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Clues that your HVAC system is inefficient

If your energy bills have skyrocketed, the cause might not be the rising cost of energy, but an inefficient HVAC system forcing your heater or air conditioner to work harder. It can be difficult to pinpoint why your HVAC system is inefficient, but you can look for some clues that your system isn’t running as it should. You then can ask a trusted HVAC professional to assess and fix whatever’s wrong to lower your bills.

Summer Air Is Cold and Clammy

Your air conditioner is supposed to remove moisture as well as cool the air. If the air in your home is getting cooler but not less humid, the condenser coils likely aren’t removing the moisture. People often respond by turning up the air conditioner even more, which leads to a colder house but doesn’t remove the humidity.

Air Conditioner Doesn’t Shut Off

If your air conditioner runs all day long, it’s likely not running efficiently. Typically, your air conditioner should run until it cools the air to a certain level, then cycle on again when the temperature increases again. If it’s running constantly, your AC system is likely too small for your home and runs continuously to try to meet the cooling demands of the space. An AC or heat pump that’s too large for your home is also inefficient because it will cycle on and off repeatedly (called short cycling), which wastes energy and stresses parts.

Bills Have Increased

Even if your energy provider has raised rates, it’s possible that an inefficiency also is raising your bills. It’s normal for systems to lose efficiency as they age and for rates to increase, but not to see a huge spike in your energy bill.

Temperature Is Inconsistent

When you have an efficient HVAC system, the temperature should be consistent across all rooms, with some exceptions. A single furnace or AC will struggle to keep loft or attic rooms cool in the summer and a finished basement warm in the winter. The thermostat, likely on the main floor, shuts off the system before those top and bottom rooms have reached the thermostat setting.

But inconsistent heating and cooling in similar rooms could be an issue with the AC or furnace blower not blowing hard enough to reach rooms at the end of a duct run, or the ductwork could be leaking. Air leaks or insufficient insulation in certain rooms could also be the problem.

Look for these recognizable signs of HVAC system problems so you don’t go months or even years overpaying for heating and cooling. Even replacing an inefficient system will produce years of financial benefits than going a long time with a system that's the wrong size for your home or is old or in disrepair.


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