New study shows 74% of Americans aren't prepared for increased summer energy costs

The study, conducted by a DFW-based company, is a reminder to prepare for the added costs of summer heat

NBC Universal, Inc.

Are you ready for the summer heat? What about your wallet?

According to a recent study, the upcoming summer heat could impact summer fun for a lot of households.

The study was released this month by DuraPlas Inc., a DFW-based company that produces components for the HVAC industry. The data shows 74% of Americans aren’t prepared for increased summer energy costs, with nearly half, or 48%, saying they'll have to cut back on going out to eat or entertainment if necessary to cover the increase.

This comes as a dangerous heatwave sweeps through the nation this week.

Seventy-seven percent of people said they expect some level of increase in their summer energy bills and 63% report that they’ve already made lifestyle adjustments to cover the extra costs – with nearly a quarter saying those adjustments have been significant.

“And if you're not getting annual maintenance, yes, that can save you a couple hundred dollars – but it can lead to thousands of dollars in unexpected costs when the unit breaks down earlier than it should have because it wasn't clean or lubricated, and things like that,” said Scott Baradell, a spokesperson for DuraPlas.

The study also showed nearly 70 percent of those surveyed are not regularly maintaining their HVAC system to better control these costs.

Baradell said inflation is impacting budgets, with prices for electricity expected to go up an average of about 10 percent this summer over last year.

"With air conditioning units, a compressor failure or other things, you could be talking about thousands of dollars that you kind of have to come up with right there or you're going to be very hot. Your family's going to be mad at you,” he said. “So prepare through maintenance, set aside funds to be ready for those kind of unexpected challenges – because an increase in monthly electricity bills is nothing compared to HVAC system that breaks during the summer."

Baradell said simply changing the air filter regularly is a first step toward a better system. Other methods people are using to save on the utility bill this summer, according to the survey results, are taking shorter showers, air drying clothes instead of using a dryer, and setting the thermostat between 72 or 78.

And it's not too late for maintenance on the HVAC system.

"It's not too late. You can still have that maintenance done in June, in July. Anytime is better than not doing it, and you'll immediately start saving money," said Baradell.

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