wondering if HVAC system is still efficient

Is Your HVAC System Still Efficient in Benson, NC?

October 24, 2023

The primary benefits of an efficient HVAC system — namely, comfortable indoor surroundings and low energy costs — are obvious. Decreasing efficiency, therefore, is always a sign of trouble — if not now, then at least down the road. Once you know what to look for to determine whether the efficiency of the HVAC system in your Benson, NC is lagging, you’ll be able to take appropriate action.

Dirty Air Filters

Dirty air filters may seem like a minor problem — and in a sense, they are, considering how easy they are to replace — but they are very often the first sign of a number of other HVAC difficulties. The key to efficient HVAC performance is proper airflow. Once this begins to falter, and you do nothing to counteract it, the overall decline of your system will follow shortly thereafter.

As air flows through your system’s filters, and the filters strip that air of its pollutants, the latter will accumulate upon the filter’s mesh. If you go more than about 90 days without replacing your filters, this buildup will actually inhibit airflow and reduce overall HVAC system efficiency. This makes it all the more important to schedule regular HVAC maintenance since maintenance technicians typically replace filters as part of their work.

Increased Power Bills

A sudden spike in your electricity bill is an unpleasant but unmistakable sign that something is the matter with your HVAC system. The exact causes of this problem may vary, but the most common one is that something — clogged air filters, dirty coils, leaking ventilation ducts, or something else — is keeping air from flowing through your HVAC system as it should be. With reduced airflow, the unit will have to work harder to generate the same temperature-changing effect on your air, thus leading it to draw on more electrical power.

In any case, we recommend calling a professional HVAC technician to examine and repair your system the moment that you notice your power bills have exploded. It will be his or her job to diagnose the problem and implement the appropriate solution.

Low Refrigerant Levels

Refrigerant is the substance that allows the air conditioning portion of your HVAC system to cool or heat the air in your home. When in liquid form, refrigerant goes into an evaporator coil and absorbs heat from the air that fans have been blowing over that coil.

After absorbing the heat, the refrigerant turns to gaseous form and moves to the compressor. The compressor reduces the refrigerant back into liquid form and forces it to expel its accumulated heat. Finally, that heat moves to an outdoor condenser, which it expels outside before the entire process repeats again.

Your system needs a definite level of refrigerant to perform these actions optimally, and any refrigerant leaks will therefore decrease system efficiency. When it has too little refrigerant, an AC will continue to run using more more power in an effort to compensate for the deficiency. Hence, if you believe you’ve had a refrigerant leak, call an HVAC technician to restore your levels to normal.


If your HVAC system is more than 20 years old, the chances are very slim that it still functions at peak efficiency, even if you’ve taken care to maintain it regularly and call for repairs at the first sign of trouble. At such an advanced age, in fact, your system will likely become so inefficient that replacing it with a new one will cost less in the long run than continuing to pay elevated energy bills.

It’s inevitable that your HVAC system will lose some of its original efficiency as time passes. However, if you are careful and responsible, you can keep your system running well for a long time. If you need help with maintenance or repairs, call Cape Fear Air Conditioning, and be sure to ask for our HVAC services around the area of Benson, NC.

Image provided by iStock

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