Why Is My Energy Bill So High?
August 3, 2023
Have you ever received an unexpectedly high energy bill and wondered what could have caused such a spike? Perhaps rates are higher, or maybe you’re consuming more energy than usual.
Many factors contribute to an increased energy bill, from lifestyle changes to home inefficiencies. Understanding these factors will help you identify the reasons behind your unique energy bill increases. As a result, you can start taking steps to address them.
As they say: You can’t fix the problem without first knowing what it is.
In this article, we’ll explore some common culprits of rising energy bills and offer practical tips to help you reduce costs. But most importantly, we’ll help you get to the bottom of that pesky, ever-present question: Why is my energy bill so high?
[Related: How To Read Solar Electric Bills]
What Increases Household Energy Use?
Here are some factors that increase your household’s energy consumption — and therefore prompt higher energy bills.
Some of the most (if not the most) common reasons for a higher-than-usual energy bill are seasonal changes.
Unsurprisingly, extreme temperatures (hot or cold) often result in increased energy usage. For example, your air conditioning units work very hard during summer months to keep your home cool and comfortable. Meanwhile, heating systems consume more energy during the winter to keep your home warm and toasty.
Be mindful of the seasonal impact on your energy consumption, and then adjust your thermostat settings accordingly.
Aging or inefficient appliances undoubtedly contribute to higher energy bills, too.
Consider older models of appliances, such as refrigerators, washing machines, dryers and dishwashers. They tend to be louder and sometimes feel like they’re taking off to space when in use! While going to space certainly requires a great deal of energy, your appliances shouldn’t require so much to do their jobs.
Their newer counterparts consume much less electricity and are far more sustainable in the long run. So if you have old appliances and the money to replace them, strongly consider it.
If possible, aim for newer Energy Star-certified models — manufacturers specifically design them to minimize energy use.
Major Changes to Your Home or Appliances
Another big factor when it comes to high energy use is making certain additions to your home.
In fact, many people choose to go solar after making one of these large purchases to offset their utility costs.
Phantom Power Consumption
You might be unfamiliar with the concept of phantom power (also known as standby power). In short, it’s the fact that many electronic devices continue to consume energy even when they’re off or in standby mode.
Televisions, computers, game consoles and phone chargers are customary phantom power offenders. All of these devices are likely using energy when plugged in, and that means they contribute to your energy bill.
Make sure to unplug these devices or use power strips that let you simultaneously switch off multiple devices.
In your home, poor insulation can lead to significant energy losses. Why? Well, as you might expect, insufficient insulation allows hot and/or cool air to escape. And that causes your heating or cooling systems to work harder to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature.
Check your window, door, attic and basement insulation for gaps and leaks. If they exist, consider adding or improving insulation. You can do this in multiple ways:
- Apply caulk around air vents.
- Add an insulation jacket to your water heater (and sleeves to its pipes).
- Put foam boards on your patio door.
- Put insulation film on your windows.
- Put reflectors on your radiator.
- Install thick carpets to insulate your floors.
- Buy thermal window blinds.
- Place draught excluders on your external doors.
- Install insulation material (such as foam and cotton) in your attic (its walls and ceiling).
If your home has a central heating or cooling system, leaky ducts can easily lead to energy loss.
How exactly? Conditioned air escapes through the leaks before it reaches the intended rooms. The system compensates for the loss, leading to increased energy consumption.
It’s smart to have a professional inspect your ductwork and seal any leaks to improve energy efficiency. And remember — don’t do it yourself. It’s never wise to work on household tasks that require specific expertise because you could make matters worse!
High Water Usage
Heating water is another kicker when it comes to energy loss because it makes up a significant portion of your energy bill.
Here are some of the top areas that rack up your bill:
- Taking long, hot showers
- Using hot water for multiple loads of laundry
- Running the dishwasher frequently
All of these seemingly minor household tasks amass energy quicker than you may realize.
