You turn off the lights when you leave a room, shut your air conditioner off if you’re not home, and try to conserve water. So why are your utility bills so high? Even if you use energy responsibly, these common culprits of high utility bills can still drain your bank account. Here are five hidden causes of expensive power bills and what you can do to stop them.
Major Culprits of High Utility Bills
Electronics That Are Always Plugged In
Do you leave your electronics and kitchen gadgets plugged in all the time? This seemingly harmless habit can add $100 or more to your electricity bill every year. Even if your toaster or blender isn’t on, it will still draw a small amount of power from the grid. So make sure you unplug electronics like gaming consoles, TVs, and small kitchen appliances when you’re done using them.
Older appliances that are reaching the end of their lifespan consume more energy, which could cause your power bill to rise. New Energy Star appliances use up to 50% less energy than older models. So replacing your dishwasher or stove could save you a nice chunk of change.
If you can’t afford to replace outdated appliances, it may be worth having an appliance technician inspect them. They can identify problems like broken seals on your refrigerator door that are causing extra, unnecessary power use. Fixing these issues can help reduce your power bill and hold you over until you can get new appliances.
Leaky Toilets or Faucets
If your water bill is still increasing despite taking shorter showers and doing fewer loads of laundry, you may have a leak. Leaky toilets and faucets can waste hundreds of gallons of water if they aren’t fixed. You can usually hear a drippy faucet or a toilet that runs continuously, but not always. So it’s important to carefully inspect your plumbing on a regular basis to ensure everything is working properly.
Using Appliances During Peak Times
Many power companies charge you more if you use your appliances during peak times when everyone else is using them too. Most people cook and clean before and after work. So if you do your chores in the morning or early evening, that may explain why your energy bill is high.
Instead of following the same schedule as everyone else, try to do your chores in the middle of the day or later at night. You can use the delayed start feature on your dishwasher, washing machine, and clothes dryer to set the time you want the cycle to start and save money.
The cost of heating and cooling your home usually makes up about half of your power bill. If you’re already doing all the cost-cutting tricks like setting the heat lower when you’re gone, there may not be much room to cut back your power usage. So what can you do if your energy bill is still high?
One of the most common culprits of high utility bills you may not have considered is poor insulation. If your home has lots of air leaks, it could cause you to use extra electricity even if you’re trying to watch your power usage.
Your HVAC system has to work harder to heat and cool your home if air is allowed to escape due to poor caulking and insulation. So make sure check your windows and doors for drafts and feel your walls and ceilings at night. If they feel cold or damp to the touch, then you may need to upgrade your home’s insulation.
Even if you’re watching your power usage and trying to conserve, your bills may still be high if you have old appliances or poor insulation. Although it costs some money upfront to fix these issues, the savings are usually worth it.
What are some things you’ve done to lower your monthly power bill? Let us know in the comments section below.