Hidden Cooling Costs and How to Avoid Them

cooling costsEvery homeowner knows that staying cool and comfortable comes at a cost. If you rarely run your A/C during the warmer months, all that sweating will pay off when your energy bill comes. But if you want your home to be a refuge from the heat (that’s why you have an air conditioner, after all), you could be looking at hundreds of dollars per month. The exact amount depends on how high the mercury rises, and how low you set your thermostat—but we all know that even with moderate usage, the costs can add up.

What many people don’t know is that it’s possible to lower your cooling costs without raising the temperature. How? By taking steps to avoid the following hidden costs of cooling a home or business.

1. Leaky Ducts

It’s easy to assume that if your air conditioning unit is functioning well, your cooling costs will be as low as they can be. However, if your ducts aren’t properly sealed, it doesn’t matter how much cool air your A/C pumps out—it will take more energy to achieve the same cooling effect.

Cracks or holes in your duct system are among the most common ways to lose cooling efficiency and incur higher monthly costs. A small percentage of cooling power is always lost due to heat in the duct walls themselves, especially if the ducts run through your attic. But this percentage is much higher—up to 50%—when your HVAC duct system has cracks or holes that prevent cool air from reaching the interior of your home. Such leaks can be difficult to locate without the help of an HVAC specialist.

Potential savings: If you’ve been running an HVAC system with faulty duct work, you could save up to 40% of your total annual cooling costs.

2. Neglecting Routine Maintenance

The average cost of a professional A/C repair is between $100-300, and if the problem is major, the cost can climb a lot higher. The kicker is, many of these problems are entirely preventable through regular maintenance checks. In addition to the main components of your A/C, such as the motors and coils, there are filtration and drainage systems that need regular maintenance. When these systems are left to their own devices for long periods of time, they become clogged and strained, leading to other malfunctions within the A/C unit. The resulting A/C repairs can cause your overall cooling costs to skyrocket.

Even annual maintenance checks go a long way toward keeping costs down, and most reputable HVAC specialists will perform routine maintenance for a surprisingly low fee. If your system is under a warranty that includes routine maintenance, make sure you take full advantage of it!

3. Poor Thermostat Management

It’s important to find the maximum temperature at which you are cool and comfortable at hom. This is because setting the thermostat lower, even by a single degree, can increase energy costs noticeably. When it gets hot outside, many people set the thermostat very low, believing that the A/C will cool the house more quickly and powerfully. This isn’t the case. The system will work just as quickly if you set the thermostat to your desired temperature, and you will avoid unnecessary strain on the system—which could lead to costly repairs in the future.

If you have questions or comments about this post, we’d love to hear from you. Please write in the box below, or get in touch to discuss your cooling needs.