Electricity is a necessary part of virtually every family's daily life. However, the ways in which you manage your usage and your systems can make a big dent in your monthly bill. An unusually-high electric bill can be due to a number of causes. While it's possible that there is a malfunction in your meter, it's more likely to be caused by one of these factors.
- Overhead lighting. If you're relying on an overhead light to illuminate the entire room, you're likely wasting energy. A better plan is to use several smaller localized lamps, so that you can just illuminate the area of the room you're using.
- Inefficient use of appliances. Are you one of those people who run the dishwasher or the washing machine with just a few items inside? If so, you're using the same amount of electricity to clean those few items as you would to wash an entire load.
- Aging mechanical systems. Replacing your water tank with a tankless water heater that heats water on demand rather than keeping an entire tank of water at the ready can help to reduce your electrical bill by an average of $100, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. In addition, investing in a newer, more energy-efficient heating system can help reduce your electricity usage by up to 40 percent.
Three tips for lowering your electric bill
- Make sure your appliances and devices are completely turned off. Modern electronics and even things like your coffeemaker have snooze features that allow them to turn on in an instant. However, you pay for that convenience with additional electricity usage. A better plan is to completely unplug the item or plug it into a power strip that can be turned off when you are finished using the device.
- Upgrade your appliances. It's not just your older heating system that uses additional electricity. If your refrigerator, stove or dishwasher is older than 10 years, it is likely making your electric bill higher than necessary.
- Unplug your chargers. If you have a houseful of chargers plugged in for your cell phones and other electronic devices, even when they aren't in use, you're using electricity 24/7 to power these chargers. It's better to just plug them in when you need them.
You don't have to simply resign yourself to a steadily-increasing electric bill. Keep your electric bill in check by upgrading your appliances and mechanical systems, illuminating just the portion of the room you're using and making sure your electronic devices and chargers are unplugged when not in use.