You may have noticed your electric bill is higher than usual this winter. If you have a high electric bill, the reasons vary. Electricity customers often worry that something may be wrong. While that’s entirely possible, greater electricity use in winter tends to raise electric bills. Heaters, hot showers, and other means to stay warm use more electricity.

man contemplating electricity bill

The effect is amplified during cold spells because of the increased demand. Companies that use the transmission grid must pay for the usage. In turn, retailers that sell electricity to customers must pass on these cost hikes. The cost of generating electricity, which rises with increases in demand, is also factored into the price.

Extreme weather can affect electricity prices, especially when the temperature changes dramatically over a short period of time, or there’s a winter storm. Unusual temperature spikes, which become more likely from mid-March on, often lead people to change their thermostats. To keep costs down, try to keep the indoor temperature consistent, rather than match every shift in the weather.

Higher electric bills might sometimes mean you need electrical repairs. However, simple reasons may include:

  • Appliances are drawing power: Vampire appliances, specifically electronic devices that are always plugged in, can draw energy even if you’re not using them. These include computers, tablets, televisions, refrigerators, microwave ovens, and cell phone chargers.
  • Impractical use of lighting: Ceiling lights waste electricity. A smaller lamp uses less power and provides direct light when and where you need it. Turn it off when you leave the room. If you’re still using incandescent light bulbs, you’re wasting too much power. Switch to LED bulbs that use 90% less energy and last much, much longer.
  • Outdated appliances: Old television sets, washing machines, refrigerators, and other appliances are not as energy efficient as today’s are. Replace them, especially if they’re rarely used or not working properly. Older appliances aren’t built to modern standards; they also work less efficiently and drain more power.
  • Appliances not filled to capacity: You’ll run your washing machine and dishwasher less frequently if you only use them with a full load. By running them with only a partial load, they’re less efficient and more cycles will be required, using up a lot of energy, as these devices are already known to do.
  • Your devices are charging for too long: It shouldn’t take more than two or three hours to charge your cell phone. By leaving it plugged in overnight, you are wasting energy. The effect adds to circumstances during the winter that may have already increased your electric bill.
  • Nothing is really “off”: Think you’ve shut off your television or washing machine? If it’s still plugged into the wall, pressing a button or flipping a switch won’t stop it from draining power. Unplug appliances and devices or connect them to protected power strips, so flipping one switch will turn multiple devices off. This is particularly beneficial if you’re going to be away for a while.

Call a Los Angeles Electrician if Something Seems Awry

Sometimes, excess power drain (and subsequently high electric bills) can be a sign of trouble, such as faulty wiring or a malfunctioning electrical panel. Express Electrical Services is the best electrician serving Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside County and the rest of Southern California. Emergency and same-day services are always available. If you believe something is wrong, contact us 24/7 and a technician will be at your home to troubleshoot the issue, make repairs, and ensure your safety and peace of mind.