Energy Bill Costs and Home Temperature Preferences in 2023

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Over 1 in 3 Finding it Difficult to Pay for Energy Bills in 2023

A person’s home is their castle that can be any temperature they’d like it to be. While the outside air may be hot or cold, you can create a climate controlled paradise that suits your every preference. But it often comes at a steeper price than you might expect. We surveyed 900 Americans nationwide on their preferred home temperature, and how they’re cutting energy costs in 2023.

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Increasing Energy Bills and Utility Costs in 2023

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According to a survey conducted by HOP Energy, the cost of living crisis leaves no stone unturned: 69% of Americans report higher energy bills in 2023 than in past years. Our survey found the national average of the most recent electric bill was $201 a month, whereas New England boasted a $245 bill – 22% above national average! For lower electric bills, move to the Midwest, where bills were10% below the national average at $180.

Nationwide, over 1 in 3 find it difficult to pay for energy bills in 2023. In the South, the number of people struggling to pay their energy bills in 2023 increases to 50% of those surveyed; not surprising given the record breaking heat and the demand on air conditioners and HVAC systems. Air conditioning is a wild card nationally: over half of Americans experience higher energy bills in the summer than they might expect, compared to 39% who underestimate their bills in the winter.

Nothing hurts more than a surprise expense, so it’s not shocking that over 2 in 3 Americans are trying to save on energy costs in 2023. The most popular cost-cutting technique is using energy efficient light bulbs, followed by unplugging items not in use (phantom energy is real), and setting the washing machine to cold. Other top methods include trying window fans in lieu of the AC and aligning the home temperature more closely to the outside air. 

Winter in the Home: Temperature Preferences and Winterizing

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One of the chief heralds of season change is the end of Daylight Saving Time, set in the spring and fall of every year. But Americans don’t like it, the survey revealed 71% would eliminate the time change if they could.

Americans keep their homes cozy during the winter–the national average home temperature during the cold months is 69 degrees. The Western U.S. keeps it the lowest, at 67.4 degrees, whereas the South maintains a balmy 70.1 degrees.

Many say they keep their homes at a different temperature to avoid higher costs; 56% said they keep their home temperatures lower than their preferred temperature in winter to save money. New England boasts the largest degree difference between desired temperature and actual temperature at 2 degrees. The South, meanwhile, is only a degree off from its temperature preference. One way to cope with this difference is bundling up –nearly 2 in 3 nationwide will layer with warm clothing rather than turn up the heat.

While nearly half of American homes are heated with a furnace, other top heating methods include boilers, heat pumps, and baseboard heat. It’s not all a vision of coziness, however: over 1 in 4 engage in a thermostat fight with others in their household over the temperature.

Many in colder climates winterize their home each year; nationwide, 28% plan on doing so. It’s not a small undertaking: costs can range from $181 in the Midwest to $605 in New England! For many, this involves inspecting the heating system, placing plastic on windows, putting in door sweeps, cleaning the gutters, installing weather stripping, and reversing ceiling fans.

Summer in the Home: Temperature Preferences and Keeping Cool

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We all know the heat of summer 2023 was one for the books, with many states incurring record heat waves. The average summer home temperature nationally is 72.4 degrees. While New England prefers a crisp 70.6 degrees–the lowest out of all regions–the Mid-Atlantic goes to the other extreme of keeping home temperatures at 75 degrees. This reflects a7.1 degree difference between the Mid-Atlantic’s preferred and actual home temperatures.

The survey found that every region kept their homes warmer than what they might prefer in the summer of 2023. More than half, 53% of Americans, intentionally said they kept their home temperature higher to save money on those pesky bills.

Nationwide, 74% of Americans have central air conditioning, and about 1 in 5 have window units. Only 6% have no air conditioning at all. May and June are the two chief months folks first turn on their air conditioning.

The heat certainly took its toll: 38% ran their AC more this year than years prior, and 43% found it difficult to keep their homes cool. The nation’s ideal temperature is a lovely temperate 71.9 degrees, while the West keeps it balmy at 74.5 and New England enjoys a brisk 68.6 degrees. All of these are certainly a far cry from summer 2023’s record heat!

These survey findings offer valuable insights for homeowners looking to make informed decisions about their energy usage. By understanding how different regions and households adjust their home temperatures during the summer to save on energy costs, readers can gain practical tips and strategies to keep their homes comfortable without breaking the bank. Whether it’s adjusting the thermostat, optimizing their cooling systems, or implementing energy-efficient practices, with every season change it’s important to ensure your heating and cooling systems are working at peak efficiency to cut costs. Make sure you schedule your oil and propane deliveries to avoid finding yourself unexpectedly cold this winter!


