If you’re anything like the rest of us, you don’t pay a lot of attention to your power bill. You simply pay it, maybe complain a bit about the rising prices, and then you forget about it until next time. However, it all changes when you suddenly realize that your bill has jumped up or even doubled…what’s the matter with that?
Truth be told, rising energy bills can be very frustrating. I mean, your housing payment doesn’t change a bit. As well with the car payment, it stays the same month after month. Well, there could be plenty of reasons why your utility might be going through the roof.
Luckily, many actions can be done, to consistently lower your bill. The first step is to figure out WHY. Here are 12 important lessons you need to remember when it comes to energy bills:
Vampire sources are always draining power
When you go out, you turn off the lights, you unplug your curling iron, and you probably adjust the temperature to come back to the perfect temperature. All these things are probably helpful when it comes to saving more energy, but there’s a high chance you still have a couple of vampire sources constantly draining electricity without knowing anything about it.
Vampire sources are appliances and electronics that always stay plugged. Think about your television, your kitchen appliances, your smart speaker, and your computer. All these appliances and electronics still need a small amount of energy all the time.
So when you leave your computer, or just its charger plugged into the wall without the computer connected to it, it will still consume energy long after it is charged. Even if these vampire sources might not be at fault for a $50 surge in your energy bill, they are still drained of energy that will add up over time.
Nowadays, you could still have many choices when you go to buy a lightbulb, whether it’s incandescent, halogen, compact fluorescent (CFLs), and even light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. All of these bulbs contain different amounts of energy.
Incandescent lightbulbs and CFLs usually emit light and heat in any direction, which will waste a ton of energy. LED bulbs, on the other hand, are much more efficient, as they emit light in a very specific direction. They use 75% less energy than the traditional ones, and they last 25 times longer, which means that you will save much more money on bulbs AND energy altogether in the long run.
Your windows are probably not as closed as you thought they were, which might affect you in a way. Insufficient insulation is probably the single biggest culprit when it comes to high energy bills. Just think about the work your HVAC system has to go through to keep your home at your desired temperature.
And this applies even more if you live in an extreme climate. Trust me on this, if your home isn’t insulated right, all that air, whether it’s warm or cool, will escape. When you notice that heating and cooling your home makes up more than half (54%) of your monthly utility bill, it’s much easier to see how poor insulation might increase your bill.
If all the US homes were insulated the way they should be, “all the residential electricity use all over the country would drop by about 5%, and natural gas use by over 10%” according to Dr. Jonathan Levy, professor of Environmental Health at Boston University.
Check all the older, less-efficient appliances
This one is not that complicated – older appliances are just not as good as the new ones, which might impact your energy bills. For example, ENERGY STAR appliances use 10-50% less energy than their less-efficient counterparts.
ENERGY STAR appliances are certified to “save more energy, save more money, and protect the climate”. Replacing a 10-year-old refrigerator with a newer model might save you as much as $144 in energy costs over 5 years. So when you’re finally ready to replace that old dishwasher or fridge of yours, make sure you let the new come into your life and help you to save more energy!
Irregular or inefficient thermostat use
Beyond just checking just how well is your house insulated, how you use your thermostat might also raise or lower the electricity bill. Most of us will adjust our thermostats depending on how warm or cool we want to be. Is it cold outside today? Just bump that thermostat up!
That’s a rather inefficient way to control the proper temperature in your home. You should consider more what your house needs, then get one of those smart thermostats or even a programmable one to help you automate everything you need. For example, you could easily program your heat to dial back when no one’s home, or at night when you’re already in bed.
Peak-time energy use
You pay more for traveling when you’re on vacation, and more for electricity when you use it the most. Did you know that energy rates fluctuate throughout the day, depending on the demand? As so many Americans work from nine to five, the majority of our at-home energy use will usually take place first thing in the morning and during the evening.
Well, that’s also when the energy rates are the highest, thanks to the increase in demand. Knowing all this, you can easily limit your use of appliances during these times. And if you can, try doing some of your usual chores in the middle of the day, or even later at night (if that’s possible), to take advantage of the lower rates.
Your social life needs to be taken into account too
It could be over summer or for Christmas, whatever it is, you’ll throw a party or two at your own home, right? But what happens exactly when you host a party? You cook more, you keep the lights on in rooms of the house that you wouldn’t normally spend time in, and you could even stay up a little later than you’d normally do, leaving the lights a bit longer.
Well, if you host a lot, you’d probably see the difference in your electric bill. Even if this is not even the cause for concern or something you’d want to change, it might help you understand why your bill has increased so much.
Changes in your energy use
If you’re not used to tracking your energy use (and I honestly don’t know who would), it’s very easy to assume that you always use the same amount of energy every month. But in reality, you aren’t. Think about those times when you might have used more electricity!
For example, right in the middle of the summer, given that you could run your air conditioner more often. What about all those festive lights during the holidays that consumed so much electricity? It could have powered 18 million refrigerators!
However, there are many reasons why you would notice changes in your electricity use. Maybe you added a new appliance to your home, or you added a space heater that resulted in big increases in your energy bill. So if you notice a difference in your energy bill, just think about how your electricity usage might have something to do with it, too.
If you enjoyed reading this article, we strongly recommend you: 9 Great Ways to Stay on a Budget While Traveling