The Shock of High Electric Use
At some point, most of us have experienced the unpleasant surprise of opening a larger-than-expected electricity bill. Did the unanticipated expense send you scrambling to understand why your bill was so high? Did you wonder how you might be able to avoid such surprises in the future? This blog is for you. Here’s a look at six things the residential electricity experts at GVEC say often contribute to high energy bills.
1. Weather Matters on Your Electricity Bill
Weather matters. You’ll find this simple refrain spread across all GVEC’s social media, on our blog, and in The GVEC Review each month. The hotter or colder the weather outside, the harder your HVAC system must work to maintain the temperature you set the thermostat to.
If it’s 103 degrees on a hot August day, for instance, and you set the thermostat to 70, that’s a 33-degree differential! Your AC will likely run nonstop to keep up as long as the difference remains so high. That’s why GVEC recommends a thermostat setting of 78 degrees during the summer. At this setting, the differential on that 103-degree day would be 25 degrees—still not small, but certainly more manageable.
The situation is similar in winter but reverse—the colder it is outside and the higher you set the thermostat, the more your heater must run to keep up. That’s why we recommend setting your thermostat to 68 degrees during winter.
One other important point to keep in mind: Each degree you set the thermostat up in summer or down in winter translates into a savings of four percent on your cooling or heating bill—four percent!
2. Air Leaks Can Cause Increased Home Electricity Use
Leaky doors and windows can be a significant source of increased energy bills. When a seal is broken, damaged or improperly installed, your house loses temperature-controlled air to the outside. Your heating and cooling system must then work harder to make up for the loss, translating into higher electricity consumption and increased energy bills. Failing to fix even a small leak can generate an expense on your bill similar to leaving a window open in your home year-round.
3. Outdated Appliances Can Cause Increased Home Electricity Use
Appliances older than 15 years are less energy efficient than their contemporary counterparts, meaning they consume more energy to do the same amount of work. While you don’t necessarily need to toss older appliances, you should regularly replace small components such as filters, condensers, and coils.
Additionally, refrigerators and freezers with leaky or damaged seals compile any age-related efficiency issues, making these appliances even more expensive to operate. We recommend checking them for leaks and immediately fixing any problems. It’s also a good idea to avoid storing refrigerators and freezers—especially older ones—in places without air conditioning. Doing so only compounds inefficiencies, contributing to higher power costs.
4. Leaky or Improperly Installed Attic Ductwork Can Waste Energy, Too
If cooled or heated air from your AC/heating system is leaking into your attic, it could increase your electric bill by as much as 40 percent.
5. Too Little or Inefficient Attic Insulation
Like most other products, insulation becomes less effective over time. Although under ideal conditions, insulation can last for decades, moisture, mold, pest infestations, puncturing, dirt and dust, and settling over time can all cause loss of efficiency. Some homes simply don’t have enough insulation installed or need an upgrade in insulation standard. Although insulation problems are easily resolved, they’re yet another significant contributor to higher electricity usage.
6. A Dirty AC Filter Can Cause Increased Home Electricity Use
The air filter is one of your HVAC system’s most critical components and must be regularly changed. If you don’t change the filter regularly enough, it will become clogged, leading to restricted airflow. This lowers system efficiency, causing higher electricity usage. In the long run, a dirty filter will even damage the system.
GVEC’s Free Home Energy Audit for Members
If you believe your monthly electric bills are higher than they should be, GVEC Home offers a free energy audit for members. Call us at 888.590.7773, and a GVEC energy solutions specialist will get the process started with you, discussing your home energy usage and scheduling an appointment to do an in-home inspection. This thorough inspection is designed to identify all your home’s trouble spots and provide you with solutions for fixing or improving them.
Electrician Services in the Guadalupe Valley from a Neighbor You Trust
GVEC Home has serviced homes in the Guadalupe Valley since 1968, while our Cooperative has been delivering electricity here since 1939. Electricity is in our blood, and that’s a big part of why GVEC Home launched GVEC Electrician services in 2017. Plus, our members had asked for these services for many years, and we saw that the time was right to fill this longstanding need in our community.
We proudly serve the Guadalupe Valley and surrounding areas. Whether for home or business, you don’t need to be a GVEC member to hire us for electrical work. Our electricians can upgrade or repair electrical panels, perform general electrical upgrades and install all types of interior and exterior lighting. Our electricians are also experts in rewiring, electrical inspections, and solar panel installation and maintenance. Have a job in mind but aren’t sure if we’ll do it? Call GVEC Electrician services today at us today at 888.590.7773, and let’s talk about it!