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My Electricity Bill is High — Is Something Wrong?

Month to month, your electric bill probably looks about the same, so when you see a high electricity bill, it can be cause for alarm. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to keep more money in your pocket in the months to come.

My Electricity Bill Is High- Why?

Check out these issues to get to the bottom of why your electricity bill is high.

Potential Issues

  • air is humid
  • high electricity bills

An air conditioning system has an average lifespan of ten to fifteen years, with proper maintenance and care. As AC systems age, their parts and components are getting older as well, and as a result, don't work as well as they did in their prime. The system will therefore gradually lose its ability to remove excess humidity from your home, and will need to run more frequently and harder to keep a stable temperature in your home, spiking utility bills and cooling inefficiencies.

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  • no power in some rooms
  • high electricity bills

Running the appliances in your home at all hours of the day will put a strain on your electrical/HVAC systems and send your utility bills through the roof. More specifically, there are certain times of the year and of the day where your electricity usage is already high, and therefore running your appliances at the same time will put even more pressure on your system—and your wallet. Think of it like this: peak demand is when electricity use is high and electricity supply is constrained. For example, when the weather is hotter or colder, HVAC system demand is high. Avoiding appliance use during these times will help keep costs down.

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  • pockets of cold air
  • high electricity bills
  • whistling noise from the ductwork

A duct system consists of rectangular ductwork and a series of tubes in the walls, floors, and ceilings that run through your home. Sealing and insulating ductwork prevents leaks and keeps the air warm or cool (depending on season) while it makes the journey to your vents. This means your HVAC system doesn't have to work overtime to keep up with the thermostat, which is better for the planet and your wallet. Since air follows the path of least resistance, it's also important to make sure no ducts are squeezed or damaged. Any of these situations can cause high energy bills and an uncomfortable home! A forced air HVAC system relies on a properly sized, sealed and insulated ductwork installation. The air in the ductwork must either heat or cool the home by delivering air with temperature ranges from 50 degrees to 130 degrees. In order for the system to be efficient, the air within the ductwork must be as close to the same temperature when it leaves the air handler or furnace, as it is when it blows into the conditioned space from the supply registers. Any temperature losses along the way result in less comfort, longer system run times and higher energy consumption.

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  • high electricity bills
  • pockets of cold air

Registers are the metal vent coverings that you can open or close to change the airflow in each room. You may want to close a register now and again to block a particularly drafty spot, but if too many registers are closed or partially closed, it can have some serious impacts on the airflow in your home. When the air distribution in your home is disrupted, some rooms will feel warmer or colder than other areas. The air can also back up into your ductwork, which increases pressure and can lead to duct leaks. This loss in efficiency can cause utility bills to spike. In the most extreme cases, blocked airflow will cause your furnace to overheat and possibly shut down. Always make sure to keep your registers unblocked, and if you do close one, make sure there are others open to still allow airflow into the room.

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  • furnace keeps turning on and off
  • air smells strange
  • high electricity bills
  • home is unusually dirty
  • indoor allergens
  • indoor air is polluted

Sometimes, all your furnace needs is a quick filter change. When your heat is on, dust and other particles in your home's air get pulled in through the ducts and carried to the furnace. Just before they reach the furnace, a filter catches the larger particles like hair and dirt, trapping them and allowing cleaner air to move through. Debris and buildup on the filter can reduce the airflow through your system, which reduces its efficiency and puts strain on the system. Changing your furnace filter regularly will help prolong the life of your furnace. Having your duct system cleaned will allow for a healthy home environment.

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  • high electricity bills
  • pockets of cold air

Your home's exterior shell and insulation is designed to keep out the cold during the winter and keep heat and humidity out during the summer. You may have gaps in areas where plumbing pipes and electric lines pass through the exterior walls and attic. Unconditioned air will find its way in through these small crevices. This can impact your comfort in the home and your energy bills.

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  • high electricity bills
  • whistling noise from the ductwork
  • pockets of cold air
  • indoor allergens

A well-designed AC system should provide a consistent temperature between rooms. Each room in your home has specific airflow needs that are calculated in CFM (cubic feet per minute). If your air ducts are leaking, each room is not getting the proper CFM of airflow. Cool air will escape through the leak, which means that your AC will need to run longer, raising energy bills to meet the demands of each room.

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  • water is too hot
  • high electricity bills

When you turn on the hot tap, your water heater pulls cold water into the tank from the main lines. This cold water blends with the pre-heated water, which lowers the overall temperature. The thermostats inside the tank are constantly measuring the temperature, and when they sense that it drops below the setpoint, they turn on the heating elements until the set temperature is reached. But if the thermostat doesn't tell the heating element to turn off, the heating element will continue heating the water until it overheats. Water heaters have safety devices to stop it from causing any serious damage, but your water could still come out of the taps too hot and give you a shock on your monthly bill.

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