Is Air Conditioning More Expensive Than Heating?
When configuring the cost of living, there are many important and necessary factors to take into consideration. One primary point is the cost of utilities, particularly air conditioning and heating. This monthly cost can fluctuate depending on a few variables, such as the size of the house or building, the geographic location of the property (and the seasonal weather there), in addition to a few other relative factors, yet the question still remains: is air conditioning more expensive than heating?
Imagine the energy needed to compress and circulate clean, cool air, specifically during a dry or humid summer. Or if there’s a blizzard outside and the chill is slowly ebbing into the house—how much energy is being used to heat and warm the property properly. If you’ve ever wondered about these, you’ve probably also thought about the correlation of cost.
Monthly energy bills seem to continually increase—and although consumption between heating and cooling might not be that different, the apparent costs might suggest a differing picture.
Factors That Cause Variations in Air Conditioning and Heating
1. Geographic Location and Typical Weather Conditions
Where is your house located? This is probably the first variable to consider when determining whether air conditioning is more expensive than heating for you. Do you live in a dry and arid location where it’s warm throughout most of the year? Or are you closer to one of the poles and have more dramatic seasons, such as a proper winter with snowstorms or ice or snow that stays on the ground?
If you have a moderate summer, there might not be a huge need for air conditioning, but if the winter is more frigid, you may find yourself needing heating to make it through the winter season. Or if the summer is unbearably warm and the winter is comfortable and mild, you have the inverse situation, where you really only use the AC in the summer but don’t use the air conditioner or heater in the winter. Another thing to factor in is how long the summer or winter season runs on average. This can cause heating to be more expensive than cooling, or vice versa.
2. Proper Insulation in the Home or Commercial Space
Having insulation properly installed (or not) can impact the overall costs of your heating and air conditioning. If you yourself have not had the insulation inspected (and your energy bills seem to creep higher and higher), it may be worth verifying how well the property is insulated. Proper insulation will keep the warmth from escaping out through any porous surfaces around the home and will keep the cool air from escaping when you’re using the air conditioner.
When the insulation is installed properly, you will be able to run the heating or cooling at a mid-range rate, instead of having to blast the AC or pump up the heat just to have a short-term effect of cooling or heating, respectively. A home without proper insulation can be likened to attempting to transport a material like sand or water with a bucket punctured by little holes. The materials escape, and you aren’t left with much over time. It’s the same with heating and cooling. If it’s escaping through holes or cracks in the foundation and walls of the property, then you’re grossly overpaying to have heating and cooling services from which you don’t efficiently or effectively benefit.
3. Other Choices That Effect Costs
Taking a look at insulation is important, but be sure to look at the insulation surrounding doorways and window frames. Investing in good-quality windows and window frames can keep heated or cool air in and make a significant dent in your monthly utility bill.
Once you’ve addressed some of these factors, it’s important to also consider the sort of heating and cooling unit you have. How old is it? How often is it serviced? Has the maintenance on it been consistent over time since its installation? The functionality and condition of the HVAC unit can play a large in the heating and cooling costs. There are also modernized all-in-one (package) systems available that offer a bit more efficiency for your heating and cooling needs, but they are also relative to your location and the sort of climate to which you are regularly exposed.
Another thing to factor into the cost is how often the heating or cooling is put on out of sheer habit. That is, if you’re cold and the temperature inside is between 66 and 68 degrees, although knocking up the thermostat to 70 or 72 is nice, a difference can be made simply by putting on another layer or two of clothing. This way, you’re regulating your individual temperature and not having to use any energy to heat the entirety of the house.
Saving Money on Heating and Air Conditioning
Due to the nature of heating and cooling costs (that they’re more variable than constant), much of the choice is up to you. If you opt for more clothes or a blanket instead of heating the house for a few hours (and you do this three days per week), there will be a significant difference in the cost, as opposed to just turning on the heating as a force of habit.
If you live in a place where it is hot year-round, the need for consistent cooling is much more of a reality, and this will need to be factored in while budgeting for heating and cooling costs.
Interested in upgrading to a newer, more energy-efficient system? Then you have numerous choices to consider.
If you’d like to modernize your HVAC unit, contact Entek today, and we’ll be able to help you decide if it’s time for a new system. For all of your heating and cooling needs, Entek is there for you.