If the amount on your energy bill seems out of step with what you normally pay, you may be asking yourself “What causes my electric bill to be high?” The answer is that several factors impact your monthly bill, from your daily routines to the price you pay per kWh.
A good place to start is by looking at your bill to understand your energy costs in detail. Once you’ve done that, you can make some changes that will save energy now and allow you to keep saving into the future.
The reasons for an unusually high electric bill partly depend on what’s happening in your home now and how that might have changed, as well as your ongoing regular energy use. The good news is that, in both situations, you have options for helping to lower costs. We suggest the following energy-saving improvements that can help make your home more energy-efficient.
Seasonal change, weather, insulation, appliances and even your daily behavior are all reasons for an unusually high energy bill. You can offset those higher costs by changing habits and usage that waste electricity.
For many homeowners, heating and cooling are the biggest contributors to a high energy bill. Fortunately, you can potentially lower these costs with easy, do-it-yourself fixes. You can start by learning how to check for adequate insulation in the walls around your home. Adding insulation in your attic is relatively easy and can improve the efficiency in your home.
Even with good insulation, air leaks can let in cold drafts or leak cool air on hot days. Luckily, it isn’t hard to find and seal air leaks. Simple fixes can repay your effort in cost savings month after month.
Warmer weather can bring higher electricity bills caused by an overworked air conditioner. But by adopting some summer energy saving tips, you could lower your home electricity bill.
Changing how and when you cook and run appliances in the kitchen and do laundry can reduce heat production. Keep the hot sun from overheating your home with awnings, shades, curtains and reflective film.
Additional ways to lower a high electric bill in the summer:
Investing in new appliances costs money upfront but may be worth the investment in the long run. The new appliance models in stores today are dramatically more efficient than older ones. In the last 10 years, manufacturers seeking a good ENERGY STAR® rating have made real strides in energy efficiency.
By using ENERGY STAR® data, you can compare new models against your old appliances. Then you can calculate how much electricity you could save to see if it’s cost-effective to update them. We offer an appliance buying guide, or you can research ratings on the ENERGY STAR® site. They’ve made it easy to calculate savings on refrigerators with their refrigerator energy cost calculator.
Many appliance dealers make switching painless. They will remove and haul away your old appliances and install the new ones. You don’t have to lift a finger.
If you’re energy-conscious, you’re probably already changing your thermostat setting while away. You may also leave many appliances and devices turned off.
However, as more people have opted to or have been required to stay home, the lights are on longer. The gaming console is getting a workout. You might stream content all day and night. All that activity burns energy that drives up your electricity bill.
Energy economist Severin Borenstein, from the Energy Institute at Haas at the University of California, Berkeley, suggests a silver lining. He says to look at your total energy costs, not just your electric bill. What are your commuting costs in terms of gas, tolls and parking? Although your energy bill may be increasing, you might be saving money by not commuting.
You and your family can change habits that cut your high electricity bill.
You may discover that you and your family are plugging in more electronics than usual. Laptops, gaming consoles and various chargers draw power even when they’re not in use. It’s also easy to leave a television streaming and forget it’s on. You may find the reasons for your unusually high electric bill are more related to waste than increased use.
Now is a good time to buy smart plugs that turn anything plugged into them into programmable appliances. Power strips are another convenient way to turn off several appliances at the same time and stop them from drawing power when not in use.
Asking yourself the question “Why is my electric bill unusually high?” is a great starting point for cutting a high energy bill. Saving electricity is definitely within your power without too much effort or expense, especially with a better understanding of your energy costs. Some simple fixes and changed habits can affect an electric bill more than you might think.
Another way to control energy costs is with a fixed-price electricity rate. Fixed rates can help you better estimate your monthly energy bills and give you peace-of-mind when it comes to managing the family budget. Constellation offers fixed-price electricity rates in many states, including Texas, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Massachusetts. View our current rates and compare them to your current provider’s to help reduce uncertainty with your monthly energy bill.
Whatever your energy needs, we've got a plan for you
The unplugging-appliances-to-save-energy myth is actually not a myth at all. If you’re wondering whether unplugging appliances saves electricity, here are some answers.