Comparing Electric Bills
Electric bills vary from family to family and season to season.
Comparing an electric bill to your neighbor’s is like comparing your grocery or telephone bill. No two families are alike, particularly when it comes to electricity usage. Even if your homes and electrical appliances are identical, and you have the same number and ages of family members, your family’s lifestyle goes a long way in determining your electric bills.
If you want to compare your bill, compare it to your previous month’s bill or, better yet, to last year’s bill for the same period. Take into consideration the weather and changes in your family’s lifestyle.
Consider Living Habits
“I have not done anything different, so why has my electric bill gone up?”
Look for possible causes of higher electric use. Compare living habits to the dates of consumption shown on the bill.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Did we have guests during that period?
- Were our habits different?
- Was it extremely cold?
- Was it extremely hot or humid?
- Did we turn off the air conditioner or heat while we were out of town?
- Did we turn the water heater off during our absence?
- Was there any illness during that period?
- Are there any new additions to the family?
- Did we use extra lighting, electronic equipment or other electric equipment?
- Have we added any major appliances?
- What about condition of pumps and other outside equipment?
- Did we celebrate a holiday during this period?
- Air conditioning or heating. . . the #1 users of electricity.
You should check:
- Tightness of doors and windows
- Thermostat settings
- Leaks in duct work
- Filter condition (change monthly)
- Obstructions around exterior unit
Have a professional check:
- Strip heat and relays
- Freon levels
- Thermostat operation
- Compressor cycling
IMPORTANT NOTE TO CUSTOMERS WITH HEAT PUMPS:
If you are experiencing high usage, have a professional check the strip heat. In some cases, the heat strips can engage while the unit is in the cooling mode. This condition will cause higher than normal energy consumption and poor cooling performance. We recommend having your unit serviced prior to the heating season and again before the cooling season to prevent possible problems.
Electric water heater. . . the #2 user of electricity!
You can check:
- Any kind of leak, whether from a faucet, pipe or pressure relief valves. Most leaks occur under your home hidden from view. Check all crawl spaces. Leaks have been found within slab floors.
- Temperature setting (120 degrees is recommended).
- Insulation of pipes.
- Note: Heating elements can fail to cut off causing continuous operation. An element can be defective which causes the other element to operate more.
Try our on-line audit tool to answer more of your questions.