How To Know If You’re Spending Too Much on Heating or Cooling

If your AC or heating bills make you contemplate selling your house and opting for a tent in the woods near Durham every month, then you may be spending too much. But how do you know for sure when it’s time to throw in the towel and trade in your HVAC unit?

Many people compare their costs monthly. In an area like the Triangle where it can be a different season every day, a monthly may not be an accurate measure of whether you’re spending too much. Higher or lower costs could depend on a change in weather, and not necessarily your economic choices. 

Here’s how to tell if you’re overpaying for temperature control.

Math
Everyone’s long-lost favorite subject from high school. Divide your energy bill by the number of square feet in your home — not including areas that you don’t occupy, such as an unfinished attic. If you find that you’re calculating costs for areas that you’re not using, then it’s possible you’re paying too much per square foot.

Manual vs. Automated Thermostat
If you keep the air or heat in your home at a constant rate regardless of whether or not you’re away or sleeping, then you’re not taking advantage of the cost savings available to you through a Smart Thermostat. Invest in a program that adjusts your air based on your needs so you’re only using it when you must, which will help reduce the chances of spending too much.

Extreme Temperatures
If you’re going to extreme measures (literally) to reach your desired level of comfort, then it’s possible you have too much sunlight, open doors/windows, or not enough insulation in your home — all of which could contribute to higher heating or cooling costs than necessary. You generally shouldn’t have to go above 80 to feel warm or below 70 to feel cool. If the temperatures are more extreme than this, you could be paying too much. Additionally, if you often find yourself too hot or cold, avoid incurring high costs by adjusting the temperature.

Ceiling fan coolingWhat You Can Do To Improve Energy Costs
We already discussed making sure you have the right size AC unit based on your home, which is one of the biggest factors in overpaying for heating and cooling costs. Here are a few other things you might do to lower your bills: 

  • Install ceiling fans. Remember, fans cool people, not rooms. Turning on a fan uses electricity, but if you can use a fan and then adjust your AC to a higher temperature, your bill may decrease. 
  • Keep all unused closets and doors closed. You don’t want or need air circulating in rooms that you’re not occupying, so keep them closed to confine the air to the ones that you are. Additionally, outside air can often come through closets in some houses, so when you’re not using them, keep those closed too.
  • Make sure your insulation is where it needs to be. While it is more common for homes to lack insulation, it is also possible for them to be over-insulated as well. Have a professional take a look at the insulation in your home and consider adding to it, if necessary, to improve energy costs.

Still Not Sure?
Get in touch with us to go over the numbers. We can help you make sure your heating and cooling is budget-friendly through the ever-changing monthly seasons of the Triangle.­­