Why Are My Utility Bills Suddenly So High?
With the sweltering, humid summer here in Arkansas, it’s to be expected that your utility bills may be a bit higher as your air conditioning unit runs at full blast. If, however, you’ve noticed an exceptionally large spike in your bills compared to those in years past, a bigger issue may be at hand.
The reasons your utility bills are higher can be fixed by making your home more energy efficient, but where should you start? Begin by inspecting these areas:
Air Conditioner Efficiency and Age
If you can’t even remember when your air conditioner was installed, it’s time to have it looked at. An outdated air conditioner, usually over 10 years old, can be one of the reasons your energy bills are spiking. Consider replacing your old AC, especially if it would need to undergo costly repairs, for a more energy efficient unit. This will undoubtedly help you save money in the long-term and keep you more comfortable during the summer. Even if your AC is relatively new, it’s important to schedule maintenance to maintain optimal performance.
Unless you have ductless mini-splits or window units, your home’s ductwork is essential to maintaining a comfortable home temperature during the summer. Estimates indicate that as much as 40% of your home’s conditioned air can escape through poor, leaky ductwork, meaning your air conditioner has to play catch-up, wasting even more energy. Having your ductwork sealed or replaced will ensure you aren’t spending unnecessarily on your utility bills.
Insulation keeps your home’s temperature consistent throughout the year, helping it resist temperature swings based on outdoor temperatures. During the summer, insulation helps keep heat from penetrating into your home, while during the winter, it helps keep heat from escaping. If your home, especially your attic, has insufficient insulation, you are fighting a losing battle. For your home to be energy efficient, adequate insulation is critical in stopping you from losing money.
A Leaky Building Envelope
Your home’s building envelope should consist of insulation (the thermal boundary) and air sealing (the pressure boundary). If your house isn’t air sealed, even adequate amounts of insulation won’t be able to prevent energy loss. Since air carries heat, moisture and pollution, by fixing a leaky building envelope your home’s temperature will be much easier to regulate, you’ll avoid potential moisture problems and have higher indoor air quality. Air sealing is a key step to avoiding energy loss and helping you save on your utility costs.
In addition to addressing these areas, other ways to save on high utility bills include a lighting retrofit, an upgrade to renewable solar energy and more. SEAL can help you find the energy efficiency solution for your home.