.
For instance, if you have a clothes dryer or fridge that's more than 10 years old, it may be time to consider replacing them with newer models that are designed to save energy. You can also look into compact fluorescent light bulbs or other technologies if your home is still being lit by older incandescent bulbs.
While many of the issues that can lead to higher HVAC bills related to worn-down or broken components, there are also some cases where improper user control could be the cause. For example, if you have a home with multiple zones and aren't sure how to properly set temperature controls in each one, this could lead to your system running more often than it should.
Make sure that you're using timers or setting thermostat control accordingly in order to avoid this issue. In addition, make sure that your kids and other family members are aware of the importance of keeping HVAC systems on a reasonable schedule, particularly when they're not home.
While this is somewhat rarer in today's day and age, where modern insulation materials and home design techniques are pretty much standardized, you can still end up facing this issue from time to time. If your area is consistently hit by extreme weather events such as cold snaps or heat waves, it's very likely that you'll see a larger-than-usual rise in your HVAC usage during those times.
Make sure that your home is properly insulated and prepared to withstand extreme weather conditions, such as installing storm windows or caulking any small gaps in your window frames. And if you're still concerned about this issue, a professional HVAC inspection can be hugely beneficial.
For more on how to identify the cause of a rising HVAC bill in your home, or to learn about any of our heating and air services, speak to our experts at Thompson's Comfort Connection today.