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Surprising Reasons Why Your Electricity Bill is High

By Rachel Duthie on September 10, 2020

Do you dread receiving your electricity bill every month? If so, you’re not alone. Oftentimes homeowners can feel at like they are at the mercy of the utility company, and even the savviest energy savers can sometimes be shocked by the number on their bill.

However, opening your utility bill doesn’t have to feel like a high-stakes guessing game. There are many not-so-obvious factors that can be causing your costs to rise. Through a careful examination of your appliances and how you use them, you can make the necessary changes to save energy and money on your electricity bill.

Dirty Appliances

Home appliances require more energy to work properly when they are not clean. Even the smallest jobs, like dusting your lightbulbs, can make a huge difference in your monthly electricity bill. Follow these tips to keeping your home appliances clean:

  • Make it a habit to replace your HVAC air filter every 3 months. Can’t seem to remember? Subscribe to NOPEC’s Maintenance Reminders to receive email alerts when it’s time to do household tasks.
  • Dirty refrigerator coils can hinder performance, causing the refrigerator to use more energy to stay cool. Vacuum your coils every six months to ensure it’s working at optimal efficiency.

Standby Power

Commonly known as “phantom loads”, standby power refers to the way appliances can continue to consume energy while they are switched off or in standby mode — and it can wreak havoc on your electricity bill. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that phantom loads cost U.S. households an average of $100 a year.

Reduce wasted energy by making sure devices are truly turned off when they are not in use. Common methods include:

  • Unplugging chargers once your cell phone, laptop, or tablet is fully charged.
  • Enable the “Power Save” or “Sleep Mode” feature on your computer if you’re going to be away from your workstation for more than a few minutes. (The screensaver does nothing to conserve energy.)
  • Use power strips to plug in related products, like your TV, DVD player, and gaming console, to turn appliances off all at once, saving you money and energy in the long run.

Higher Electricity Rates

While it’s normal for electricity rates to fluctuate some overtime, bills that doubled or tripled from last month’s costs warrant a closer look. When you receive a higher-than-usual electricity bill, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is this astronomically higher than last month’s bill? If so, you may want to look at your paper bill or online utility portal to see if your monthly rate changed. In Ohio, you’ll want to look at both your supplier and transmission costs. Learn the difference between the two here.
  • Did I sign up for a new energy supplier/utility within the past year? Many for-profit energy companies will offer you a low-intro rate (and maybe a free gift) for signing up, only to discretely raise your rates a few months later after you’re locked into a long-term contract. Check your paper bill or online utility portal to see if your rate has changed.

Power-Hungry Devices

Power-hungry appliances like dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, and refrigerators can be easy to use inefficiently if one is not careful. Follow these best practices for saving money on your larger home devices:

  • Make it a habit to only use a washer, dryer, and dishwasher when you have a full load.
  • Try to use cold water more often when washing your clothes and choose a low-heat option for drying.
  • Keep the refrigerator temperature between 37 and 40 degrees and reduce the number of times you open the door.

Like these tips? Subscribe to NOPEC’s Energy Connection newsletter to receive energy-efficiency tips and chances to win smart home technology.


Tags: NOPEC, Energy Tips, Electricity, Energy Efficiency
Categories: Energy Efficiency

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