Why Is My Electric Bill So High?
Your monthly electric bill should be relatively constant. Sudden, dramatic increases are unusual but can make it hard to manage other household expenses. A high electric bill often points to an air conditioner, water heater, or appliance problem, if not a wiring or other electrical issue. Increased usage of appliances, electronics, and devices can also raise your bill. With so many high-power devices in modern households, an increase in monthly expenses is common and can strain your budget.
If you’re asking, “Why is my electric bill so high?” here’s a look at possible reasons, how you can bring costs down, and when you should call Express Electrical Services.
Reasons Why Your Electricity Bill Is So High
You may receive a high electric bill for many reasons. Not every cause means your household is at risk, but never ignore the issue. If your electric bill is suddenly higher than last month or the same time last year, possible reasons include:
An Increase In Energy Consumption
Most households are using more computers, laptops, cell phones, tablets, gaming systems, and other electronics. Portable devices draw power during charging and even when fully charged. Keeping lights on longer or using the air conditioner more frequently also drains more power.
Older refrigerators, dishwashers, washers/dryers, and other appliances are less efficient than when they were new. An aging appliance or one in need of repair can increase energy consumption and your electric bill.
If you have damaged wiring, it may leak electricity or cause appliances to overheat and use more power. Wiring that’s frayed, old, or chewed by animals can prevent electricity from reaching devices, but you’re still paying for the excess electricity it’s losing.
Air Leaks and Poor Insulation
Worn-out weatherstripping and caulking around windows and doors can cause air to leak, while poor insulation can also impact temperature control, forcing your HVAC system to work harder and use more electricity.
Peak Season Rates/Time-of-Use Billing
The afternoon into the evening hours, when people return home from work, are when the most electricity is used, so rates are typically higher. You may see a high electric bill if using a lot of lights and appliances during that time of day.
How to Reduce Your Electric Bill
The cost of electricity is determined by the company you pay or purchase from. You have little control over the amount. But the electric bill is priced by how much electricity you use at home. Therefore, you can save and stop asking, “Why is my electric bill so high?”, by:
Turning Off Devices When Not In Use
Lamps, light fixtures, and ceiling fans should be turned off when you’re not in a room. So-called vampire appliances and idle power usage can account for 10% of electricity usage, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Switching to Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs
Incandescent and compact fluorescent bulbs generate a lot of heat and use more energy than LED bulbs. Switch to LED lights to save electricity; they use about a quarter of the energy and last longer.
Upgrading to Energy Star Certified Appliances
An Energy Star certified appliance can use as much as 50% less energy than other appliances. Efficiency standards have changed in recent years, so replacing a 10-year-old appliance can result in long-term savings, especially if you have a high electric bill.
Staying On Top of HVAC Maintenance
Clogged filters, dirty coils, ductwork leaks, and worn-out components can force your AC and heating system to work harder. The impact may first be seen on your electric bill. Routine maintenance not only helps improve comfort. It can also save on monthly energy costs.
Improving Insulation/Weatherizing Your Home
Installing, replacing, or improving insulation in walls, basements, and attics can dramatically improve efficiency. Sealing door and window frames can too. Don’t set your HVAC too high or too low; it won’t help reach the desired temperature faster; also, use ceiling fans and programmable thermostats.
When to Call an Electrician
You may have a high electric bill for a lot of reasons. Oftentimes, simple updates or changes in habits can help you save. But electrical issues can drive up your bill. If the charges consistently go up or spike suddenly, and/or you notice the following issues, contact us for help ASAP:
- Frequent Power Surges or Outages In Your Home
- Circuit Breakers Trip Often and Can’t Be Reset
- Lights Persistently Flicker or Dim
- You Get Shocks When Using Plugs, Outlets, or Appliances
- A Fixture, Appliance, or Breaker Sparks
- An Outlet or Switch Plate Feels Hot
- You’re Using a Lot of Extension Cords
- Buzzing from a Light, Electronic Device, or From Inside Walls
Questions About Your Electricity Bill
What Runs Up the Electric Bill the Most?
Air conditioning and heating account for about about 46% of the electricity used in your home. Water heating is roughly 14%, and appliance usage accounts for 13%. Lighting uses about 9% of the electricity consumed in your home.
Is Electricity Cheaper at Certain Times?
Electric companies often charge lower rates during late-night hours or early in the morning. If your electric bill is high, reschedule running your heaviest loads to these times. You can save on your bill by taking advantage of off-peak hours.
Will Unplugging Appliances Save on My Electric Bill?
Consider unplugging televisions, computers, phone chargers, and large appliances like ovens and microwaves. Standby power draws electricity even when the device is turned off. The power drain is often minute but adds up over time.
Have a High Electric Bill? Contact Express Electrical Services
If you’re asking, “Why is my electric bill so high?” there’s likely a bigger reason than rate hikes. Energy consumption may have increased, or you may have an appliance problem, air leak, or faulty wiring. Insulating and weatherizing your home may help lower costs, and conserving electricity should help you save. If not, then it’s time to call an electrician.
Express Electrical Services provides high-quality electrical repair and replacements in Southern California, including Los Angeles, Santa Ana, and Riverside. Our emergency technicians can be at your home in 60 to 90 minutes. If you have a high electricity bill or there are signs of other electrical issues, call us 24/7 at (855) 976-9049 for prompt service.