In August 2023 we surveyed 900 Americans nationwide on their preferences around home temperature in summer and winter as well as what steps they take to cut costs. Respondents ranged from 18-79 with an average age of 43. 50% were men, 48% were women, and 2% were non-binary or would rather not say. 56% identified their living area as suburban, 26% urban, and 18% rural.

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When using this data and research, please attribute by linking to this study and citing HOP Energy.

Common Problems Associated with Musty AC Units

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Experiencing the unpleasant smell of a musty air conditioner? There’s no need to feel embarrassed or uncertain about reaching out to your local HVAC technician. In fact, the presence of an odor can serve as a helpful indicator in diagnosing issues with your HVAC system.

Frequently Asked Questions about Smelly Air Ducts and HVAC Units

Before we address common concerns related to your smelly air conditioner, it’s crucial to emphasize one scent that should never be ignored: natural gas. Often likened to the smell of rotten eggs, if you detect an odor reminiscent of sulfur, immediately contact emergency services by dialing 911 and vacate the premises. It’s important not to manipulate light switches, appliances, or windows, nor should you attempt to locate the source of the smell on your own.

While a musty odor emanating from your AC unit may cause some concern, it does not constitute an emergency. Nonetheless, ignoring the smell would be unwise as it signifies improper functioning of your AC unit.

Why Does My Air Conditioner Emit a Musty Odor?

Typically, musty smells from air conditioner units stem from the accumulation of water in drain pans, drip lines, or ducts. However, a dirty air filter can also be a contributing factor.

Possible Cause #1: Full Drain Pan

Your AC unit extracts moisture from the air within your home, with water droplets collecting in the drain or drip pan. Over time, these pans may become breeding grounds for mildew or mold. To eliminate the odor, consider replacing the drip pan located beneath your system’s evaporator coils.

Possible Cause #2: Blocked Condensate Drain Line

Situated next to the condenser unit outside your home, the condensate line serves to drain water from the drip pan. However, mold, mildew, and sludge can accumulate within the line, causing blockages. Once the blockage is cleared, the unpleasant smell should dissipate.

Possible Cause #3: Excess Moisture in Ducts

If a musty smell is emanating from your AC unit, it’s possible that your ductwork harbors mold or mildew, which then permeates through your vents. Scheduling routine cleaning can eliminate the musty odor originating from your ductwork.

Possible Cause #4: Blocked Air Filter Resulting in Frozen Condenser Coil

A dirty air filter can lead to water droplets accumulating on the evaporator coils. As the AC unit’s refrigerant cools the air, these droplets freeze. To restore maximum airflow, a professional HVAC technician must allow the condenser coil to thaw and replace the filters.

Can a Musty AC Make You Ill?

Exposure to mold can contribute to upper respiratory health problems. Therefore, if your air conditioner emits an unpleasant odor, it’s advisable to identify the cause and rectify the situation promptly.

How Can I Eliminate the Musty Smell from My Air Conditioner?

If your air conditioner consistently emits a musty smell, seeking assistance from a professional may be necessary. The HVAC technicians at HOP Energy can provide the help you need. While HOP Energy is widely recognized for its heating oil delivery service, we also offer comprehensive HVAC services, maintenance, and installations throughout the Northeast. When faced with a foul-smelling AC, simply complete the contact form on the HOP Energy website. We will identify the source of the musty odor, resolve the problem, and offer suggestions to enhance your home’s indoor air quality.

Key Takeaways About Air Conditioners

  • A properly functioning air conditioning unit should not emit a musty smell. The presence of such an odor indicates an issue with your air conditioning system.
  • Musty odors may result from a full drain pan, a blocked drain line, excess moisture in your air vents, or a clogged air filter. All these problems can be rectified by a reputable AC repair service provider.
  • Mold spores can pose health risks to both humans and pets.
  • HOP Energy offers professional AC repair and maintenance services.

Cleaning A Mitsubishi Mini Split Air Conditioner

Cleaning a Mitsubishi Mini Split AC

Cleaning a Mitsubishi mini split air conditioner is an essential task for homeowners who want to maintain optimal performance and indoor air quality. Mini split systems have become popular among homeowners due to their ability to provide precise heating and cooling control for individual rooms, along with potential energy savings. By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your Mitsubishi mini split remains efficient and effective in keeping your home comfortable.

Step 1: Cut The Power

Turn off the system by turning off the circuit breaker for the indoor and outdoor units.

