Rochester Public Utilities | Blog

Keep Your “Cool” With Your AC Costs

Does your bill seem to be increasing over the last few months? You’re probably asking yourself how this could be. Do you feel like you are being conservative, yet it’s not making a difference? You are not alone. Higher bills are can be expected this time of year and there are things to consider and think about as to why your usage may feel like it’s literally off the charts. While there are many factors that cause a high bill, the AC unit can be the biggest culprit. 

Be honest with yourself. Have you truly used your air conditioner? You may think you haven’t run the AC much over the course of the last month, but consider the time frame on the bill. Keep in mind, RPU bills you for the usage from the previous month. Although it’s tough to remember exactly what you may have done differently in the month prior, it’s important to take into account what the weather was like. June had several days of hot, humid weather.  There was an extremely high heat index for more than a week at one time.  In cases like these, AC units probably ran steady and, in turn, accounted for a jump in the monthly bill. Ask yourself on certain days whether you really need to run the AC or if you can handle just running a fan or two? It’s all about personal comfort, but when it comes to keeping your bill low, it’s important to consider whether it’s necessary to run the AC or not. To help you remember what the weather was like over the last several weeks, mark it on your calendar. Then when you get your bill you can take a look back.

Another factor to consider when running the AC is the temperature setting. For every degree that you raise the temperature, it’s projected to save you about three percent. RPU recommends setting the thermostat to about 78 degrees. It really depends on your personal level of comfort, but if you can handle it just a tad warmer, you will notice a drop in your monthly usage and overall bill total.  

Keeping your shades drawn during the day will help keep the house cooler resulting in the AC running less. Also, keeping your thermostat on the Auto setting will make a difference. It will help with controlling both humidity and circulation. If you have a programmable thermostat, turning up the temperature while leaving for more than a few hours will help in energy and cost savings. Leaving the AC in the ON state continuously will add to your electric bill as it runs 24/7; whereas, the auto setting runs only when it is cooling.

How old is your AC unit? Maybe it is time to replace it if it’s not very efficient. Units that are over ten years old may not be as efficient as years prior. RPU offers rebates for the purchase of new, qualifying AC units. While it may cost to buy a new one now, it will provide cost savings in years to come.

The placement of your AC unit is important to consider as well. Is it directly exposed to sunlight? If at all possible the AC unit should be shaded from the sun, but be sure that it is not blocked by anything that would restrict its air flow.  As with any appliance, it appears that your AC unit is not working properly, get it checked immediately. A non functioning AC unit can increase your bill significantly.

Remember that summer rates are in effect right now so the cost per kilowatt is higher. While you may use your AC very little, every bit adds up. Having a better understanding as to why your bill is higher and factoring in the AC usage may help you to keep your “cool” about those increasing energy bills.