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Power Down – Lowering Your Electrical Costs

ac maintenance attic insulation

“My electric bill keeps getting higher and higher!” — I hear this from my customers on a regular basis so today I want to explore the different reasons this happens. We are going to look at the age of your air conditioner, the windows in your home, and what is going on in your deep dark attic.

Let’s begin with the air conditioning system in your home. The first thing you need to know is that sixty-five percent of your Florida Power and Light bill comes from your air conditioner. Air conditioning systems are a lot like humans. As we age, it takes more and more energy to get us up and running and this also holds true for your AC system.

When you first install a typical three-ton AC system it will take about fifteen amps to start the unit, and when it is running it will draw about 8-10 amps. If we look at that same system twelve years later, it is going to take over one-hundred amps just to get the compressor started, and it will be pulling around twenty-five amps to keep it running. As happens with any machinery, age causes wear and tear so things break down, draw more energy, and just plain wear out. Installing a new air conditioner can certainly lower your FPL bill, and in some cases significantly so.

Next up, let’s chat about your windows. When I run a Manuel J HVAC load calculation (What size does the air conditioner need to be?) the biggest impact on sizing a system is the type and efficiency of the home’s windows. I’ve seen homes with the old-style jalousie windows that upgraded to hurricane windows shave two-tons off the required BTU’s to cool the home. Yes, in case you are wondering we do windows!

Let’s head to the hottest, darkest, and sometimes scariest place in your home — the attic. The attic is where your ductwork lives and until very recent building code changes to new construction, attics were all very under-insulated. Why does the ductwork matter you ask? In a properly functioning air conditioner the air leaving the air handler is going to be around twenty degrees colder than the thermostat set point. The air warms as it travels through the ducts and leaking duct connections, or ductwork that is not properly insulated, makes the air conditioner work harder and air that you are paying to cool is getting lost to the attic.

Last and certainly not least is how the attic is insulated. I’ve done several articles in the recent past on the different types and ways to insulate your attic, however, the bottom line is that a properly insulated attic, whichever method you choose, will reduce your cooling costs by a minimum of twenty percent, and in extreme cases even forty or fifty percent.

The best advice I can give you — if you’re sick and tired of sending FPL hundreds of dollars every month give us a ring and we’ll explore different ways and options for you to start saving some of your hard-earned cash.

Until we meet again my friends just remember, in the ancient words of Confucius, “Never trust an electrician with no eyebrows”.

House Whisperer out!!!

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