Step 2: Clean The Filters

Lift the front cover of the indoor unit and remove the filters. Vacuum the filters with a brush attachment. If the filters are heavily soiled, wash them with soap and warm water, ensuring they are completely dry before reinserting them.

Step 3: Clean The Heat Exchanger

Use the brush attachment of your vacuum to clean the delicate fins of the heat exchanger inside the unit.

Step 4: Clean The Fan

Remove the bottom cover and clean the fan blades, fan motor, and cooling coils using a vacuum. If there is visible dust, gently wipe the area with a dry cloth.

Step 5: Clean The Condensate Pan

Wipe up any moisture in the pan located at the bottom of the unit. Ensure the drain hose is functioning correctly. If there is standing water or blockage, use white vinegar to clear it.

Step 6: Remove Debris

To maintain the energy efficiency of a ductless system, you need to clean the loose debris from the indoor and outdoor units.

Step 7: Vacuum and Wash Grilles

Use a vacuum or dry cloth to remove dirt from the heat exchange grilles. If the grilles are heavily soiled, use liquid soap and a garden hose to wash them.

Step 8: Clean Inside Of Housing

Unscrew and remove the top of the outdoor unit, wipe down the fan blades, and vacuum the interior, including the condenser coils.

Step 9: Clean Condensate Pan and Hose

Wipe the drain pan with a cloth and address any mold growth with a bleach solution. Clean the hose with vinegar.

To ensure proper maintenance of all your HVAC systems, including your Mitsubishi mini split air conditioner, consider contacting HOP Energy. Our technicians can inspect your equipment and provide necessary maintenance recommendations. Simply fill out the contact form on our website to schedule an appointment.

The Basics of Heating and Cooling Systems

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Understanding the functionality of your HVAC system is essential for troubleshooting and maintaining optimal performance. We often take for granted the comfort provided by our heating and air conditioning systems, but let’s delve into the fundamentals of how they work.

Anatomy of an HVAC System

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are designed to regulate indoor temperature, humidity, and air quality. These systems operate based on principles of heat transfer, thermodynamics, and fluid mechanics. The components of an HVAC system can vary depending on whether you have an air conditioner with a furnace or a heat pump. Let’s break down the key elements.


The thermostat is the part of the system you interact with the most. You can manually set it to maintain your preferred temperature or opt for a programmable thermostat that adjusts the temperature even when you’re away, saving energy and reducing costs.


The burner component ignites the HVAC system when the thermostat detects a temperature drop, signaling it to start.


The furnace, located inside your house (commonly in a utility closet or basement), serves as the central hub of your HVAC system. It heats the air, which is then distributed to different areas of your home through ductwork or piping. Hybrid heating systems combine the efficiency of heat pumps with the powerful heating capability of a furnace for optimal performance in various weather conditions.


Boilers are heating systems that utilize oil to heat water, which turns into steam and travels to radiators. They are commonly found in multi-residence settings, such as apartment buildings, multi-family dwellings, and older homes.

Heat Exchanger

Situated within the furnace, the heat exchanger adds heat to the incoming air from the combustion chamber.

Air Conditioner

In central heating and cooling systems, air conditioning plays a vital role. Air conditioners draw warm air from the outside, remove its heat, and provide cool air through ductwork inside your home.

Condensing Unit

This unit, located outside your home, exchanges heat with the surrounding air. Depending on the season, it either releases or collects heat.

Evaporator Coil

The evaporator coil, housed within the furnace, works differently from the heat exchanger. Filled with refrigerant, it absorbs heat from the passing warm air, transferring it outside. The cooled air is then blown into your home through the air ducts.

Heat Pump

While heat pumps cool your home similar to air conditioners in summer, they function differently in winter. They extract heat from the outdoor air or ground and distribute it indoors to warm your home.

Refrigerant Lines

These metal tubes connect the evaporator coil with the condensing coil, allowing refrigerant to flow between the indoor and outdoor units of your HVAC system.


Vents are outlets that distribute heated or cooled air from the duct system into various rooms of your home. It’s crucial to keep these vents unobstructed for proper airflow.

How Do These HVAC Components Work Together?

Air Conditioner

When the temperature rises in your home, the thermostat activates the air conditioning system. Warm air is drawn through the air return vents into the furnace, where it passes over the evaporator coil. The cold refrigerant in the coil absorbs heat from the air, transforming into vapor. This cools the air, which is then pushed through the ducts back into your living areas.

Simultaneously, the refrigerant is pumped to the outdoor unit, where the compressor pressurizes it, and it passes through the condenser coil. The heat is released outdoors with the help of a fan. Afterward, the refrigerant expands, returning to the evaporator as a cold, low-pressure liquid. This cycle continues until the desired temperature is reached, and the thermostat signals the HVAC system to turn off.

