Most of us have had the unpleasant experience of getting an unusually high electric bill and wondered, how did this happen? It’s a good question, and one you should ask if you want to avoid the same unwelcomed surprise once more in the future.
The truth is many factors impact your monthly bill—everything from your daily habits to the price you pay for electricity. One of the best places to start if you want to get a better handle on your electric bill is to learn how to read and understand it completely. Contact your utility or read this blog regularly for insights about what all the numbers really mean.
Beyond understanding your bill, it’s a good idea to also take a good, hard look at the way you use electricity, and to identify some of the culprits that could be contributing to rising energy use in your home.
Here are five of the most common reasons why your electricity bill is peaking—and what you can do about them:
Heating and cooling can account for as much as half of your monthly energy bill, and that number could go even higher if your home is poorly insulated or leaking air from its building envelope. Adding insulation to your attic is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve the overall efficiency of your home—one that can return your investment in just a few years.
Sealing air leaks around doors and windows with inexpensive caulk and weather stripping can go a long way toward reducing drafts that will spike winter heating bills and overwork your A/C in the summer.
Summers are getting hotter here in the Northeast, and we have the higher electricity bills to prove it. But by adopting some simple energy efficiency habits, you can keep those bills in check. Here are some tips for combating summer heat:
A furnace or A/C loses an average of 5% efficiency per year if it’s improperly maintained, and even well-maintained equipment will operate about 20 to 30% less efficiently than a new model.
Today’s ENERGY STAR® rated heating and cooling systems are dramatically more efficient than older equipment, and many appliance dealers make it painless to upgrade. If your equipment is more than 10 years old, it’s worth considering an upgrade—especially if you’re faced with a major repair.
The past year and a half changed a lot about how we live, with most of us spending much more time at home than we have at any point in the past. More time at home means more lights on, more time running heating and cooling systems, and more time engaging in activities that will drive up your electricity bill. If your bills are rising with more time at home, it’s a good idea to evaluate your energy consumption habits, looking for ways to cut back that don’t sacrifice your comfort or quality of life.
One simple example—amongst many others—is doing laundry in the early morning rather than the afternoon, which can save you money by reducing time spent operating your washer and dryer during periods of peak power. (Learn more about peak power strategies here.)
Plug-in appliances such as computers, gaming consoles, chargers, DVD players and just about anything else in your home draw power even when they’re not in use—or even powered up. When appliances passively draw current this way, we call it phantom or vampire power. (You can learn more about vampire power here.) A simple way to keep the vampires at bay is to use smart plugs or smart power strips, which automatically cut the current to your appliances when they’re not in use.
Want another way to lower your electricity bill? Switch your plan to Discount Power! We make it easy for you to understand and manage your electricity and natural gas costs. And with our renewable energy options, we can also help you feel good about the energy you use every day. Enroll in one of our money-saving electricity plans online today or contact us to learn more about our smart, affordable energy plans available in your place of residence.