Are you like most people who don’t monitor their electric bills? You receive your bill, you settle it until the next one comes in. The cycle of you not paying much attention to your electricity bill continues until suddenly a sky-high bill has hit you. The surge in your energy cost, which will be a huge dent in your pockets, will lead you to ask – what is going on here? What is causing the sudden spike?
You may wonder if you have used more energy as compared with the previous months or maybe even ask if the bill is accurate. The reality is, there are many possible reasons why your electricity has surged.
A sudden increase in electric charge is indeed frustrating and can even throw you off the budget, but the good thing is, there are several solutions that you can apply once you identify the culprit.
Here are the seven common reasons why your electricity bill is so high:
Reason # 1: A Broken Meter
Your electricity consumption is measured by the meter installed by your electric provider. An issue in your meter could result in a sudden jump in your electric bill. Go through the other possible reasons that we will provide, and if you think that they do not match your situation, then go back to our reason # 1 – there is a possibility that your meter is actually broken!
You won’t be able to fix the broken meter on your own, so your first step should be contacting your service provider, raise a ticket, and schedule for a meter check. A service technician will determine the problem and fix your meter. Afterward, your electric bill will be back to normal.
Reason # 2: Your Appliances May Actually Be Draining Energy
Are you familiar with the term “vampire appliances”? This is when any electronic device or appliances are plugged in all the time. Even if they are in standby mode, those appliances continue to draw in energy. Vampire sources will of course not cause a drastic jump in your electricity bill BUT those small drains of electricity will add up over time especially if there are multiple vampire appliances.
Our say here is that nobody would want to pay for something that they are not using, so the same concept should apply when it comes to electricity. Unplug those appliances and save more money and energy.
Reason # 3: You Are Still Using Outdated and Less Efficient Appliances
This is a no-brainer, older appliances are less efficient, which will have a great impact on your electricity bill. A number of appliances could last between 10 to even 15 years. Yes, these appliances will still be able to do the job well but the question is, would they still function efficiently?
With modernization comes higher energy consumption but at the same time, there are more options for consumers that will help in conserving energy and even be of help to the environment (limit in greenhouse emissions). Look for the Energy Star label that will guide you as you upgrade your appliances. The higher the rating, the better. With a budget as consideration, here are the top appliances that you should prioritize upgrading: refrigerators, air conditioners, dishwashers, and water heaters.
Reason # 4: Change in Season or Temp
Your house’s heating and cooling actually comprise a huge percentage of your electricity bill. During autumn or spring, fluctuation in the temperature happens, so don’t be surprised by the sudden kick in bills, as your central air actually works harder during those times.
Is your thermostat automatically set? Or do you know how to efficiently use it? Tip: It is best to use a smart thermostat that could be programmable according to your needs.
In addition, the season will also dictate the use of “seasonal” appliances. For example, during summer, you will use your air conditioners more, and during the colder season, heaters or hot tubs will be the star of your home. The increased usage of seasonal appliances will propel your electricity bill during those seasons.
Reason # 5: Insufficient Insulation
If your insulation is inadequate, you are wasting time and energy. If your windows, attics, fireplace, and doors are not properly insulated then cool and warm air will escape, canceling the hard work of your HVAC system.
Insufficient insulation presents a steady loss for homeowners and spikes in electric bills will be noticed especially during hot summers, where you are using your air conditioners in the full blast, or during those freezing wintertime where the heater is on.
Reason # 6: Defective or Old Wiring
Issues with wiring are not a usual scenario but it does happen. And when it does, it will surely trigger your electricity to rise and at the same time, it is an electrical hazard.
When faulty wiring comes in contact with other wires, it might cause them to heat up, which will mean that it will consume extra power. If you notice any damaged or frayed wires, call a licensed electrician ASAP to have them check.
Reason # 7: Forgetting to turn something off
This scenario happens a lot of times when homeowners did not take the extra step to check that everything is shut off. Some may have gone for a vacation for a few days or even for a week but failed to turn off the air conditioners or the electric water heater, so it is not surprising that the electric bill will also go up.
Other possible reasons:
• Have you recently moved to a new home? You may be thinking that your consumption is just the same, but you haven’t taken into consideration that there is a significant increase in square footage and your appliances are exerting more effort (e.g., air conditioner)
• You have a long-term visitor in the past month or there is a change in the number of residents in your home (e.g., a new bundle of joy, your mother-in-law visited and stayed for a few weeks in your new home or your girlfriend has moved in with you). You may not have realized it but more people in your home means more charging of phones, gadgets, laptops; more usage of light, more loads of laundry, and more, which of course all require more electricity.
• Are you suddenly spending more time at home? The COVID-19 pandemic has actually resulted in spending more time at home in many households. From work from home set-ups or just trying to generally spend fewer times outside. This will of course lead to more lights, gadgets, and appliance usage.
• Increase in electricity charges like “time of use” charges. What is this? If you don’t have a fixed-rate plan, there are actually suppliers that charge a higher rate during peak hours (this is when there are more people using power, usually between 10 in the morning until 8 in the evening). More usage during peak hours means a higher rate per kilowatt-hour. You can either adjust the way you use your appliances (e.g., do your laundry either early morning or after 8 in the evening) or consider availing of the fixed-rate plan, which will mean a steady rate no matter what time you use your electricity.
• Holidays, like Halloween, Christmas, and Thanksgiving, usually causes surges in the bill. Think about the Christmas lights and Halloween decors that you use around the house? Or the many visitors (more electric usage) in your home.
• You need to switch suppliers if in case your provider actually charges a higher rate as compared with other suppliers. Do comparative research between suppliers. However, do note that not all states offer this benefit. Some states are still under utility monopolies or you are required to avail electricity from a utility that has jurisdiction in your area.
• Is there a chance that someone is stealing power from you? This is a bit hard to believe but it happens an example of this is campers plugging in your back garden or even a neighbor!
According to Energy Star, a typical US household “spends more than $2,000 a year on energy bills”. The highest percentage of your bill goes to cooling or heating. Considering this, it is important to know where your money goes and of course to adopt a plan that will lower your electric bill.
If you want to save and avoid “surprises” due to a sudden jump in your electricity bill, be mindful of your usage and monitor your consumption.
You also have to ensure that everything that is electricity-related is running smoothly. Invest in having an electrical inspection or audit from professional electricians (click here for electricians near you) so that you are covering all your bases. They will be able to identify how much energy you are using, how is it being lost, and of course if there are areas for repairs. From the result of the thorough assessment, you will be able to have the proper electricity plan for your house.
You can also start considering switching to solar to reduce the electric bills or apply these other tips to save electricity. But in the meantime, we hope that the list above could help you identify the surge culprit and lower your next bill once the proper solution is applied.