Did you experience an unusual surge of emotions, such as anger and confusion, or break out in a cold sweat while reading your latest electricity bill? If so, you’ve suffered a classic case of bill shock, otherwise known as the negative reaction a subscriber can experience when they receive a bill that’s too high or has unexpected charges.
In this article, Cool Zone Air Conditioning & Heating, a reputable furnace, and AC replacement company shares five key questions to ask yourself when you receive an unusually high electric bill, including some of the most common HVAC problems that can cause it.
High Electric Bill Checklist
To help you get a better understanding of why your energy bill is higher than usual, make sure to ask yourself the following pertinent questions:
How has the weather been recent?
Recent weather conditions have a significant impact on how much energy your household consumes. In the hotter, more humid months of the year, using a high-performing air conditioner frequently to cool down the house is a major reason behind an increase in energy usage. On a similar note, your household’s energy consumption can also shoot up during the shorter, colder months of the winter season, especially if you’re spending more time indoors and using electrical equipment to heat your home.
If seasonal weather changes often cause a surge in your electricity bill, it’s time to look for better methods to adequately cool or heat your home. You may also consider switching to a smarter, more cost-effective energy plan shortly.
Are you and your family spending more time at home?
The COVID-19 pandemic introduced a new normal at the beginning of last year. Today, it still rings true in most household settings. Many American families are spending more time at home, whether they’re working, homeschooling, or simply staying safe at home. Unfortunately, this can also drive up the energy usage of a household, because more people need heating or cooling day in and day out.
In the state of Arizona, just about every home needs a high-performing heating and cooling system, as well as a regular furnace and AC maintenance plan, to battle cold winters and semi-arid summers, as well as make the living environment safe and pleasant for the residents.
Have you had visitors recently?
Perhaps your in-laws came to stay for a couple of months, or maybe you were babysitting the children of a sick relative. If the size of your household suddenly increases, your energy consumption–and therefore your bill–is often swift to follow suit. This can also be the situation if you have family members spending longer hours at home during the holidays.
If you think about the additional dishes, laundry, steamy showers, lighting, and electronics usage, it’s not surprising to hear that your electric bill has skyrocketed.
Are you using old appliances?
Another factor that can affect your energy usage at home is the current condition of your appliances. For example, operating a run-down refrigerator that’s inefficient and past its prime often means that you’re using a larger amount of energy than a residential home with a newer, better-maintained unit. If this is the case, it’s high time you throw out your outdated, energy-guzzling appliances and purchase-brand new ones. You can save more money when you buy an energy-efficient appliance than continuing to spend hard-earned money on frequent repairs and maintenance.
If you’re planning on an appliance upgrade, like a heat pump or AC replacement, be sure to read articles on how to find the right equipment that’s not only appropriate for the size and demands of your household but can also save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in annual operating costs.
Is your household energy efficient?
If you’ve been served a suspiciously large electric bill, perhaps it’s time to start improving the eco-friendliness of your living space. From installing LED lighting to using lower temperature settings on your washing machine and updating your furnace unit, there’s an array of possible things you can do to save a lot of money in the long run.
Your first step should be to conduct a home energy audit to determine where most of your energy consumption is occurring, as well as how you can improve the efficiency of your home.
HVAC Problems That Cause High Electric Bills
In the majority of homes, the cooling and heating system consumes the most energy. It’s crucial to perform routine furnace and AC maintenance to keep your system in good working order and help minimize the costs that end up on your monthly billing statement.
Dirty air filter. Air filters are responsible for trapping dust, dirt, and other pollutants lingering in the air to keep the household clean. If you fail to replace your filter routinely, debris will build up and restrict airflow throughout the ductwork, causing your unit to take longer to cool down your home. Naturally, longer operating hours, along with overheating motors and compressors, will cause the electric bill to soar.
Duct leaks. Your ductwork distributes air throughout the interior space. It plays a vital role in the efficiency of your cooling and heating system because it’s in charge of delivering the desired indoor temperature.
A leak in the ductwork will hamper the ability of your system to evenly distribute conditioned air and meet the demands of your thermostat. If the air conditioner is taking too long to reach the desired temperature on the thermostat, then it will end up running harder and longer, resulting in poor indoor air quality and high electric bills. If you suspect that there’s a leak in your ductwork, call an AC repair technician to inspect and patch it up immediately.
Failing parts. Failing parts, such as motors, capacitors, and compressors, will also cause your electric bill to spike and make your system less reliable. For instance, if there’s a malfunctioning condenser motor in your unit and you’re attempting to cool down your home, the motor won’t be able to pull heat from your house well enough. The motor struggling, along with the thermostat not being satisfied, is going to cause the motor to run longer, which will result in high electric bills. This can continue until your motor breaks down completely.
Low refrigerant, Air conditioners, and heat pumps use refrigerant to transfer heat and draw it out of your home. If the refrigerant level is too low, it won’t allow your system to remove heat effectively, and it will only be a matter of time before you see an increase in your bills because the system is forced to work twice as hard as normal to meet the desired temperature setting.
Contact Us for All Your Heating & Cooling Needs
If you’re looking for a reliable contractor to upgrade your old, shabby heating or cooling equipment, Cool Zone Air Conditioning & Heating — a premier source of professional HVAC solutions, such as AC repairs, furnace tune-ups, and heat pump installations, in Peoria, Arizona — is here to help! Our top-rated technicians are committed to providing the safe, comfortable living space that every homeowner deserves through industry-leading products and services. To set up an appointment, call us today at (623) 777-3881 or fill out our contact form.