Electricity bill increases are a major source of annoyance and financial pressure. In 2020, a whopping 27% of US households admitted to having difficulties paying their electricity bills and to keeping their homes at uncomfortable or even unsafe temperatures. According to Energy Star, the largest portion of a typical US household’s power bill—29%—goes toward heating, while cooling accounts for up to 13%.
Here’s the good news – there are several things you can do to reduce your electricity costs.
Reasons for High Electricity Bills
Even though you might believe you’re smart about your energy use, you may have developed some unintentional bad habits over time that are driving up your electricity costs.
1. You Put Off AC Maintenance
17% of the overall cost of household power goes toward air conditioning. In hotter environments, like Arizona, this number can rise as high as 27%. This number can exponentially increase if maintenance is neglected. For instance, if your air conditioner’s filters are clogged, it will need to work harder to deliver the same level of cooling, using more electricity. Setting reminders to change your air filters can help. Additionally, routine AC maintenance will help you avoid needing to make costly repairs later on.
2. You Use Most of Your Energy During Peak Hours
If you’ve been wondering why your bill is so high despite lowering your usage, look at the times of day you use the most electricity. During peak hours, electric companies impose higher charges to tamp down excessive energy use. Trying to switch your usage to off-peak can save you a decent amount over time.
In the summer, the busiest times are often from noon until six o’clock, when everyone is running their air conditioners nonstop. You can reduce your electric cost by simply decreasing your usage during this period or turning up the thermostat on your air conditioner.
To reduce your energy usage, avoid using other appliances during peak hours outside the air conditioner, such as the washing machine, vacuum, dishwasher, and so on.
3. Leaky Windows and Doors
The main places where air leaks occur are windows and doors. Even if your walls are well-insulated, your HVAC may struggle to function optimally if the weatherstripping or caulking on your doors and windows has worn out. It will have to operate longer hours as a result, increasing your electric cost.
Knowing exactly where the air leaks are is crucial before stockpiling caulk and weatherstripping.
4. Your Home Has Insufficient Insulation
Your high electric cost may also be due to inadequate insulation. Heat tends to move in a general direction from hotter locations to colder ones. As a result, throughout the winter, indoor heat attempts to escape outside. This makes it difficult for your air conditioner to keep the room cooler in the summer and for your heater to keep the room warmer in the winter.
By preventing heat transmission through conduction, convection, and radiation, proper insulation makes it simpler for your air conditioner to maintain the temperature you want. To heat or cool the space, your AC no longer needs to operate continuously. Energy is conserved, and a large power bill is avoided.
5. You Cool The Entire House Even When It’s Unnecessary
Most households only have 1-2 rooms occupied at once but nevertheless keep on the house-wide air conditioning. This results in a significant loss of electricity and high costs. You can build HVAC zones to get around this problem—to divide your home into separate areas and set a different temperature for each, use HVAC zones with dampers. Your air conditioner won’t need to run as hard to cool your entire house.
6. You Use Old Appliances or Have an Old HVAC System
An astonishing amount of electricity is used by old air conditioners. An air conditioner typically has a lifespan of 10 to 15 years. Individual components, like the compressor, then lose efficiency as they age. More electricity is consumed by older compressors. Newer air conditioners have a significantly higher EER and SEER rating than earlier ones as Energy Star rules became stricter.
Older equipment like refrigerators and washing machines can also be huge energy consumers in addition to air conditioners. Older appliances have to operate longer and use more electricity as a result of natural wear and tear.
Newer appliances are getting more efficient as technology advances. A refrigerator that has earned the Electricity Star label uses 35% less energy than an older model. When an appliance reaches the end of its useful life, dispose of it. If you don’t, your high electricity bills will cost you extra.
Want help auditing your energy usage or HVAC’s efficiency? Get in touch! Our team is here to help!