7 Reasons Your Energy Bills are Getting Higher

Are your energy bills going up, up, up this summer? With unforgiving temperatures here to stay for the near future, you’re probably relying more on your air conditioner than usual. But that doesn’t mean high bills should be the norm. Here are seven reasons why you may suddenly be paying more on your monthly energy bills than usual.

1. Dirty air filters

Air filters keep your air conditioner clean and keep airborne contaminants from entering your home. When filters get dirty and clogged with weeks of dust, dirt and other particles, the result is restricted air flow from your ducts. With less air flowing, it’ll take longer for your air conditioner to cool things down. A longer cooling cycle leads to higher energy bills. Replacing your air filters at least once every three months can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by anywhere from 5% to 15%.

2. Failing parts

Parts like the motor, capacitor, and compressor can raise your energy bills. A part that isn’t working as it should can drag the efficiency of the whole system down, and your wallet will feel the impact. Signs of failing parts and components include:

  • Reduced air flow
  • Warmer than usual air
  • Clicking, rumbling, or buzzing noises
  • Moisture leaks
  • Air conditioner running intermittently (short cycling)

All the signs above can impact your energy bills and cost you a significant amount of money. To get to a clear sense of what’s going on with your air conditioner, contact an HVAC professional to diagnose the problem.

3. Low refrigerant

Low refrigerant levels due to leaks can cause your air conditioner to short cycle. Short cycling occurs when an air conditioner turns on and off in short bursts, and never completes a full cooling cycle. Higher energy bills and increased wear-and-tear on the unit are two major consequences of short cycling.

You’ll need to work with an HVAC professional to address low refrigerant. Simply adding more refrigerant won’t fix the problem—the technician will have to ensure that the unit is properly charged with the right type and amount of refrigerant.


4. Thermostat settings

If you’re turning to your thermostat to counter the sweltering summer heat, you’ll likely see an impact on your energy bills. You can save as much as 10% a year on your bills by turning your thermostat anywhere from 7-10 degrees higher than you usually set it. This could mean going from 70 degrees to 77 degrees.

On the other hand, lowering your home’s temperature can increase your annual cooling costs by as much as 47%. If saving money is a priority, you should aim to lower your cooling costs by setting your thermostat higher.

There’s no right answer when it comes to finding the right temperature to set your thermostat to. ENERGY STAR® recommends the following to balance cooling costs and energy efficiency:

  • 78 degrees when you’re home during the day
  • 85 degrees when you’re away from home
  • 82 degrees when you’re sleeping

5. Windows and doors

Air leakage from windows and doors can have a major impact on how well your air conditioner cools your home. If your windows are badly sealed or have formed gaps along the edges, hot air from the outdoors will be able to enter your home unfiltered. In response, your air conditioner will have to work harder to cool your home and may not be able to do its job efficiently. If a certain room never cools down, or never warms up in the winter, poor insulation and air leaks may be to blame.

A home energy audit can reveal if your windows and doors are letting cool air (and money) flow right out of your home. Both APS and SRP offer online and in-person home energy audits throughout the Valley.

6. Aging air conditioner

Are you suddenly paying a lot more on your energy bills, with no obvious cause? Your aging air conditioner may be to blame. Older air conditioners need to work much harder to cool your home, leading to an increased use of energy that is reflected in a higher bill. Additionally, older air conditioners often have trouble cooling a home sufficiently. This can lead to you lowering the thermostat more often and increasing your energy bills.

The Department of Energy estimates that replacing your air conditioner with a newer, energy-efficient unit can save you 20 to 40% on your annual cooling costs. In a harsh desert climate like Arizona, air conditioners don’t last as long as the national average. If your air conditioner is at least 7 years old, it’s time to consider making an upgrade. You may get to the point where you’re spending more on constant repairs and part replacements than you would on a new system.

7. Insufficient maintenance

It can happen to any of us: life gets in the way and you forget to schedule annual HVAC maintenance. Unfortunately, without regular maintenance, your air conditioner likely isn’t running at peak performance. There may also be silent problems lurking in the system without you knowing it. The only sign you may get of a major component failure is a sudden increase on your monthly electric bills.

Our maintenance calls are not available during the peak summer season, which is from June to September. However, our repair and replacement services are always available, including our 24/7 emergency services. That means that even if you discover a problem with your system during the summer, you can still have it repaired or replaced by the experts at Chas Roberts.

Tips to lower cooling costs

Air conditioning is basically a necessity as temperatures hit triple digits and summer scorches on. The good news is, you can lower your cooling costs without compromising the comfort of your home. Here are a few ways to do it:

  • Install a programmable thermostat and save around $180 a year on cooling and heating costs
  • Use ceiling fans to cool down your home without raising your thermostat setting
  • Upgrade to a new ENERGY STAR certified air conditioner
  • Install blackout curtains or solar shades to prevent solar heat gain, and keep them closed during the day

Get to the bottom of high energy bills with Chas Roberts

Troubleshooting high energy bills can be frustrating—so let us get to the bottom of it. No matter if it means inspecting the system from top to bottom or getting you set up with a new air conditioner, you’ll enjoy superior service every step of the way. Contact us to get started.