7 Reasons Why Your Electric Bill Is High

electrical bill

Homeownership is highly coveted by many Americans. But if you own a house, you know that one of the downsides is higher expenses, and the monthly electricity bill is definitely one of them. It’s true that the electricity rates go up sometimes, but even so you might have found yourself wondering “Why is my electric bill so high?”

Energy Star, a branch of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) states that a regular U.S. family spends ”more than $2,000 a year on energy bills”. In fact, according to the US Energy Information Administration, California is the state with the highest year-over-year utility increase and the retail prices for kWh in the continental U.S.

However, sometimes the increase in utility rates is not the only reason for a high electric bill. Finding out what keeps making your electricity costs go up is not all that difficult. The key is verifying your electrical usage (measured in kWh). Even though the electricity prices keep on changing, you can understand what is going on with your bill by looking at the amount of energy you use. 

If you are interested in lowering your energy bill during the summer, feel free to check out these tips and tricks. If you want to know what exactly is making your bill go up, then here are the 7 most common reasons. 

1. Always “on” appliances

electric bill high because of vampire appliances

One of the most common reasons for which your energy bill is going up is the fact that you are leaving some of your appliances plugged in when you are not using them. A few years ago, this might not have been an issue. Today, however, even when turned off, most gadgets can still draw electricity. The explanation is that technology nowadays never actually powers down. Even though you have to press the power button for your TV, DVR, computer or television to start functioning, it only transitions from a standby mode. 

While your appliances or devices are waiting for a command or for a scheduled task, they are eating up energy. This also happens with pretty much anything that has a clock, from a microwave oven to an older generation VCR. They need power to show the time when turned off. 

What’s the solution? 

You don’t have to pay for energy you are not using. Instead of leaving these appliances plugged in when not in use, you could simply unplug them and save money. You could also connect your devices to power strips and turn the power off from the strips when you are not using them. This way, you will start saving energy. 

2. Misuse of certain appliances

Most likely, you have big, energy-hungry appliances like cloth washers, dishwashers or dryers, which can easily make your energy bill go up. As a matter of fact, the average American family does about 400 loads of laundry each year, using 40 gallons of water for a full load. Unfortunately, when doing the laundry or washing the dishes, you may not be using these appliances at their full capacity, wasting both water and energy. 

What’s the solution? 

If you are using a dishwasher, check if it’s used at full capacity. Select the right wash cycle and try to change the settings to use no or less heat. As far as washers and dryers are concerned, set a laundry day each week and make sure you put in a full load. You can also use with less heat for drying. 

3. Lights and ceiling fans

Your electric bill can be high because of lighting as well. Many people think that using ceiling lights can improve the overall brightness of a room. However, this is not exactly true. These lighting options eat up more energy than fixtures used for a specific area, such as lamps. Also, these are much more effective when it comes to increasing the level of brightness. They provide direct light, so brightness is significantly improved in the areas you want, like the couch or the table.  

When it’s hot outside, turning on the ceiling fans seems like a really good idea. The problem with fans is that they affect the temperature only in the room where they are installed. So, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to leave the fan working in the hopes of lowering the temperature in the entire house. 

Ceiling fans should be used when you are in the room. Plus, fans have a toggle switch which allows blades to switch direction based on season to obtain optimal efficiency. These tricks will help you lower your electric bills, as your energy usage is lowered. 

What’s the solution? 

Remember to turn off your lights when you are not in the room and try to switch to lighting for specific areas, like lamps. Also, use energy-efficient CFL bulbs instead of inefficient incandescent light bulbs and save money when the lights are on. 

Turn off the ceiling fan when the room is empty and set the blades to run counter-clockwise during the summertime and clockwise in the winter. 

4. Light Bulbs

electric bill high because of light bulbs

When it comes to lighting, the type of lighting you are using is not the only problem. Bulbs as well can increase energy usage, if they are not efficient. Energy inefficient bulbs may be cheaper than other options, but you may end up with a higher energy bill. 

What’s the solution? 

LED light bulbs are an energy-efficient alternative. Even though at first they might seem more expensive, you will notice a change in your energy consumption. These bulbs use up to 90% less energy than regular bulbs. Plus they last forever. So, the initial investment is definitely worth it. 

5. Improper Insulation

If you are overusing the heat during the winter or the air conditioning in the summer, it might be a sign of faulty insulation. Old, drafty windows are your enemy and they may be the reason why you’re using the appliances so much, which eats up a lot of energy and keeps your bill unusually high. 

What’s the solution? 

You could consider investing in new, properly insulated windows, as well as make sure your attic and basement have proper insulation as well. 

6. Overcharging Devices

electric bill high because of overcharging devices

Many people charge their phones and laptops, or any other devices, in the evening and leave them plugged in overnight. A phone requires no more than 3 hours to be fully charged. So, leaving it plugged in overnight will not do any good, as its battery won’t last any longer. The only result you’ll have is a higher energy bill. 

What’s the solution? 

Make sure you unplug chargers and unplug AC adapters when no devices need charging. Also, familiarize yourself with the necessary charging time for each device and plug them in when they need to. Unnecessary charging will only increase energy usage, make the bill go up and affect the battery of your devices. 

7. Misusing the AC

The summer heat makes it impossible not to turn on the air conditioning. But using the AC when the windows are open is just a waste of money. This is a power-hungry appliance, so keeping the windows open and the AC on is a sure way to a huge energy bill. 

What’s the solution? 

You should either use the AC and make sure that the windows are closed or open your windows and turn off the AC. Always make sure the windows are closed before turning on the air conditioner. You could also select the “eco” setting on your thermostat, if it has such a feature. It allows the thermostat to slightly change the temperature depending on the time of day, which smart thermostats do automatically.  

A Simple Electrical Upgrade Can Upgrade Your Quality of Life

The right electrical upgrade can dramatically improve the value and appearance of any home or business. You’ll be amazed at what a difference the right electrical upgrade can make for your home or business. Make sure that when you select an electrical company to do the enhancement of your home and you have decided to take your enhancement to the level where you require an electrical upgrade that the technician at the company has a good working knowledge and the experience to properly guide you in this area.

When you decide to upgrade, our well-trained and certified electricians have all the experience and training needed to complete your electrical panel upgrade project from start to finish, with a minimum of fuss or disturbance. Please contact us right away at 310-800-2401

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