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High Electric Bill Common Causes

You may have noticed your electric bill is higher than the previous month. If you have a high electric bill, the reasons vary. Electricity customers often worry that something may be wrong. While that’s entirely possible, don’t panic. There are plenty of possible reasons, many of which are under your control. You may be able to make some changes to take more control of your power bill and lower it in future months. You can find additional energy saving here.

Temperature Changes

Greater electricity use in the summer and winter months tend to be the most common reason for an increase in your electric bill. Heaters, hot showers, and other means to stay warm use more electricity. When winter temperatures drop, your heating system works much harder to keep your home comfortable in cold weather. Even if you don’t change your thermostat setting, it runs longer to heat your home. And if it’s an older furnace or heat system, it may have to work harder to keep you warm enough to combat those bone-chilling temperatures. Even gas heating systems use electricity to power the fan and distribute the warm air. Also, most people spend more time at home in the cold weather, thus using more energy.

The same is true for the heat of the summer. An air conditioner helps you stay comfortable during the summer as it absorbs the indoor heat and releases it outside during the cooling cycle. It continues this until the set temperature is achieved. As the temperatures outside increase, your air conditioning system has to work harder and longer to achieve the desired temperature. 

Irregular or inefficient thermostat use

How you use your thermostat can also raise or lower your electric bill. Most of us adjust our thermostats based on how warm or cool we want to be. It’s cold outside today? Bump that thermostat up! Raising that thermostat just one degree higher in the winter or lower in the summer can tremendously increase your energy bill.

Your social life

Whether it’s over the summer or the festive holiday season, there are times of year when you might find yourself hosting a few parties. What happens when you host parties? You cook a little more, you have lights on in rooms of the house that you don’t normally spend time in, and you might stay up a little later than usual, leaving the lights on a little longer.

If you host guests frequently, you’ll probably see that reflected in your electric bill. While this may not be a cause for concern or something you want to change, it helps you understand why your bill has increased.

Daylight savings time

This is an often-overlooked cause of energy bill changes. Springing forward and falling back don’t just affect your sleeping habits; they also affect your energy usage.

 Appliance Failure

A super-high electric bill can be your first sign that a major appliance is on the fritz. If your refrigerator is working double time to cool, you’ll be paying for it. If it’s past time to replace your refrigerator, hot water heater, AC unit, or washer/dryer, it may be time to evaluate. Use a watt meter to determine exactly which appliance is causing the huge load and replace that one with an Energy Star model.

Outdoor Lights

If your holiday decorations are extreme, you’re looking at a massive electric bill. The same may be true for landscape lighting. As fun as it is to celebrate Christmas in July, you might want to consider turning off lights after a few hours instead of leaving them on all night.

Leaking Current

This is rare, but it could be the cause of a significant spike in your electric bill that’s otherwise unexplained. A live wire or leaking current in the breaker box will leech wattage at a significant cost. Plus, it’s really dangerous. This isn’t a DIY fix. When everything else related to increased usage is ruled out, you can do a simple test to see if you’re leaking voltage. Turn off and unplug every single appliance and electricity drain in the home, and check to see if your meter is still registering current. If so, you may have a leak and you’ll need to contact an electrician to deal with it further.

What Else?

But what if none of these apply in your situation? If you still cannot determine the cause of an excessive electric bill, BMU can check your meter by emailing or calling 859-985-4391.


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