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Why Is My Energy Bill So High?

So many factors impact your monthly energy bill that it’s become a huge headache for homeowners to keep up with. While seasons change, appliances age, and costs rise, it almost seems like your energy bill is reaching heights you didn’t think were possible.

As a homeowner, you need to be armed with knowledge so you can understand why your energy bill is so high and how you can keep the costs at bay. You can implement various practices to ensure your home runs efficiently.

high energy bill

What Causes Energy Bills to Be High?

Our homes are becoming more dependent on electricity.

Imagine this scenario: You’re heating a meal in your microwave while the TV is on in the background. You throw a load of laundry in the washing machine while you’re preoccupied with eating and relaxing. You notice your laptop has a low battery, so you plug it in.

While these may seem like mundane, everyday tasks, they alone can consume a lot of energy, leading to high electricity bills. Now, imagine doing all of this with outdated appliances right after work. Those factors increase energy consumption even more!

If you want to know how to lower your energy bills, you need to optimize how your house runs. Take a look at these five reasons why your energy bills are so high:

1. Stand-By Appliances

plugged in phone on standbyDo you leave appliances plugged in even when you’re not using them? This practice, known as “vampire energy”, accounts for roughly 10 percent of your monthly electricity bill.

While it is difficult to truly figure out the cost of each individual appliance and device when plugged in, you can see changes by making a few adjustments. For example, your phone and laptop draw consistent amounts of energy, even if they are fully charged. While these devices are smaller than most in your home, imagine how much energy they draw when you leave them plugged in overnight.

Take the time to go through your home and figure out which appliances you can unplug when you’re not using them. If you can create a list of appliances that you can keep unplugged when not in use, you may begin to see a decrease in your energy bills.

Safety first! Some devices, such as your thermostat and carbon monoxide detector, should always be plugged in.

2. Outdated Appliances

If your electricity bill is high, it may be because your appliances are getting too old. Older appliances, like washing machines, HVAC systems, microwaves, and dishwashers, weren’t made as energy-conscious as today’s appliances.

Remember the situation above. If you use an outdated microwave and an outdated laundry machine simultaneously, your electricity bill could significantly increase.

Install Energy Star-certified appliances to free yourself from the burden of unreliable units. Energy Star appliances consume roughly 10 percent to 50 percent less energy than other devices. Installing energy-efficient appliances can help lower your energy bills while enhancing your comfort.

3. Improper Use of Thermostat

Your heating and cooling systems are some of the biggest energy consumers. Depending on the time of year, your AC or heater is probably running non-stop, which can cause your energy bill to increase.

To control the amount of energy your HVAC system uses, you need to optimize your thermostat. There are numerous ways you can do this, including:

  • Using a programmable or smart thermostat
  • Setting your thermostat to a schedule
  • Regularly servicing your thermostat
  • Avoiding big temperature changes

If your thermostat is operating within strict regulations, you can see an improvement in your energy bills without a change in comfort.

4. Inadequate Insulation

When was the last time you checked out your insulation? If you notice your home is warmer than it should be during the summer or cooler during the winter, your insulation may be deteriorating.

Poor insulation is a leading cause of high electric and energy bills. As air leaks, your HVAC system works twice as hard to make it the desired temperature. By having an experienced technician inspect your insulation layout, you may find spots that need improvement.

Installing new insulation will make your HVAC system run more efficiently, lowering your energy bills and consistently making your home more comfortable.

5. Using Energy During Peak Hours

kilowatts per hour energy charges cost money and creates a higher energy billRemember the situation above? Imagine doing those chores when your electricity is most expensive. “Peak hours” have become increasingly more popular for energy companies. By charging more money for kWh, energy companies collect your money when you’re most vulnerable.

There are two schedules for peak hours in Maryland.

  1. Summer: Peak hours during the summer are between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.
  2. Non-Summer: Peak hours during non-summer hours lie between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m., and again between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.

During peak hours, the cost of electricity is $0.33 per kWh. That means you spend more money if you watch TV, cook, and do laundry right after work.

While it’s hard to do some of these tasks while you’re away at work, there are things you can do not to be vulnerable to higher electricity bills.

  • Run laundry units and dishwashers overnight
  • Pre-cook your family dinners
  • Charge devices overnight
  • Use fewer lighting fixtures
  • Set a thermostat schedule

Need specific tips for your unique household? Talk to our HVAC and electrical experts at GAC Services. We can inspect and audit your home’s numerous appliances to determine how much electricity you are using and help you create a cost-effective solution.

We provide holistic repair, replacement, and maintenance services, saving you money in the long run. Contact us today to let us know how we can help. We are located in Gaithersburg and serve areas across Frederick County, Montgomery County, and Howard County, Maryland.

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At GAC, we understand how important a functioning HVAC system is for your home. This is why we offer flexible financing options to help you take care of your new HVAC purchase, so you can get back to taking care of what matters most to you.

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