Furnace and Burner

To heat your home, the furnace heats air in one area and distributes it through a network of ducts and vents. When the thermostat triggers the furnace, the valve opens, igniting the burner component beneath the combustion chamber. The valve and thermostat work together to regulate the fuel flow. Flames from the burner heat a metal heat exchanger, circulating the heat through its tubes. A motorized fan then blows the warm air through the ductwork and out of the vents, effectively heating your home.

Boiler (Radiators)

Boilers transfer heat to water or produce steam to warm your home. When the thermostat detects a drop in temperature, the boiler turns on. Heat from the fuel source raises the water’s temperature inside the boiler. The heated water or steam travels through radiators, releasing its heat to warm the air. As the water cools or steam condenses, it returns to the boiler to be reheated and continue the heating process until the desired temperature is reached.

Heat Pump

Heat pumps can switch between air conditioning and heating modes by reversing the refrigeration cycle. This transformation switches the roles of the indoor and outdoor coils. Refrigerant flows through closed refrigeration lines, absorbing heat from the outside air at the condenser coil and releasing it indoors at the evaporator coil. A fan pulls air into the ductwork, and the refrigerant is pumped from the interior to the exterior coil, absorbing heat. The warmed air is then distributed through air vents in your home, raising the indoor temperature. This refrigeration cycle repeats until the thermostat’s desired temperature is achieved.

HOP Energy is a leading residential and commercial energy provider offering a wide range of heating and air conditioning equipment. Their team of HVAC experts can guide you in selecting the right system for your needs. With competitive pricing, 24/7 emergency service, and highly trained technicians local to your area, HOP Energy is the preferred choice for energy solutions.

Top Tips for Maintaining Your HVAC System

HVAC Maintenance
Your HVAC system is a critical component of your home’s comfort and energy efficiency. It keeps you warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and helps to maintain good air quality throughout the year. But, like any other appliance, your HVAC system requires regular maintenance to keep it running smoothly and efficiently. In this post, we will discuss five steps you can take to maintain your HVAC system and keep it running at its best.

Change Your Air Filter Regularly

One of the easiest things you can do to maintain your HVAC system is to change your air filter regularly. Your air filter helps to trap dirt, dust, and other airborne particles that can reduce the efficiency of your HVAC system and negatively affect your indoor air quality. Experts recommend changing your air filter every 1-3 months, depending on factors such as the number of occupants in your home, whether you have pets, and the type of air filter you are using.

Keep Your Outdoor Unit Clean

Your HVAC system’s outdoor unit is exposed to the elements, which means it can collect dirt, debris, and other contaminants over time. To keep your outdoor unit running efficiently, make sure to keep it clean. Use a garden hose to rinse away any dirt and debris that has collected on the unit’s coils, fins, and fan blades. You can also use a soft-bristled brush to gently remove any stubborn dirt or debris.

Schedule Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance is essential to keep your HVAC system running efficiently and prevent costly repairs. Experts recommend scheduling maintenance at least once a year, ideally in the spring or fall, before the peak heating or cooling season. During a maintenance visit, a qualified technician will inspect your system, clean its components, and make any necessary repairs or adjustments to keep it running smoothly.

Check Your Thermostat Settings

Your thermostat plays a crucial role in regulating your HVAC system’s temperature and energy usage. To maintain your HVAC system’s efficiency, check your thermostat settings regularly to ensure they are set correctly. During the summer, set your thermostat to 78 degrees Fahrenheit or higher when you are home and 85 degrees or higher when you are away. During the winter, set your thermostat to 68 degrees Fahrenheit or lower when you are home and 55 degrees or lower when you are away.

Seal Air Leaks and Insulate Your Home

Air leaks and inadequate insulation can cause your HVAC system to work harder than it needs to, leading to higher energy bills and reduced efficiency. To maintain your HVAC system’s efficiency, make sure to seal any air leaks around doors and windows and add insulation to your attic, walls, and floors. This will help to keep your home more comfortable and reduce your energy costs.
In conclusion, maintaining your HVAC system is critical to keeping your home comfortable and energy-efficient. By following these five steps, you can help to ensure your HVAC system runs smoothly and efficiently year-round. Remember to change your air filter regularly, keep your outdoor unit clean, schedule regular maintenance, check your thermostat settings, and seal air leaks and add insulation to your home. With a little bit of effort and attention, you can help to ensure your HVAC system provides you with the comfort and energy efficiency you need.