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What’s Behind the Rising Cost to Run Your AC?

If you keep a close track on your monthly utility bills, you’ll expect to see electricity use rise in summer. Your air conditioning system consumes a large amount of electricity to run (the compressor consumes about 3,500 watts per hour, more than almost any household appliance), so when the AC becomes a regular part of summer days, it will raise the electricity bill.

But what if the bill goes higher than you expected, and you know that your household hasn’t used the air conditioner more than unusual? If it isn’t due to an increase in the cost of electricity, you may have a faulty AC on your hands.

In many cases, professional air conditioning repair in Colorado Springs, CO can correct the trouble that’s making your AC expensive to run. Our technicians can quickly diagnose the issue and explain what needs to be done to your HVAC system to get it back in cost-effective shape.

Here are some of the more common causes of an AC costing too much to run:

The air conditioner is at the end of its service life

We’ll start with the most drastic problem first: you may have an AC that’s dying. When an air conditioner receives regular annual maintenance, it will retain around 95% of its original energy efficiency rating until the last one or two years of its service life. When that efficiency starts to plummet and sends bills higher, it’s a warning that the air conditioner is in those final days and needs a replacement. (Most AC last for 10 to 15 years.)

The air filter needs to be changed

Now to a simpler problem: a dirty air filter putting too much pressure on the HVAC blower fan. This is a common issue because homeowners often forget to regularly change this filter. If your AC started the season without a filter change, we’re not surprised it’s costing too much to run. Put in a clean filter and you may have the problem solved. And keep up with regular changes to avoid more trouble in the future.

Loss of refrigerant

The refrigerant that starts out in your AC when it’s installed, known as the system’s charge, is supposed to remain the same for the air conditioner’s service life. The charge can drop because of leaks, however, and this will cause the AC to lose efficiency as it tries to do the same job with less. Low refrigerant is a threat to the entire air conditioner because it will eventually cause the compressor to overheat and burn out, so it’s important to have the problem addressed as soon as you can—and it does require professionals who are licensed to handle refrigerant. 

Dirty condenser coils

The outdoor coils of your AC may have dirt, grime, and mulch on them, which makes it harder for the AC to expel heat outdoors. This severely limits AC efficiency. You can wash the outdoor unit with a hose on low pressure (don’t blast water into the cabinet) to help, although sometimes you’ll require professionals to clean the coils. 

Robbins Heating & Air Conditioning serves Colorado Springs and the surrounding area. Call when you’ve got AC trouble!

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