4 Signs Your AC Is Losing Efficiency (And Costing You $$$)

August 04, 2016

No one wants to pay more than they should in cooling costs. And no one wants to sit in a hot, uncomfortably home either.

Unfortunately, you’re on your way to doing both if your air conditioner is losing efficiency!
 
So how do you know when your air conditioner is starting to betray you?
 
Well, the most obvious signs are:

  1. Your utility bills are higher than they used to be
  2. You’re not as cool/comfortable as you used to at home

But there are other less common signs that your AC is losing efficiency. To help, we’ve listed 4 of these lesser known signs below.

Sign #1: Your air conditioner is over 15 years old.

According to Energy.gov, an average AC lifespan is 15 to 20 years

Most likely, if your AC system is older than 15 years, it isn’t as efficient as it once was. You’re likely paying more than you were 5 years ago for the same amount of cooling.
 
Why?
 
Basic “wear and tear” like a damaged compressor or dirty refrigerator coils can end up costing you a lot of money because it makes your system work a lot harder (and use more energy) to cool the same amount of space.

Sign #2: You notice longer cooling cycles.

If you notice that your A/C is running longer than it used to, you’re likely paying more each month than you should.

In fact, we found that you end up paying $166.08 more each cooling season if your air conditioner is running just 2 hours longer than an average, efficient air conditioner.

Cost Of Ac 2Cost Of Ac 1

Calculated using average Kansas City electricity prices

Photo source: Energyusecalculator.com

In the picture above, we compared the cost of an average central AC’s run time (9 hours a day at 3500 watts/hour) with the cost of a less efficient AC that has to run 2 hours longer to cool the same home.

 
If your air conditioner seems like it’s running non-stop, this article should help you determine why your AC is constantly running and what to do about it.

Sign #3: Your system is making abnormal sounds.

Your HVAC system shouldn’t make much noise other than a gentle hum coming from the compressor or fan motor.

If your system suddenly starts making an abnormal sound, that’s a good sign that something in your system is working too hard (or improperly) to cool your home, increasing costs and the chance of a breakdown..
 
Examples of some “abnormal” noises include:

  • Banging/clanking noises
  • A screeching sound
  • Hissing or bubbling
  • A loud buzzing
  • A constant clicking sound

Not quite sure if the noises your AC is making is “normal”? Check out these articles:

Sign #4: You get inconsistent temperatures throughout the house.

According to EnergyStar, if you have inconsistent temperatures from one room to another, you probably have leaky ducts which results in a 20% efficiency loss. 

If you have holes in your duct system or improperly installed ducts, that means the cool, conditioned air you’re paying for is escaping into unconditioned areas like the attic.
 
Check for rooms that are hotter or colder than others. Another sign of duct leakage is an increase in dust throughout your home. Dust from the attic or behind walls infiltrates your duct system through leaks and gets blown into your home.
 
Related: Why Your Home’s Ductwork Could Be Leaking Money

Seeing the signs? Get advice from a Kansas City HVAC professional

If you’re noticing one or more of these signs, it’s most likely time for a repair or system replacement. 

But before you take out that wallet, get advice from the reliable professionals at Santa Fe.
 
We’ll be able to inspect your unit and determine what’s actually needed so that you don’t end up spending more than you need to.
 
Just contact us today and stop wasting money on an inefficient system!


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