Why Your Utility Bills are High - and How to Lower Them

From simple DIYs to factors outside of your control, here’s what you need to know about fighting your rising electricity bills. If you think your electricity bills keep getting more expensive, you’re not going crazy. According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average American household uses 901 kWh a month and pays an average price of 13.12 cents per kWh. That’s a jump from last year’s nationwide average price of 12.68 cents per kWh. It also means the average American faces an electricity bill of at least $118 every month, and over $1,400 every year.

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While it’s hard enough dealing with an expensive bill, it’s even more difficult to prepare for these unpredictable spikes in your budget. Unlike your mortgage or insurance payment, your electricity bills can be higher or lower from one month to the next.

So how can you finally lower your home’s electricity bills for good? You have to learn what’s to blame for your high energy bills in the first place.

 Even though many of the factors contributing to your electricity bill are within your control, there are others you simply can’t change. If you’re suffering from high electricity bills, it may be because:

1. Your Appliances and Light Bulbs Aren’t Energy Efficient

Since appliances account for one of the biggest chunks of your electricity bill, it’s crucial that you’re not running ol’ clunkers when you should be upgrading to energy-efficient models instead.

That Energy Star logo is more than a cute design on your washing machine or dishwasher. They may cost a few bucks more than traditional machines, but Energy Star appliances use less energy to get the job done just as well (or better!) than their other electricity-zapping counterparts. Appliances with the Energy Star logo let consumers know they’re making a conscious choice to use less electricity and lower their energy bills.

The same goes for all the light bulbs in your house. If you’re still using traditional incandescent bulbs, you’re way behind the times. LED lights use 80–90% less energy, provide better bright light, and last pretty much forever. LEDs used to be out of most homeowner’s budgets, but now they’re more affordable and only cost pennies more than other bulbs. You won’t find better lifetime savings for the small upfront expense.

Lower your electricity bill by: Upgrading all your appliances to Energy Star rated models. Switch out your old bulbs as they burn out for new LEDs, or replace your 5 most-used bulbs today.

2. Your Home Needs a Serious Insulation Overhaul

Another majority of your electric bill gets routed to heating and cooling your home. So if your home’s not properly insulated, all the money you spend on heating and cooling will be going right out your vintage windows and drafty attic space. That means you have to spend more time and money to work your unit harder just to get to the temperature you want.

Lower your electricity bill by: Replacing all the old windows and doors in your home with well-fitting, multi-pane choices. You can always install weatherstripping around your doors and windows too.

Check out this handy guide from Energy.gov to find out how much insulation your home needs depending on where you live.

3. Weather has been Extreme in Your Area

Since close to half of your home’s electricity costs stem from your heating and cooling expenses, extreme weather conditions can cause major damage to your wallet. Since you’re not in control of the weather, it’s best to program your thermostat to safeguard against spikes in your energy consumption like these. Raise your thermostat just one degree in the summer and you could save 3% on your electricity costs. Lower it one degree in the winter and that savings jumps to an average of 5%.

Lower your electricity bill by: Programming your thermostat to 78°F in the summer and 68°F in the winter. Bundle in layers or hang out in your swimsuit when temperatures become extreme before changing the thermostat.

4. Your Water Heater Needs Some Help

You can run hot water from your tap in under 30 seconds because your water heater is constantly warming the water in the tank. Even though you may not be using the hot water, your heater will always get close to the temperature you set. But you may not need your water temperature set so high. Lowering the temperature of your water heater saves money because you don’t need as much electricity to maintain that high heat. You can also give your water heater an insulation jacket and add insulation to the outside of the pipes to keep the temperature (and your savings) locked in.

Lower your electricity bill by: Lowering the temperature of your water heater to 120°F and adding extra insulation to maintain that temperature efficiently.

Check out this Energy Savings Project video from the US Department of Energy (DOE) to learn how to insulate your water heater tank on your own.

5. You’re Keeping Too Many Devices in Standby Mode and Summoning the Phantom Power Vampires

When you turn off your computer, DVR, PlayStation, and other devices, they usually go into standby mode — instead of completely powering off — when they’re plugged in. But your devices aren’t asleep during standby. They’re regularly performing updates, downloading content, and wasting energy while you’re not using them. Blame phantom power draws from devices still plugged in for over 10% of your power bill, according to the DOE.

Source Credit: https://1stle.com/10-reasons-your-electricity-bills-are-so-high/