Nothing is more upsetting than opening your energy bill and realizing it’s much more than you expected it to be. You’re wondering what’s eating up all the electricity. Or maybe, your electricity bills are the same every month, and the amount is always high.
Maybe you’ve tried turning the lights off when you’re not in rooms and worked to conserve electricity. Perhaps you’ve even called the provider to make sure your meter is working correctly. However, nothing seems to help. You’re still overpaying every single month.
If you find that your bill is consistently higher than expected or that it’s higher than the average bills in your neighborhood, something else might be going on. Here are the top five reasons why you may be paying too much for your energy bills.
We’ll start with the most straightforward problems to fix first, and then move into the more challenging issues.
#1: You’re Still Using Cheap Lightbulbs
Alright, so LED and energy-efficient lights are definitely more expensive than the cheap multi-pack lightbulbs. However, the cheap bulbs could be cranking up your costs.
According to research, energy-efficient lightbulbs are 75% more efficient than traditional bulbs. Moreover, one single bub will save you about $10 in electricity per year, and about $55 in its lifetime. While $10 a year might not seem like much, think about the total number of bulbs in your house. Now, multiply that number by ten, and the savings are a bit more substantial.
But there are even more cost savings hidden in switching lightbulbs. Traditional bulbs use 95-98% of their energy-producing heat. That heat makes your house hot, which in turn causes you to crank up that air conditioner. And, cooling your home can raise that electric bill.
#2: Your Windows and Doors Aren’t Properly Sealed
We all know that the weather can affect our electricity bills. The key to keeping extreme weather from affecting your electricity bills lies in a couple of things. Those things are insulation (which we’ll talk about in a bit) and sealing your home.
While you’ll have to turn the heater or AC on during the rougher seasons, you don’t want to have to run it continuously. To do that, you need to keep the outside air outside the home, and the inside air inside the house. The best way to do that is with proper sealing.
Now, home sealing starts in the construction process. They’ve developed techniques and materials with sealing in mind, like ICF Studs, home envelopes, and more. However, since you’re likely not looking to rebuild your home, start by resealing the things you can see.
Start by sealing and fixing the cracks and seams around your windows and doors. These are areas where air can easily slip in and outside of the home. Sealing these cracks can significantly reduce electricity costs.
#3: Your Dated Appliances are Using All the Energy
We won’t spend too long here, but your old appliances could be sucking up too much energy. If you try other fixes on this list, but still have no luck, this might be the culprit. Water heaters, HVAC machines, and old refrigerators are big offenders. Washer and dryers can be, too.
If your appliances are older, there are likely newer, energy-efficient models available on the market that can save you significant amounts.
#4: Your Insulation Needs Help
So, we already talked about insulation a little bit, but insulation is all about keeping the outside air outside, and the inside air inside. It saves you tons on heating and cooling costs. An improperly insulated house is one of the biggest reasons for outrageously high energy bills.
There are several different types of insulation and several different areas of the house that need proper insulation. From roof insulation to attic, walls, floors, and crawlspaces, there are a lot of areas to insulate.
The type of insulation for your home depends on your situation, but there’s spray foam, foam board, insulation batts, and more. Ultimately, insulation needs to be replaced every twenty to eighty years. So, insulation repair is definitely worth checking out if your house is older.
#5: Your Air Ducts Need Cleaning and Sealing
We know that HVAC systems consume a lot of electricity, but there’s no way around having an HVAC system. We need air conditioning and heating in our homes. However, there are several ways to ensure that you’re maximizing energy efficiency and saving as much money as possible.
We’ve already mentioned one way to maximize efficiency. Switch your system to a newer, energy-efficient model. If that’s not possible, it’s always smart to keep your current system serviced to make sure it’s all running correctly. Some maintenance inspections include coil inspections, thermostat check-ups, checking refrigerant levels, and more.
Additionally, it’s vital to have your ducts cleaned and sealed every three to five years or so. This is because dirt can build up, blockages can occur, and leaks can happen with regular use. Around twenty percent of your home’s heating and cooling costs depend on the health of your air ducts. So, be sure to have those checked out.
Lower Your Energy Bills
Don’t feel like you’re stuck paying too much for electricity. If you feel like you’re overpaying, see if these five common issues might be your problem.
Matt Lee is the owner of the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the home building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.