While we all pine for summer during the grey coldness of winter, the reality of the sweltering summer sun often catches us off-guard when the season rolls back round again. Thank goodness for air-conditioning, then, which allows us to work an play in comfort while still enjoying the perks of summer sunshine.
We Americans love our AC units so much that it costs us roughly $11 billion a year to run them and they account for as much as 5% of all electricity used in the country. In fact, as much as 89% of single family homes and 82% of apartment housing units have air conditioning equipment installed. This love affair extends to our leader too, with Herbert Hoover being recorded as the first US president to enjoy the luxury of air conditioning in the Oval Office way back in 1929, just months before the infamous stock market crash of that year. His $30,000 spend on the AC unit must have gone down well!
It is not just cooling that costs home owners in the US. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are an almost standard investment for most Americans, with close to 3% of our income being spent on energy bills to power our homes. In cold hard cash terms that is roughly $2,000 annually per household. As much as 45% of energy bills are related to space heating. Together heating and cooling make up a significant proportion of household expenses but there are ways to bring down your overall cost.
Firstly investing in an air conditioning unit may be an initial upfront cost but most units last between 10 and 15 years making them a solid investment for your home or office. Keeping them running smoothly to minimize repeat costs is therefore important. Regular servicing by an HVAC repair company can reduce the need for HVAC system repair or replacement further down the line. The average cost for a furnace or heat pump inspection, for example, is between $80 and $100. Such an inspection ensures that the system is clean and working correctly and can also address efficiency issue ensuring that it works to manufacturer specifications. Most importantly technicians will also use this as an opportunity to measure carbon-monoxide leakage, keeping you and your family safe.
Newer equipment is usually much more energy efficient, with air conditioning models, for example, using half the amount of energy they did in 1990. Ensuring that there is no duct leakage can also have a significant impact on energy efficiency, since such leakage can drain as much as 40% of energy from an AC unit if ducts are outside the space that is being cooled.
Regular maintenance and correct installation can make all the difference in reducing costs and improving efficiency to ensure that your home maintains the perfect temperature whether in the height of summer or the depths of winter.