Month after month you pay $90 to a little over $100 for electricity, and you forget about it until your utility provider sends you another bill for the next month. Like most homeowners, you probably didn’t pay much attention to your electric costs — not until you noticed that the amount on your bill doubled or even tripled over the past few months.
If you’re in this dilemma, then we’ll help you get to the root of what’s going on. In this article, we’ll try to see some of the things that are adding to your electric costs. But before we cover that, let’s take a look at the three main factors that affect the amount you spend on electricity.
1. Amount of electricity that you consumed
This would probably need much explanation, but it follows that the more electricity you consume in your home, the higher your electric bill will be. For example, most homes in the U.S. consume a high electricity load during hot summer months due to the longer use of air conditioning and in winter because of heating appliances. If this is you, then it shouldn’t be a surprise to receive a higher than average electric bill at the end of the month.
2. Costs of electricity in your area/by the provider
If you recently moved to another state or a new zip code, you should expect that your electricity bill will be different, despite using the same appliances or devices from your previous residence. The reason for this is that the kWh rates of each state or area vary. Take for example, in Hawaii, the energy rate cost ¢33.24 per kWh last July 2021, while the rate in Washington was only ¢10.24 per kWh on the same month.
The energy rates of utility providers also vary. If you have the chance to choose an electricity supplier, it may be worth doing your research so you can get a better deal.
3. Changes in prices
In October 2021, the price of electricity in the U.S. soared by 6.5% compared to the same month in the previous year. This was the highest increase in electricity costs since March 2009. Add to that the increasing costs of natural gas and fuel, which will result in higher costs for heating this winter.
Things that Add to Your Electricity Costs
With prices of electricity increasing, you want to make sure that you’re mindful of your energy use. Listed below are some reasons why you’re paying more for your electric bill than you really should.
You have too many “vampires”
You turn off the AC and switch off the lights when you leave your house — these are good practices to save energy. However, there might be plenty of “vampire” appliances lurking in your home that continue to drain electricity without you even knowing it.
Energy vampires refer to electronic devices that use energy even if they are turned off or in standby mode. Some examples would be chargers, modems or routers, TVs, cable boxes, and microwaves. All of these electronics make up 10% of your monthly energy use (according to the Department of Energy). That’s 10% of your overall electric bill wasted!
These energy vampires might not seem like a huge amount on your bill, but over time, they may add up to $100 on your annual energy costs.
The simple solution to slay these vampires is to unplug them when they’re not in use. If you have a home office and will go on a long break, it would help if you would shut down your computer and unplug it instead of leaving it on standby mode for hours. Or another example would be unplugging your microwave if you’re not using it. These are small, simple steps that can save you on energy costs when you add them up.
Whether you’re increasing the temperature during cold winter months or running your AC on full blast on sweltering summer days, you’re only wasting energy and money if your house has insufficient insulation.
Drafty attics or basements and old windows could be the reasons behind your increasing electricity bill. Your HVAC system may be working double-time to maintain your desired temperature because warm or cool air keeps leaking out of your home.
Try inspecting your window and doors frames and caulking them when needed. Or you can also consider getting new home replacement windows. This investment may be worth it down the road considering that heating and cooling systems make up for 54% of an average home’s monthly utility bill.
Did your electric bill suddenly spike despite maintaining the same usage of electronics from the previous months? You may have an electrical wiring problem. Especially if you live in an older home, you may already have wirings that are frayed or damaged. These defective wires will have a huge impact on your electric bill as they can cause a plugged appliance to heat up and consume more energy than usual. More importantly, worn-out wiring can cause arc faults and is a fire hazard. If you suspect that your old wiring is causing an increase in your electric bill, it is best to schedule a visit from an electrician near you to conduct an inspection.
Underutilizing huge appliances
Dishwashers and dryers make the lives of homeowners much easier. However, even though these appliances are convenient to use, they draw high electricity and may be the reason for the rising utility bill.
A quick solution to this is to be smart on how you run these huge appliances. Use the appliance only when it is at its fullest capacity. For example, try limiting the number of times you use your washing machine and run it only in full loads. You can also opt to switch to using cold instead of hot water to save more energy. Doing just these two steps can shave $40 off your yearly energy bill.
Inefficient use of thermostat
Another culprit behind your high electric bill is the irregular use of the thermostat. Most homeowners would crank up or wind down their thermostat based on how cool or warm they want the inside of their home to be. However, doing this will have an effect on your electric bill.
A good solution to this is to have a smart thermostat installed so that the temperature is automatically adjusted based on your and your home’s needs. These devices can help utilize energy consumption by turning up the temperature when you’re not around the house or when you’re asleep, thus saving you on electric costs.
Don’t panic just yet if you notice that your electric bill is increasing. There are many reasons why this happened, and the good thing is you there are solutions that you can do to control this. We hope our suggestions will help. Also, you can always call a licensed electrician to get to inspect your electric system and get to the root of the issue.