Why is my electric bill so high?
Has your electric bill been steadily climbing over the last several months? Have you recently moved or changed your household dynamic that might be making your electric bills higher? Maybe you’re simply tired of paying high electric bills, and want a better solution.
A lot of people in Columbia SC think their electric bill is too high, and with good cause. The average monthly electric bill in Columbia SC in 2019 was about $160 per month, while the national average for the same year was only $111 according to the US Energy Information Administration. Clearly, Columbia residents should be doing more to lower the amount of electricity they are using.
In truth, lowering your electric bill by $50 or so per month can be done with some careful planning, building new habits, and breaking old ones. Whatever has prompted you to ask why your bills are so high, there are some definite things you can do to significantly lower your electric bills immediately and over time.
What is making my electric bill so high? Eliminate these common energy wasters.
There are a lot of reasons your electric bill could be high. Some of the things making your bills higher than the national average could be due to your specific lifestyle or household dynamic. But there are also several energy wasters that are often the cause of high electric bills.
Old appliances are not as effective and use more electricity.
Appliances of all types are your biggest energy users, including:
- Clothing washers and dryers
- Water heaters
- Air conditioners
- HVAC units
- Refrigerator or freezer
These appliances are necessary, but you want to run them efficiently. Make sure that your washers and dryer are run only at full capacity. You should also keep your fridge and freezer full to capacity, because the packages act as insulation decreasing the amount of energy needed to keep the food cold.
You can also invest a little bit of money to save a lot on your electric bills with appliance upgrades. Switching your appliances out for energy efficient counterparts can significantly lower your electric bills while also making your life more convenient.
Running ceiling fans doesn’t cool your home and wastes energy in empty rooms.
A lot of people in Columbia use their ceiling fans to cool their homes more efficiently in the summer. But fans don’t generate cold air, they just move it around. The breeze feels good, but in reality the temperature of the room is no different. The EPA warns on its Energy website that ceiling fans in empty rooms are a common waste of electricity.
If you really need additional cooling measures in your home, you should talk to an HVAC expert about upgrading your air conditioner. Depending on the age and capacity of your current electrical system, you may also need electrical upgrades to accommodate the stronger electrical pull of the more energy efficient equipment.
Old or high wattage light bulbs pull more energy than necessary.
You know that you can cut your electric bill by turning off lights when you’re not in the room, but did you know that even necessary light could be costing you more than it should? Switching your light bulbs to lower wattage or higher efficiency options can significantly cut your electric bill.
Energy efficient and long-lasting LED bulbs are the best option, but they can’t be used with all light fixtures. If you’re not sure what type of bulbs you should be using in your light fixtures, we can help. We can also install new LED lighting designed for use with the most eco-friendly bulbs.
Plugged in devices draw electricity even when not in use.
Phantom energy draws happen when you leave devices or appliances plugged in even when they are not in use. This is the single most common, and most overlooked, energy waster that shows on your bill.
Even though these items are not powered on, they are drawing energy the entire time they are plugged into the outlet. A program in Tennessee to eliminate these phantom energy draws has shown that people can save up to $60 per year or more just by unplugging one appliance when not in use.
Keep in mind that outlets don’t draw energy when there is nothing plugged into it. The metal plug of the device or appliance completes the circuit in the outlet to allow electricity to flow. If you think there is electricity affecting an unused outlet, it could be an indicator of an electrical emergency, and you should contact us immediately for assistance.
Older thermostats can cause your HVAC to cycle unnecessarily, wasting electricity.
If you are using an older thermostat that doesn’t allow for programming options, it could make it difficult to heat and cool your home efficiently. When your home’s temperature is constantly fluctuating, it can cause your HVAC, furnace, or air conditioner to run almost constantly, driving up your already high summer utility bills. Installing a new, programmable, energy efficient thermostat will keep your appliances from running unnecessarily.
How can I lower my electricity bill?
In addition to addressing the items above, consider these tips to further lower your electric bill.
- Take advantage of daylight with strategic opening of windows throughout the house.
- Don’t use devices (like smartphones or tablets) while they are plugged in and charging.
- Address home maintenance items, particularly those affecting electricity usage, right away.
If you know your bill is too high but you need help finding your energy wasters, the best option is an energy audit. We can come to your home and do an electrical inspection, part of which is identifying where you can cut back on energy usage. We are more than happy to help you save money on your utilities while also positively impacting the environment.
Are you ready to take the next steps in lowering your electric bills? Contact us today to schedule a walk through of your home’s electrical system to determine your needs.