If your electric bill has gone up significantly, there is good reason to suspect your AC system. There is nothing that comes close in electricity usage like an AC unit, especially in the summer time. Unless there is an obvious explanation for a recent increase in electricity use, the higher utility bill is likely because of your AC. The first thing you need to do is look at your utility bill to verify that the sharp increase is not due to an increase in your rates. Then you need to look at the following possible explanations.
Your AC is getting low on Freon
This is the refrigerant that is responsible for cool air. Although technically your AC system will not use up Freon like a fuel, small amounts can seep out of the system, so over time, you may not have enough left to keep the air cool. In this situation, you will need to charge the Freon. The Freon in your AC is under pressure, so you are filling up the unit in a similar fashion as a propane tank is filled. However, if you are not familiar with the process, it is best to have an AC service technician do the work.
You have a severe Freon leak
Having a mild charge done once a year is nothing unusual, but if your AC is severely low on Freon, you may have a bad leak. In this situation, you will need to find the leak and repair it. It may be something like a hose that is easy to repair, but in extreme cases, the entire Freon unit will need to be replaced. Finding the leak can take time and is something that an AC service technician can check out.
You have a problem with your thermostat
A faulty thermostat will leave your AC on longer than it needs to stay on. Naturally, this will drive up your electric bill. Of course, the simple solution is to turn the setting a little higher, but when you do this, your home may end up warmer than you want it to be. When thermostats go bad, they often begin to fail in a certain temperature range. This is especially true with the older, mechanical thermostats. If you have one of these, it may be time to consider replacing it with a digital thermostat. If you have a digital thermostat that is running up your bill, it will usually be obvious because it simply refuses to turn off.
Although you can attempt to check your AC system, it is better to call an AC service company like Always Ready Repair. After the problem is fixed, you can arrange for an annual tune up for your AC system to help prevent problems that drive your electric bill up.