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A cautionary tale: it’s January, you’re just about getting over the holiday season and the mail arrives. As you’re the homeowner, you open the one that is from the utility company. Then you see how much your energy bill is for December and it’s huge.

How can this be? Sure, the winter months are cold but you didn’t use the heating system that much… or did you?

Higher energy bills are usually a sign that there is something wrong with part of your heating, ventilation, or air conditioning–collectively known as the HVAC system–within the home. Despite routine maintenance, the furnace still has to be turned up to full, in order to give you a warmer home environment. The water runs hot, and yet the air quality is still cool and stale. Worse yet, a foul scent has started to permeate the air. So, you call the customer service number on your furnace and ask for a technician to come and check out the (evidently) faulty equipment.

But here is some free advice that a technician may charge you money for. It’s not your water heater that is the problem. It’s your air conditioner.

Mystery no.1: What does an AC unit do?

So, why do you need AC repair when the AC unit is barely being used? Well, that is one of the solved mysteries behind air conditioning. Despite the cooling effects of an air conditioner, it is actually best used during the winter months too. The reason why lies in how the AC units work. Air conditioners draw in the air of any temperature and then pass it through a condenser. At this point, the refrigerant is added to the air and moisture. This blend is then passed over evaporator coils, which cool and filter the moisture back into a vapor, and release the air as a cool breeze. If what results is reliable air, then it remains cool, and if not, then it is cycled and sent through the filter again. But this doesn’t explain why your bill is so high, nor why the air conditioner should be used outside of summer.

Mystery no. 2: What happens when an AC doesn’t work?

If you have young children in your household, and particularly young children with allergies or asthma, and have noticed that this year they’ve been coughing or irritated over the holidays for the first time, then there is more evidence that an AC repair is required. Obviously, no one wants to see a family member suffering, and certainly not a young family member, but the good news is that there is a solution in sight. One of the main functions of air conditioning is to remove moisture from the air, as dry air filters out of the unit after passing over the evaporator coils. In cold temperatures, this moisture is a contributor to dampness, whereas in the warmer months it is called humidity. Either way, cold humidity can be detrimental to respiritory health, as well as keeping your home cool when it shouldn’t be. Plus, humidity on your clothes during the winter will also make you feel colder.

Mystery no. 3: Why is my energy bill so high?

So why are your bills so high when it was the furnace that was used so much? That is simple: water takes longer to heat up than air. Therefore if there is water present in the air, the heating system will need to work harder and longer to warm up the whole environment to a comfortable temperature. More energy use equals bigger utility bills.

Bonus mystery: How can you save money?

Even if you have a reliable air conditioning unit, there is an option to save money in the long term, and relieve the responsibility of the other parts of the HVAC system. Modern air conditioners, especially new units that Pinella’s Comfort Systems offers add heat pumps to their devices. Heat pumps add warm air into the condensing process and therefore emit warm, dry air. These are more energy-efficient and mean that your furnace can be used a lot less as the warm air is recycled back through the unit after heating the room. No more spending extra money on energy bills. Instead, you can spend that money on the perfect gift for your little ones.

If you’ve been lucky enough to find your AC woes solved in time for Christmas, but struggling to figure out what to get your child for the holidays, then you’re in luck. With quite a bit of excess money left over from your saving, you can get your children a new iPad. There are a number of reasons why you should buy an iPad for your child. They can assist with studying, and fit a child’s needs when it comes to entertainment too. Plus, having their own device will mean that your child, whether they are at Elementary or High School, can be distracted away for a little while, as you have your new HVAC services installed!

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