Is It More Expensive to Run Heating or Air Conditioning?

Outdoor air conditioning unit

No matter what time of year it is in O’Fallon, MO, you will probably need to run either your furnace or your air conditioner. Both of these come with increased utility bills, but which one will cost you more? Knowing the answer to this and how you can improve efficiency and keep your bills as low as possible is essential. The information also helps to ensure that your home is always comfortable no matter what type of weather Mother Nature throws at you.

Does Heating or Air Conditioning Cost More?

The short answer is that it costs more to heat your home than it does to keep it cool. In fact, it could take up to four times more energy to heat your home compared to keeping it cool. Exploring these reasons will help you to develop a plan to lower both costs.

In general, your system has to work harder to keep your home warm in the winter than it does to keep it cool in the summer. Most people keep their homes between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit no matter the time of year. During the summer, temperatures may get 20 to 30 degrees above this. Because of this, the air conditioner only needs to worry about cooling your home 20 to 30 degrees to ensure that it is comfortable.

In the winter months, temperatures can get as much as 50 to 70 degrees below that 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit mark. In order for your home to maintain a comfortable temperature, your system has to work a lot harder due to the bigger difference in the outside temperature versus your home’s internal temperature.

Since your furnace has to work harder than your air conditioner most of the time, this will result in an increase in your utility bills. You also have to consider the type of energy. An air conditioner only uses electricity to power it. However, if you have a gas furnace, it needs gas and electricity, so in this case, two bills will increase instead of just one.

Efficiency is another factor in the cost. When you are running your air conditioning, it removes heat from your indoor air and disperses it outside, redirecting the now-cold air to cool the interior temperature. This is a relatively simple process. Now, your furnace has to actually make the hot air and pump it throughout your home. This takes a lot more work, so your heating bills are also typically higher because of this.

Lowering Your Cooling Costs

There are several ways to keep your home comfortable while also keeping the associated costs under control. Incorporating as many of these as you can can make a noticeable difference in your summer energy bills.

Take a look at your thermostat and check the temperature. When the sun goes down, it gets cooler. This is the time to increase your thermostat by a few degrees. Also, for just eight hours a day, such as when you are at work, raise your thermostat by seven to 10 degrees Fahrenheit to reduce your costs by up to 10% each year. Essentially, use your air conditioner less when you’re not home to benefit from the cooling. You can also get a smart thermostat so that you can control your home’s temperature when you are away via an app on your phone.

During the daytime hours, be careful about the appliances that you use. Appliances like your dryer and oven can heat up your home. Wait until nighttime, if possible, to use these so that your home will already be a bit cooler without needing to reduce the temperature on your thermostat.

Close your curtains when the sun is shining to reduce how much heat can penetrate the windows and get into your home. At the same time, open a few windows at night when the temperature is cool to cross-ventilate your rooms.

Make sure that your home is properly insulated. Check for any gaps and seal them. Keeping the cool air in means that your air conditioner does not have to work as hard to maintain a comfortable temperature.

Lowering Your Heating Costs

You can keep your heating costs lower with a few methods. It is important to use as many of these as you can to help with your utility bills without sacrificing your home’s comfort.

Check your windows and doors to look for any drafts. If you notice any drafty areas, you can use weatherstrip and caulk to seal them to keep the heat inside your home. You can also further insulate your windows by adding some heat-shrink plastic to them during the cold months.

When the sun is out, open up your curtains to get some natural heat. When the sun goes down, close them to prevent colder air from penetrating.

During the night, lower your thermostat. You only need to reduce it by a few degrees to make a difference. Since you likely have blankets, you can use these to stay warm in a slightly cooler home.

Ensure that your insulation is in good condition. Pay particular attention to the insulation in your attic because this is where a lot of heat loss happens when insulation is not adequate.

An energy audit can also be beneficial to your heating costs. This involves a trained professional examining your home to find things that can reduce heating efficiency, such as needed HVAC repairs or insufficient insulation. The audit may help you to reduce heating costs by as much as 30% in some cases.

Maintaining Your HVAC System

For both cooling and heating, keeping your system in good working order is critical for keeping your costs as low as possible. Regular maintenance also helps to reduce the need for repairs during the winter and summer months. Ideally, you want to have an annual inspection to make sure that everything is working properly.

A professional can give you a maintenance schedule that will work for your air conditioning and heating systems. Make sure to adhere to this as closely as possible.

There are several common maintenance tasks a technician will perform on an HVAC unit:

  • Vacuum the condenser and evaporator coils
  • Change the filters
  • Inspect the ducts for leaks
  • Clean the blower fan blades
  • Look at the drainage system

If you notice any issues with your system, call a professional right away. This can help to reduce costs by making any necessary repairs before they can reduce your system’s efficiency or cause a more costly repair to become necessary.

Reputable HVAC Professionals in O’Fallon

If your heating and air conditioning systems are not getting the job done or your utility bills are increasing while your comfort is decreasing, it is time to call in the professionals. We have an A+ BBB rating, have Angie’s List Service Awards in 2017 and 2018 and we are a member of the National Association of Home Builders. Whether you need HVAC work in your current home or you are working on a new construction, we can help.

Contact us at Hoff Heating & AC today to ensure that your heating and air conditioning are running efficiently.