Energy auditors from the Florida Public Service Commission have come up with 15 commonly-seen contributors to inefficient home cooling and high utility bills during Florida’s sultry summer months. Investigate these costly culprits from one of the most trusted Orlando air conditioning companies and you could save big money on your electric and gas bills!
1. A dirty, clogged air filter: We are all admonished to regularly change the A/C filter but how often do we really do it? Restricted air flow increases strain on your air conditioning unit while decreasing the comfort level in your home. For optimum air comfort and quality, check and/or change your air filter every month during the summer and during any period of heavy use. This also prolongs the life of your air conditioning system.
2. A poorly-insulated ceiling: The air you are paying to have chilled and circulated throughout the house can escape through a poorly-insulated ceiling when it mingles with super-heated air from the attic. This can have an effect on your home staying cool.
3. A thermostat set too low: Did you know that home cooling costs in Florida can increase by nearly 12% for every degree below 78 that a thermostat is set? Sure, you can crank it down to 70, but this will almost double your energy costs and a labored A/C system, running almost non-stop to combat the intense Florida sun. Researchers recommend moderate cooling, including turning it up a few notches when nobody’s home.
4. A thermostat set to “FAN”: Setting your system so that the fan is constantly blowing means that some of the time it is blowing warm, moist, and un-conditioned air. Moisture from leaky ducts will increase the humidity in your house and make the A/C unit have to work harder when it kicks in again. Setting your thermostat to “AUTO” is a smarter choice.
5. Warm air entering from outside: When humid summer air oozes into your home through poorly-sealed windows and doors, dampers, outlets and other crevices, your A/C system must labor to dry out the moisture, reducing its effectiveness and increasing its running time. Florida studies show that nearly half (38%) of the unit’s operating time is spent de-humidifying the sweltering outdoor air.
6. Mismatched components in the A/C unit: If you have an old system that has been pieced together via repairs over the years, you may have some mismatched elements which contribute to inefficient operation. To ensure optimal performance, contact an experienced and reputable HVAC service company such as Del-Air. We will make certain your condenser and evaporator sections correctly match the manufacturer’s specifications and that your entire A/C system is running smoothly and efficiently.
7. Accumulated dust and debris on the evaporator coils: Evaporator coils need to be clean and debris-free in order to work properly. Contact Del-Air to schedule a complete system inspection today! One of our knowledgeable service technicians will make sure your a/c system is not suffering from decreased airflow and lower energy efficiency, which can degrade nearly 5% annually with dirty evaporator coils.
8. Does your pool pump have a timer? If not, chances are your pool pump is running all the time. When operating all year round, cost estimates for this approach is around $800 – for the running pump alone! Investing in a pool pump timer is a wise decision, which can lead to tremendous savings, typically paying for itself in just a few months.
9. An incorrectly-calibrated thermostat: If your thermostat is set to 78 but the system is working to maintain a temperature of 74, would you know it? The thermometer on the faceplate of your thermostat could be displaying an inaccurate reading if not correctly calibrated. This is more common than you might think – some thermostats have been known to display readings more than 10 degrees in error. Because even a slight inaccuracy can lead to inflated utility bills, we encourage you to contact Del-Air to schedule a service call – we’ll make sure your thermostat is correctly calibrated!
10. A blocked return air grill: Your return air grill is usually placed in your floor, and energy inspectors frequently find them partially or completely covered by rugs and/or furniture. When the indoor HVAC coil receives an inadequate flow of return air, its running temperature can become so low that ice forms on it, freezing operation and potentially shortening the life of your a/c system.
11. An A/C duct ventilating into your garage: Many modern homes have optional air conditioning ducts that ventilate into the garage. Check to see if yours does, and whether you are unwittingly pouring cooled air where you don’t need or want it.
12. Your doors are not insulated with weather stripping: A typical ½” gap around your entire door adds up to the equivalent of a grapefruit-sized hole. If you imagine how much warm, humid air would pour into such a hole from outside, you can easily see the value of properly weather stripping the top, bottom and sides of your home’s doors to keep cool air in and hot, moist air out.
13. An old refrigerator or freezer in the garage: When replacing an appliance, many homeowners are tempted to keep the old one in the garage for extra storage capacity. The problem is, the garage is usually the same temperature as the outdoors and your old, inefficient unit must work extra hard to maintain temperature during hot summer months. This can easily add an additional $50 or more to your utility bills.
14. Leaky windows and doors due to old, cracked caulking: Similar to the value of weather stripping your doors, ensuring that the myriad crevices around caulked areas of windows, doors, pipes, siding, etc. are not pouring in the humid outdoor air is a worthwhile endeavor. Your typical all-purpose silicone caulking is inexpensive and easy to apply. Sealing up all the minuscule cracks in your home will make your comfort zone much more affordable!
15. A flattened or kinked flex duct in your attic: If certain rooms in your home, particularly larger areas such as the family room or kitchen, are receiving decreased air supply, your a/c system must work much harder to cool them to the temperature set on your thermostat. Del-Air has found that the culprit is sometimes a flattened flex duct in the attic, restricting air flow to a certain room. Most people rarely go to their attics and wouldn’t suspect such a simple cause to the problem. Del-Air has the friendly and experienced team of HVAC service personnel to help you stay cool and comfortable during Florida’s hot summers!
If you live in Florida, there are two things you can count on: hot, muggy weather and the proven reliability of Del-Air. We’re one of Orlando’s top air conditioning companies and we’ve been helping Floridians remain cool and comfortable since 1983. Del-Air has earned a reputation for fast, friendly service delivered by our expert team of service professionals.