The most significant energy expenditures for the average household are related to heating and cooling. When there’s an unusual spike in your electricity or natural gas bill from one month to the next, there’s a decent chance your HVAC system is the culprit.
Knowing there’s a problem isn’t a diagnosis, and it can be difficult to diagnose what the problem is based solely on your utility bill. The following are some potential reasons you could see a spike in your monthly energy costs.
There are a variety of components in your HVAC system that can break down over time. Even the best capacitors, compressors and motors eventually fail. They don’t necessarily stop working right away. Motors often lose efficiency and struggle for weeks or months before completely giving out.
Dying components may reduce effectiveness, which could mean your system is having to run longer or consume more fuel than normal to heat or cool your home to the temperature you set on your thermostat.
Your system sucks in air through your home’s return. That air must first pass through the air filter before making it to the system. A dirty air filter is the equivalent of your system trying to suck air through a clogged straw. The system has to work a lot harder to pull in an adequate amount of air to get the job done.
If you suddenly notice a higher bill and remember that you haven’t replaced your filter in months, there’s a decent chance that’s either the problem or contributing to the problem.
The actual heat pump, furnace, boiler or air conditioner may not itself be the problem. Ducts are not invincible, and they can develop leaks over time. Something also could have punctured or knocked lose your ducts, meaning you have hot or cold air leaking into your attic or somewhere else instead of making it into the rooms where it belongs. Duct leaks will cause your unit to run a lot longer to reach the temperature you set on your thermostat, which means higher costs.
If leaky ducts are the problem, you may also notice your unit running longer than usual to maintain your home’s temperature.
Heat pumps and air conditioners transfer heat either into or out of the air circulated through the unit thanks to Freon (or Puron). The refrigerant is vital for a system to function at all, and low refrigerant levels may mean significantly reduced efficiency. Your unit may still run, but you may notice the air coming out of your vents isn’t as cold (during the summer) or hot (during the winter) as it used to be.
The problems that lead to a drop in efficiency or breakdowns are often caught during regularly scheduled maintenance appointments. If it’s been a while since you’ve had a tune up performed on your furnace, air conditioner or heat pump it may be time to call up an HVAC professional.
Many of our customers lead busy lives, and they may not always remember their heating or cooling systems are due for a maintenance check. That’s one of the reasons we’ve set up our Vito VIP Club. Memberships include two HVAC service inspections a year (one before heating season and one before cooling season) plus a plumbing inspection; and we’ll call to remind you when it’s about time to schedule.
Vito VIP Club membership comes with many other perks, like 24/7 priority service, no emergency service fees and a 15 percent discount on all of our HVAC and plumbing services.
Properly maintained HVAC units break down 95 percent less and save home and businesses as much as 30 percent on their monthly utility costs. Members enjoy valuable peace of mind knowing there are no unpleasant surprises in store, or if there are someone will come out and fix it fast.
HVAC technology has progressed by leaps and bounds over the past couple decades. If your unit is 15 years old it could have a SEER rating of 13 or lower, which is the absolute minimum allowable for units made today. There’s a good possibility you can upgrade to a unit that offers significantly better cooling or heating performance at a lower price.
SEER ratings are essentially a measure of how much energy it takes to deliver a certain amount of heating or cooling. Upgrading from a 13 SEER to something closer to 20 could easily provide a 30 percent drop in utility costs (or more) while delivering faster heating or cooling performance.
Have you been noticing a drop in your HVAC performance or your utility bills have unexpectedly increased? There’s a good chance something may be wrong with your HVAC system. Vito Services is here to help.
Our residential and commercial HVAC professionals can diagnose any issues your heating or cooling system may be having. Give us a call at 800-438-8486 and we will dispatch a specialist as soon as possible to diagnose your problem.