Consider reducing your water usage by taking shorter (and cooler) showers, using cold water for laundry when possible and running full dishwasher loads. And for heaven’s sake, please don’t keep the faucet running when you’re not using it!
Traditional incandescent light bulbs consume far more energy and generate more heat than energy-efficient alternatives like LED bulbs.
In fact, residential LEDs (especially the Energy Star-rated ones) use about 75% less energy than incandescent lighting.
Consider replacing your incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs. They don’t simply use significantly less energy — they have longer life spans.
It’s no surprise that our own habits and behaviors also contribute to higher energy bills.
For example, leaving lights on in vacant rooms, constantly adjusting the thermostat and not turning off appliances result in unnecessary energy consumption. Be mindful of your energy usage habits, and then make small adjustments whenever possible to conserve energy.
What’s more, visitors can rack up your bill, too (think kids and their friends being home over summer, or grandparents visiting over the holidays). When there’s more people in your home, it’s assumed more things are in use, such as more lights on in rooms, more TVs in use and so much more.
On top of that, many people work from home these days — or at least exercise a hybrid workstyle. As a result, energy bills tend to be higher because people are in the home for longer periods rather than being gone all day during traditional work hours.
[Related: Tips To Save on Energy Costs]
Takeaways: Tips To Lower Your Energy Bill
“Why is my energy bill so high?” Now you know the most common reasons!
Let’s summarize some of the main ways you can lower your energy consumption and thus reduce your monthly utility payments:
- Conduct an energy audit. Consider hiring a professional energy auditor or conducting a DIY energy audit to identify energy inefficiencies in your home.
- Use a programmable thermostat. Set your thermostat to adjust temperatures based on your schedule, allowing for energy savings when you’re away or asleep.
- Optimize appliance usage. Run full loads in your dishwasher and washing machine, and use cold water whenever possible. Also, try air drying clothes instead of using a dryer whenever feasible (it might seem a bit “Little House on the Prairie,” but your wallet will thank you).
- Seal air leaks. Caulk or weatherstrip gaps around windows and doors prevent conditioned (hot or cold) air from escaping your home. You’ll notice indoor temperatures become easier to maintain.
- Unplug unused devices. Unplug chargers, electronics and appliances when not in use to avoid phantom power consumption.
- Switch to energy-efficient lighting. Replace traditional incandescent bulbs with energy-saving LED bulbs throughout your home.
- Educate household members. Encourage energy-saving practices among family members. One way to do so is by discussing the downsides of having a large carbon footprint. In turn, you’ll raise awareness about the impact of high energy consumption on your utility bills.
Invest in Clean Energy Sources
While the tips above will certainly help you reduce your energy consumption, an entire lifestyle change takes time. Old habits die hard, right?
On that note, you can take additional steps to live a more energy-responsible life. For one, you can invest in clean energy sources.
We can confidently assume that you’re always going to need electricity in your household. So finding ways to source clean energy should be top priority, outside of lowering your overall consumption.
Solar panels are a fantastic solution.
As you decrease your carbon footprint, you also power your home with one of the cleanest energy sources — solar energy — via a solar panel system. You can also invest in a backup power solution, such as a SunPower SunVault or TeslaPowerwall, to increase your energy independence.
That way, alternative energy meets your energy needs. And if you end up needing a little extra energy on some days, your solar battery is there to save the day.
[Related: 50 Solar Power Facts]
Contact Freedom Solar Power for Efficient SunPower Solar Panels
By understanding the factors that contribute to high energy bills and using energy-saving strategies, you can take control of your consumption and reduce your monthly expenses substantially.
Remember, even small changes in your daily routines can add up to significant savings over time. But if you’re looking to really change where your money goes, contact Freedom Solar to invest in solar panels.
To start harnessing the power of the sun, call us at (800) 504-2337 or complete our online inquiry form. One of our energy consultants will be in touch!
Featured image via Unsplash