Why Is My Electric Bill Higher Than Normal?

Have you ever opened your electric bill to find due an amount much higher than you expected? You may have done nothing different, but there are outside factors like weather and equipment in your home that may have changed. Those changes can affect your electric bill.

When it’s cold outdoors, family members want the house warm. We often raise the temperatures on our thermostats to create more warm air, and some people use space heaters. How much weather affects your electric bills depends on many factors, including your home’s original construction materials, insulation, and air leaks. Personal comfort plays a role too, as does the difference between the thermostat setting inside and temperatures outdoors.

Other factors that can contribute to a higher-thannormal electric bill are:

Holidays - During the holidays, you cook more, entertain more, and have more houseguests. When you planned for the holidays, you may not have factored in how these activities could increase your electric use and result in a higher electric bill.
Air Leaks in Your Home - The more heat that escapes from cracks, the more cold air enters, causing your system to work harder and use more energy. Use an incense stick to spot air leaks. When it’s windy outside, hold a lit incense stick near your windows, doors, and electrical outlets. If the smoke blows sideways, you’ve got a leak that should be plugged with weather-stripping, caulk, or expandable foam.
Cold Weather - A heating and cooling system is the biggest energy user in the home. In the winter more energy is used for heating than is used in the summer for cooling. An electric heat pump will often rely on the auxiliary heating component when the outdoor temperature is about 32 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Homes will use the most energy during the coldest periods of the day, which are usually overnight while we are asleep and right before sun-up when the daily low temperature is reached.
Temperature Settings Inside -Set the thermostat to 68 degreesmaximum in the winter. It may seem uncomfortable at first, but dressing in layers and using blankets can help you become more comfortable. Lower the thermostat setting during the night and during the day when you're away from home. Avoid increasing the thermostat settings suddenly - instead use a programmable thermostat to gradually increase the temperature. If you have a central heating system do not close doors or registers in unused rooms.
Plug-ins - Most homes these days never shut down for the night. Dark rooms are spotted with tiny blue, red and green lights of appliances and digital clocks. According to the U.S. Department of Energy these electronics could add 10 percent or more to your monthly electric bill. Unplug devices you don’t use often. Use power strips. Curb idle time in devices such as computers and video game consoles. When it's time, upgrade to ENERGY STAR devices.

We spend more time indoors when it’s cold outside so it’s logical that we will use more energy in the winter. Understanding how you use electricity and how to make changes will help you understand why your electric bill may be higher than normal. It will also help you get on the right track to make changes that will help you save.

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