Electricity rates not all to blame for air conditioner use

Seven On Your Side
August 6, 2012 2:04:43 PM PDT
People all over the area are now paying electric bills for the summer heat waves, and all that air conditioning use is not cheap.

But electricity isn't the only reason it's costing more to keep cool.

Just keeping older air conditioners running, can cost a small fortune.

The soaring cost of coolant-freon, specifically a type of freon used in units built before 2010 called r-22, are causing a rise in the bills.

The founder of online consumer review site "Angie's List", says members have complained about paying hundreds more to fill their ac units this summer thinking they were getting a lot of hot air from service companies.

"A lot of consumers are wondering, are they trying to pull a fast one on me? And it truly is the price the freon is going up," she said.

If you have an older ac unit, repair companies recommend doing the math. Compare costs of buying the expensive freon for several year with buying a new unit instead.

Keep in mind air conditioners usually conk-out within 8-10 years. Even sooner if you don't do regular maintenance and cleaning which should cost less than $100.

You should have your air conditioner checked annually, it doesn't have to be done, you know, in March. It can even be done today. You know, but it's good to have it checked annually to make sure that you're running at the best efficiency.

Clogged units break down quicker, depending on the cost of the repair it may be a good move to replace instead.

"If you're half way through the useful life of that unit and it's going to cost half as much to replace it, go ahead and swipe it out. You know, keep in mind, your heating and cooling costs are the vast majority of your utility bills," adds Angie.

Cooling costs are the vast majority of utility bills right now, if your efficiency is off even by 5 percent because of a dirty filter, it will cost you hundreds on your bill, as this a tune up could save you a lot right now especially if we have a warm fall.

If you have a complaint about this or any other contractor call:

Putnam County Sheriff's Office: (845) 225-4300

Putnam County Department of Consumer Affairs: (845) 808-1617


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