Why Is My Utility Bill So High?
You’re probably wondering why your utility bills skyrocket in the summer, and most homeowners ask the same question. During the summer, we keep our AC systems running to cool our homes, but does it really cost so much to stay comfortable?
While the AC is the major cause of high summer energy bills, it is not the only reason. The weather gets hotter, we tend to stay indoors more often, so we run the cooling system more while also using our regular home appliances more often. Students also come home from school during the summer, using the AC, leaving the lights on, doing more laundry, and using electronic devices.
These activities, coupled with continuous AC use, have a significant impact on the average summer utility bills. Utility companies, including the electric company in Ohio, also tend to increase electricity prices during the summer.
The price hikes are due to the addition of costly generation sources to meet the increased demand for electricity. According to the EIA, summer electricity prices are normally the highest for commercial and residential customers because it costs more to distribute power to these users.
Appliances That Cost the Most on Your Utility Bill
These are some of the most expensive appliances to run in your home, accounting for a large percentage of your utility bills:
Using about 5,000 watts, the air conditioning system is perhaps the leading contributor to your utility bills. According to General Electric (GE), running an average AC every month costs about $60.
The cost varies depending on your location, but you can expect to pay about $700 a year in electrical costs alone for running an AC in a hot climate.
Another leading energy consumer at home is lighting. It accounts for about 12% of your energy bills. You might want to invest in compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. These bulbs are more energy-efficient and last up to ten times longer than conventional incandescent light bulbs.
Water heating accounts for about 14% of your home energy use. On average, a water heater runs about three hours a day and consumes 4500 watts. The energy usage adds up to 13.5 kWh a day or 405 kWh a month.
Kitchen appliances such as the refrigerator, dishwasher, and electric oven also have a significant contribution to your electricity bill.
While an individual appliance isn’t expensive to run, cumulative costs skyrocket. The kitchen quickly becomes one of the most expensive areas in the home.
Electronics account for about 4% of your home’s energy use. Electronic entertainment, including TV, video game consoles, and set-top boxes, uses a significant portion of energy. It is also notorious for using standby power even when it is not running—referred to as an “energy vampire” appliance.
Energy Saving Tips That Will Also Help You Save Money
If you want to cut your utility bills, especially in the summer, there are a few simple steps you can take without compromising on comfort:
Optimize thermostat setting
The Department of Energy says that you can save up to 10% in utility bills a year if you set your thermostat at 78 degrees during the summer.
You might want to install a programmable thermostat, which allows you to program a warmer setting while you’re away. You can then automatically start cooling your house when you’re about to come home.
Install LED lighting
Did you know that incandescent light bulbs turn about 90% of the energy they consume into heat?
You should replace your incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs. It uses about 75% less energy and can last up to 50 times longer compared to conventional bulbs. You’ll save money on energy bills and bulb replacement costs.
Check your AC system
Your AC unit requires regular maintenance to ensure efficient functioning. Slacking on maintenance leads to poor performance and increased energy use. Check the coils, evaporative, heat pump, and other essential components regularly to ensure these parts are in good working condition.
Air-dry the dishes
Dishwashers generate too much heat when in drying in mode. They also produce humidity as steam.
In the summer, deactivate your dishwasher’s drying function and allow the dishes to air-dry. You’ll lower your dishwasher’s energy consumption and ensure your kitchen stays cool on hot days.
Keep things dust-free
Appliances use more energy when covered in dust. Be sure to clean everything regularly, including light bulbs, electronics, ceiling fan blades, and air vents.
The tips above will ensure that you have a cool, calm season when you learn where to save on traditionally high energy costs in summer.