Why Is My Electric Bill So High?

June 21, 2021
Energy Consumption in Seattle, Washington

Your electric bill comes every month like clockwork, and you’ve probably noticed a sharp increase during the hottest and coldest months. While this is normal, the bill shouldn’t be far in excess of what you’d expected, and it shouldn’t continue to be high after the summer and winter months are over. When either of these occurs, you may have a problem.

You can take action to lower your bill, but first, you need to discover why the bill is more expensive than anticipated. Here are some of the reasons why your electric bill might be so high.

Increase in Energy Prices

Electricity prices continue to rise, and people see the difference in their electricity bills. It’s important to learn about the trends in electricity prices in your area. Of course, it helps to live in a place that doesn’t raise prices regularly.

You also have the option to look into solar energy. You don’t necessarily need to live in a warm climate to benefit from this energy source; however, you need to live in an area with plenty of sunshine. You also need to place the solar panels advantageously on your roof. Talk to a professional to learn your options and discuss whether solar panels are a good choice for you. You will need to make a large initial investment, but it will benefit you down the road.

Insufficient Insulation

You need proper insulation in your home to keep a temperature-controlled interior. In most homes, insulation is placed in the walls and attic. If your residence lacks sufficient insulation, you should definitely consider adding more.

Insulation comes with an R-value to let you know how well it will perform. The higher the R-value, the more effective it will be. Most people can install new insulation themselves with a little bit of research.

Using Incandescent Light Bulbs

Traditional light bulbs are a thing of the past. People today are switching to LED or CFL light bulbs that last much longer and don’t generate nearly as much heat. If you’re still using incandescent light bulbs, make the switch. Also, make a point to turn the light bulbs off when not needed. Everyone forgets from time to time, so a smart system can give you the ability to check the lights from anywhere and shut them off if necessary.

Residual Electricity Use

Some items in your home increase your utility bill without even being turned on. Consider for a moment that the clock on your microwave has to run on something. These culprits are usually electrical devices such as computers or televisions that stay plugged in. They don’t use as much energy when not powered on, but they still consume some electricity in their idle state. To eliminate this addition to the electric bill, try unplugging items you don’t regularly use.

Generating Heat During the Day

You don’t want to increase the temperature of your home when you have air conditioning running. This will force the air conditioner to work harder, increasing your bill. Some items that may generate heat in your home include the stove or oven, dishwasher and dryer. Another source could even be taking a hot shower.

Naturally, you need to shower and cook. However, you can take colder and shorter showers. You can also grill and cook outside. If you are going to take hot showers or cook indoors, do these activities at night when the temperature outside is cooler.

Letting Too Much Sunlight Inside

The sun brings the heat with it. For that reason, you want to keep the sun out during the summer months. Shut the curtains or blinds during the day. You can also buy energy-efficient blinds designed to keep the light out. Of course, you’ll want to reverse this process in the winter.

Open Windows and Doors

Most people remember getting scolded as children for not shutting the door when the air conditioning was on. Now, it’s your turn to make sure people adhere to this simple request. Whether you’re trying to cool your home in summer or heat it in winter, retain the indoor temperature. This means keeping the drafts from outdoors to a minimum.

Using the AC Too Much

Most people start using their AC as soon as they encounter the first uncomfortably hot day of the year. In addition, once they turn it on, they never turn it off until the autumn. You might want to try alternative methods of cooling down the home that don’t use as much electricity. This makes the most sense in the spring and fall when the weather isn’t brutally hot and humid.

One alternative way to cool off is to use fans. Install ceiling fans in rooms with a lot of activity, and install exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom. When the climate is mild, an overhead fan can be quite comfortable. You can also put box fans in the windows to pull hot air outside. For a little extra cooling, put a bowl of ice in front of an oscillating fan.

Inconsistent HVAC Use

Some people think it’s best to shut the AC off multiple times throughout the day as needed. However, your HVAC system will work most efficiently if you put it on a regular schedule. When using your HVAC system, do not turn it off for a quick trip to the corner store, despite what you may think.

Use a smart thermostat to automatically set regular temperature changes. In the summer, you should keep the temperature at a higher level when you and the family are gone for the day and then turn it back down when you get home. A smart thermostat will do this for you, and you won’t be forced to remember to change the temperature yourself.

Inefficient HVAC System

HVAC systems are getting more and more efficient, which is good news for everyone. If you have an older HVAC system, it might not be as efficient as it could be. Efficiency will also decrease over time. Most systems have a life expectancy of about 10 to 15 years. If it’s time for a new HVAC system, you need to select equipment with better efficiency ratings. The change can lead to significant savings each month.

Inefficient Appliances

Your HVAC system isn’t the only item you want to be efficient. Your fridge, dishwasher, washing machine, dryer and other appliances should have an ENERGY STAR sticker on them indicating that they meet efficiency recommendations.

Not Getting Regular HVAC Maintenance

Like most other items in your home, your HVAC system requires regular maintenance. This attention keeps the equipment running well for as long as possible. Talk to your HVAC contractor about maintenance programs that will ensure you get regular tune-ups. Your unit will last longer and run better. With a maintenance plan, you won’t even have to remember to schedule the appointments.

Have a Professional Help Lower Your Electric Bill

It may be time to call the professionals. If you’re anywhere in the Seattle area, Brennan Electric can examine your situation and make suggestions on how to lower your utility bill. Our competent team performs a full array of electrical testing, installation and repair services, including work with surge protectors and generators. Call us today.

Brennan Electric icon