Apex Heating and Air – Don’t break the bank with your home AC bill this summer

Have your summer cooling costs been creeping up despite keeping a consistent temperature on your thermostat? Sometimes the fixes are simpler than an AC unit in need of maintenance. Try these ideas first and then call Apex Heating and Air to handle the rest.

A huge factor in a warm house and an overworked AC unit is the amount of sunlight seeping through your windows. Luckily this is an easy fix. Adding window treatments that can be closed during the hottest parts of the day help trap the cool air inside and keep the warm air out. This can also be done with ‘solar screens’ or mesh window screens that prevent the UV energy from entering your home. It packs a double punch by keeping your home cool and preventing floors and furniture from fading in the sun. Another option is to create more shade around your home by planting trees and shrubs. Similar to the screens and window treatments, trees and shrubs prevent sunlight from entering your home. They also create shady space outside for more comfortable outdoor living.

A programmable thermostat is another great way to save on heating and cooling. Being able to program the temperature of your home to a higher temperature when no one is home can save you tons of money. This ensures your house is only being cooled for the times that people are in it. There is no sense in cooling an empty house! Most programmable thermostats come with detailed installation instructions, but if you need help with installation, Apex Heating and Air is just a phone call or email away!

The best way to save on home heating and cooling is to have an energy audit done. This evaluates how efficient your home is in its energy use. Everything from age and efficiency of your AC unit, to air leakage from windows will be evaluated. A home audit really does ensure that you’re not ‘cooling the neighborhood’ along with your home. Apex Heating and Air can perform a home energy audit for you, as well as maintain or install new AC units to make sure your home is as efficient as possible — saving you money in the long run!

Discover issues before they become a problem by calling Apex Heating and Air Conditioning today at (919) 467-8823 to schedule a checkup, or signup for our annual maintenance contract.

(sources: US Department of Energy, Bankrate)

How to Avoid a Shocking Electric Bill

How to Avoid a Shocking Electric Bill

Imagine opening your monthly utility bill and seeing you owe over $900 dollars for one 30-day period. Though it sounds impossible, this actually happened, and it could happen to you if your air conditioning unit runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In this real-world example, the homeowner’s system was both heating and cooling the house at the same time. It seems odd, but no one in the family felt heat coming out of the vents because the heat was mixed with the cool air from the air conditioner and they “cancelled” each other out…all the while using a crazy amount of energy fighting each other.

Fortunately, this issue was resolved, but the electricity provider wouldn’t take pity on the homeowner. He coughed up the outrageous bill and learned a valuable lesson in the process: Homeowners should pay close attention to HVAC systems and be on the lookout for changes in how the unit is functioning.

A unit can run non-stop for a number of reasons, but it most likely indicates a problem with the system or some other issue in the home that needs correction. Here are a few of the common culprits:

HVAC Unit Size and “Fit”

A properly sized, energy-efficient central air conditioning system will run fairly continuously in the summer to maintain a constant, desired temperature in your home. If the unit is too small it has to work harder to cool your home. Over time, this increases the wear and tear on the unit and will shorten its life. In addition, this undersized system will never be able to cool your home to your satisfaction and breakdowns will be common. If the unit is too large it can’t effectively remove moisture from the air which results in an output of moist, clammy air. The system will also use excessive amounts of electricity leading to higher utility bills.

It’s important to note that the size of your ductwork should be proportional to the size of the air conditioning unit. If ducts are the wrong size, they may not be able to handle the airflow or distribute cool air efficiently to all parts of the home.

How Old is the Filter?

Do you know when you last changed the air filters in your home? If it’s been awhile, those filters are restricting air flow. Poor air flow cuts down on the amount of cool air the unit can produce, which in turn, forces the air conditioner to run more through the day.

A dirty filter forces the system to work harder which can lead to overheating. Without enough air flowing over the coils, the system is unable to remove humidity and cool the air to the set temperature. All the unit can do is keep running when it shouldn’t. Be sure to clean or replace filters once a month or as recommended by the manufacturer for best performance.

Parts Don’t Last Forever

Failing parts on a — like motors, capacitors, and the compressor — can result in a high electric bill. The reduction in production from a failing part will cause your system to be less efficient.

For example, if there’s a failing condenser motor on the unit’s condenser and it’s trying to cool the home, the motor won’t be able to remove heat from the home very well. The struggling motor and a thermostat that’s never satisfied will cause the motor to run longer and contribute to an outrageous electric bill. This process can continue until the motor fails and the unit breaks down.

Faulty Thermostat

If a system seems to never shut off, there could be an issue with the thermostat. Maybe the home has reached the correct temperature, but the thermostat is not registering the correct indoor conditions. In this case, the unit will continue running. You can check the thermostat by placing another thermometer near the location of the thermostat. After an hour or two, check the reading. If it’s at or near the desired temperature, there may be a problem with your thermostat.

To see if the thermostat is the problem, try setting it at least 5 degrees higher or lower than the normal setting. If it’s working properly, the unit should turn on immediately. Also check that the thermostat is correctly set to “heat” or “cool.” The main circuit breaker should also be in the “on” position.

Maintenance Needed

We can’t emphasize enough how important it is for air conditioning units to receive regular maintenance for proper operation. Ideally, maintenance should happen twice a year, in the spring before the warm weather hits and in the early fall after things have cooled off and it’s no longer in use. If the system isn’t clean—including ducts, coils, and the air filter—it will likely encounter airflow problems and inefficient cycling.

Apex Heating and Air Conditioning’s technicians can check to make sure everything is clean and functioning properly. Regular maintenance of the unit will not only help ensure it’s in good working order, but it will also extend the life of the system.

Bring in the New

Air conditioners have a life span. Even if the unit’s been properly maintained, it will eventually wear out. At this point, it’s best to consider replacing the old, inefficient unit with a new and more energy efficient model.

It’s best to address issues before they become problems. When you notice a change in the quality of air in your home, or the fan running more than usual, or even a faulty reading on your thermostat, it’s best to call us at Apex Heating and Air Conditioning and let us complete a proper inspection of the air conditioning system. You’ll feel more confident knowing trained professionals have addressed and corrected the problem—and saved you from the potential shock of a $900 utility bill.

Discover issues before they become a problem by calling Apex Heating and Air Conditioning today at (919) 467-8823 to schedule a checkup, or signup for our annual maintenance contract.

(Sources: Energy Vanguard; Direct Energy; EnergyStar; Repair Clinic; and Angie’s List.)

Saving on your energy bill during the Summer Heat

General Household Summer Cooling Tips

Did you know that over 50% of annual energy costs come from a home’s heating and cooling system? The following energy efficiency tips could save you a significant amount on your summer cooling bills.

Energy Saving Tips:

  • Setting your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher can save you money. Keep in mind that a single degree of change on your thermostat can increase or decrease your energy use by 3 percent to 5 percent.
  • Use ceiling fans or portable fans in addition to your air conditioning system to aid in the cooling effect. Be sure to turn off fans when no one is in the room.
  • Keep windows, drapes and blinds closed during the hottest times of the day — generally noon to 5pm.
  • Use kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans to reduce the amount of hot or moist air circulating in the house.
  • Programmable thermostats can save you money when you are away from home at work.
  • Clean or replace air filters as recommended by manufacturers once a month or as needed.
  • Make sure all your ductwork is tightly sealed and there are no leaks.
  • Have your heat pump coils cleaned by a professional to ensure the system is operating at peak performance. Call us at 919.367.0102 for details.
  • An annual maintenance contract with Apex Heating and Air can extend the life of your system significantly and ensure your system is ready for the summer heat.

Call us at 919.367.0102 or contact us using our website form.