How to Lower an Abnormally High Cooling Bill in Cincinnati, OH

If you’re a Cincinnati homeowner and you cool your home using an air conditioner, you’re probably familiar with increased summer electric costs. While it’s normal to pay more money for electricity during air conditioning season, an electric bill that skyrockets without explanation is a sign your central air system energy usage is not efficient.

It’s true a heating and cooling unit requires significant electrical power to heat and cool the home to comfortable temperatures. However, your HVAC system should not leave you with an unexpected high cooling bill. If the summer heat hasn’t been too hot and you haven’t hosted extra company for parties or holidays, the best explanation for the increasing cost of your energy bills is that your air conditioner lacks efficiency in some way. Thermostat errors, refrigerant leaks, poor maintenance, and overlooked repair services are a few reasons why air conditioners could lose efficiency and cost more money to operate this season.

Thomas & Galbraith knows it shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg to keep your house cool when the outdoor temperature is warm. As your trusted Cincinnati cooling contractor, we let you in on the most common causes of high electricity costs and how to repair them so you can save money this season.

Incorrect Thermostat Settings

A manual thermostat, smart thermostat, or programmable thermostat all present opportunities for user error, no matter how advanced your temperature control technology may be. Simple mistakes in adjusting temperature schedules for your programmable thermostat or forgetting prior adjustments can result in high energy waste and increased air conditioning bills.

  • Avoid the urge to turn the temperature down super low when the weather is warm, and the heat outdoors feels intense. This move will not cool your home faster, it only tells your air conditioner to cool your home to lower temperatures than normal. Chances are, you’ll forget you made the adjustment and won’t stop the system from cycling once your home hits a comfortable temperature – your cooling unit will continue to run until the lower setting is achieved, wasting a great amount of energy taking your home from your preferred cooling setting to the extremely low one you cranked the thermostat down to.

  • Thermostat mistakes can also cause high electric bills when they force an air conditioning system to run at the same time as a heating unit. Homes with heat pumps may be equipped with electric resistance heating strips, and some older residences may depend on baseboard units for heat rather than a central forced air furnace. If the heat strips or baseboards are accidentally left on or turned on, they are constantly generating more heat that the air conditioner has to overcompensate for. Make sure your thermostat is set to COOL mode, not HEAT or HEAT/COOL in the summer. Inspect individual thermostats for baseboard heating units throughout the house and make sure none have been set on, purposefully or by accident.

Poor Maintenance of Your Air Conditioning Unit

All air conditioners need reoccurring upkeep services to preserve performance and prevent declines in energy efficiency. Professional service and homeowner to-do tasks that are neglected create a (lack of) maintenance routine that ends up costing you quite a bit.

Professional Tune-up Services

Every air conditioner needs a tune-up once per year, with early spring being the ideal time to get this job done. The steps that are involved in this professional service benefit Cincinnati homeowners by reducing electric usage and costs associated with cooling system operation.

When you skip a central air unit tune-up, the system accumulates wear and tear that cause it to work harder and waste electricity as it overworks. Even if it’s already summer before you remember to have your air conditioning serviced, don’t skip it!

New Air Filter Replacement

An air conditioner requires a clean air filter to cool your home efficiently. This component allows good airflow through the system, so it does not get too hot and overheat or stress components as it attempts to properly force air through a clogged air filter. Pay the cost of a replacement filter every so often and you’ll save money on utility bills over the summer. Examine the air filter at least monthly and install a new one once the filter surface is completely full of contaminant particles.

Lost Cooling Through Leaky Ducts

The average U.S. home loses 20 to 30% of heating and cooling energy through leaks in the ductwork. Ducts carry cool air from the air conditioner to living areas across the home. When duct joints become loose or disconnected, duct runs collapse, and flex duct tears or is damaged, your air conditioning bill will rise because cool air is escaping the ducts into areas of the house where it is not wanted or needed. Most ducts run through attics and crawlspaces or basements which typically lack insulation, so your home loses energy.

Professional duct sealing services performed by your trusted HVAC contractor eliminate leaks and help your ducts retain cool air for your comfort and cost savings. Make a call to your HVAC company and you’ll start to save up to 30% on your electric bill as soon as service is complete!

Ignoring the Need for Air Conditioning Repair

Overlooking or ignoring the need to have your air conditioning system serviced is a serious cause of high energy costs. Malfunctions within your cooling system cause the unit to work harder and waste energy as it does. Faults result in increased electric consumption without producing better performance – usually, performance is worse, so you pay more money for less comfort.

A refrigerant leak is an example of a commonly overlooked cooling repair problem that can increase unit electric consumption over the summer. A leak in refrigerant lines or elsewhere in the sealed system cause the unit to lose coolant that is vital to its efficient operation. Low refrigerant means there isn’t enough coolant to absorb and transfer heat efficiently, so the system is forced to run longer and waste electric power, which you’ll see on your bills.

High electricity bills from your utility company that cannot be traced to another cause are usually an example of the need to repair your central air system. Call your HVAC contractor on the phone and make an appointment for service. He or she will be able to find the problem and perform the right repair to prevent your unit from wasting so much electric energy this season.

Poor Insulation Throughout the Home

If your home doesn’t have enough insulation throughout, cooling is lost because your home cannot retain this energy efficiently. Old windows also lack the insulation technology that newer models have, which results in heat gain and cooling loss for the home. If energy efficiency improvements are possible, raise the R-value of insulation in your attic, basement, or crawlspace and consider replacing old windows with new windows with triple panes and other efficiency features.

You Need a New Air Conditioning Unit

If your electricity bills have steadily increased over the past few summers, it is possible that you need to replace your central air equipment. Older air conditioners are much less energy efficient than newer models for two key reasons: first, they lose efficiency as the years pass, and secondly, technology and standards have improved so much in recent times that newer models are built starting at much higher energy efficiency ratings.

When you install a new air conditioning unit, start cooling your home at a much higher level of energy efficiency. You’ll see that you begin to save money from the very first month you use it, as the new equipment doesn’t eat up electric power from poor efficiency or wasteful malfunctions.

Save on Electricity Bills with Thomas & Galbraith

No matter the weather outside, a system that wastes energy is a burden on your budget – it will never save you money. Thomas & Galbraith offers the cooling services Cincinnati homeowners need to lower high electric bills over the summer season. Contact us for air conditioning repair, maintenance, or replacement services throughout the Greater Cincinnati area.

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