In homes with HVAC systems, the ducts distribute conditioned air around your home, but in a great many instances, as much as 20% of that air gets lost due to problems such as leaks, holes or ducts that have been poorly or incorrectly connected. When this happens, you’ll usually begin to notice higher energy bills and difficulty maintaining a comfortable temperature throughout the home.
Along with leaks in the ducts, your system could also have dirty filters, low refrigerant, failing parts, or simply be old and past its best, any of which can easily cause a rise in utility bills.
If your energy bills have suddenly spiked and your home isn’t keeping warm or cool enough, then you may need to call a local company specializing in HVAC systems, and have them come out and assess the system as soon as possible.
Here are 5 of the most common causes of high energy bills:
- Dirty air filters and clogged ducts
If air filters aren’t routinely replaced (talk to a HVAC professional to know how often this should be) and air ducts aren’t cleaned regularly, you can expect debris to build up in the system and restrict airflow. As a result, the compressor and motor must work harder to keep your home at an ambient temperature, causing a surge in your electricity bills.
Change the filters and arrange for the air ducts to be professionally cleaned if you suspect this to be the cause for your high energy bills.
- Leaking ducts
Your home may never reach a desirable temperature if the ducts have a leak, and the system as a whole will have to work harder to satisfy the thermostat. This leads to…yep – you’ve guessed it, higher energy bills.
If you suspect your ducts may have a leak, arrange for a professional to come and perform a duct leakage test. Note that according to the IECC (International Energy Conservation Code), this test must be carried out on all new systems installed in homes and businesses from 2020.
- Failing components
HVAC systems are made up of several components that must be working well in order for it to achieve optimum efficiency. If the motor is failing, for example, it will need to run longer to satisfy thermostat settings, and it won’t take long for you to see a surge in your utility bills.
- A lack of maintenance
It can be all too easy to have an HVAC system installed and then simply forget about it, but the evidence shows that a well-maintained system is likely to last a lot longer, perform its role far more effectively and keep your energy bills at a reasonable rate.
Have a HVAC technician come out and assess your system to check its efficiency, especially if your energy bills are higher than usual. They may clean the coils, ducts or recommend that you replace the motor, among others.
- Old system
Most appliances lose their efficiency over time, and if your HVAC system is getting on in years, it could be responsible for you paying more for your energy bills of late. Older systems use more energy, and if yours is older than a decade, it might be worth investing in a newer, more efficient system.
To keep your HVAC system running smoothly and your energy bills as low as possible, engage with a local technician who can clean it, replace any parts as necessary, and generally keep it performing well.