Many Charles Town, West Virginia, homeowners wonder why the cost of cooling is higher than the cost of heating during the winter. In fact, there’s a popular myth that says cooling during the summertime costs more than heating in the wintertime. In the Mid-Atlantic region and in most regions of the United States except possibly Florida and Southern California and Texas, this simply isn’t true. Even in many energy efficient homes, wintertime heating costs can sometimes run nearly twice what AC costs to run. In fact, if you live in an older homes, the costs are much higher; heating your house can be almost four times as high!
So if you do have higher cooling costs, then that’s a problem. The higher cooling cost can be caused by poor efficiency, insufficient insulation, and other common issues in your home.
Overall Cost of Energy
In most homes, the HVAC system accounts for half or more of the total energy used. Your air conditioner has a number of moving parts and complex components, so it requires quite a bit of energy to operate properly. However, if your bills are out of control or increasing steadily even when your usage isn’t changing too drastically, you could have an issue within the cooling system or insulation in your house.
The efficiency of a cooling system refers to how much energy it uses to cool down the air in the space. Every HVAC system comes with an efficiency rating and newer models are more efficient than older units. If your system is more than a decade old, it’s probably becoming less efficient, which explains your higher operation costs. You may want to consider upgrading to a unit with a higher SEER rating that can deliver cool air throughout your home while using less energy.
Poor efficiency can also be caused by several other issues. Failure to change your air filter regularly is a common cause of lower efficiency. When the filter is clogged and dirty, airflow slows down, which means the system has to work harder to move air throughout the rooms in your house. A dirty filter is also often linked to poor indoor air quality, which can cause allergy symptoms and other unpleasant health side effects. Failing to keep up with regular air conditioning maintenance is also a cause of poor efficiency. Make sure to have your AC tuned up by an experienced HVAC professional every spring to avoid this issue.
The insulation in your home also plays an important role in the overall atmosphere and energy usage. Insulation is placed between the walls and floors, holding in heated and cooled air while also providing sound dampening properties. When your home was built, the contractor would have determined how much insulation to place within the walls and floors. If your home is lacking, you may notice signs like drafty areas, a lot of noise when someone is walking across the floor above you, or higher energy bills. You can find out how much insulation is present and whether you need more to resolve this issue.
Air leaks also cause a decrease in HVAC efficiency, resulting in higher monthly cooling costs. Air leaks can happen in the ductwork that allows the air to move from the air conditioner to the various rooms in your home. If your ducts are leaking, you may hear hissing or rattling sounds when the AC or heating system is running. However, small leaks may not give any warning sounds, so an HVAC technician can check out the ductwork to determine if this is a problem in your home.
Air can also leak from openings to your house, including the doors and windows. Insufficient weatherstripping around these openings can lead to poor efficiency. Check the weatherstripping regularly to look for cracks and other signs of wear. You may also want to invest in new windows to prevent further air loss.
A problem with your thermostat can also cause higher energy usage. If it’s not communicating properly to the cooling system, it may be running for longer periods of time or cycling the air more frequently. When your thermostat is placed directly in the sunlight, it may also read a higher temperature, which means your system will run to cool down an already cooled area.
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