While energy is a vital utility in any home, the cost has been going up for the last few years. Many homeowners are wondering how they can tame energy costs so they can get more value for their money.
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Reasons Why You Might Have a High Energy Bill
Chances are your energy bills have been going up, but you can’t figure out why. Here are the main reasons you’re paying more for energy than your neighbors.
- Price increase: From time to time, energy providers like Pepco adjust their energy rates upwards for inflation. Inflation increases result in higher monthly consumer bills.
- Wrong meter readings: The likelihood of incorrect meter reading is high if you live in a crowded apartment, where technicians read many meters for which they issue different bills.
- Standby appliances: When you leave your appliances on standby, they can negatively affect your energy bills.
- Higher prices during peak hours: Your energy provider may charge different rates at different times of the day. Some charge higher rates during weekdays than weekends and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. To enjoy lower electricity rates, shift some chores like laundry duty to weekends and off-peak hours (10 p.m. to 10 a.m.).
- High-energy appliances: Appliances like heaters, air-conditioners, fridges, microwaves, washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers consume more energy. As a result, you will incur a slightly higher energy cost than households that don’t use them.
- Old appliances: Not all old is gold. Most old appliances are energy consumers. Consider investing in newer and energy-efficient models to lower your electricity bills.
Understanding Your Energy Usage and What Appliances Use the Most Energy
Knowing how much energy you use in the home is the key to budgeting and keeping your expenses under control. So, take the time to review your energy costs and the items on your monthly bills.
Typical bills are broken down and explained as follows:
- Electricity cost: This is the amount of electricity that your home uses in a month. You can manage this cost by cutting down on energy usage and switching to a supplier with a fixed-rate plan. A fixed rate means you’ll avoid seasonal rate fluctuations.
- Utility delivery charge: This cost covers your maintenance and upkeep, ensuring uninterrupted energy in your household or business premises.
- Capacity cost: Commercial customers incur this cost to ensure that the energy supplier always meets their energy demand. To manage this cost, run your appliances during off-peak hours and avoid using high-energy appliances.
- Calculating your kWh: Multiply the rate you pay per kWh by how many kilowatt-hours your home uses in a month. For precise energy consumption, figure how much electricity each appliance in your household uses.
Here is the formula:
- Divide the appliance watts by 1000 (to get Kw)
- Multiply the kW by the usage time (to get kWh)
- Multiply kWh by 30 (To get monthly kWh average)
Here are the top appliances that use the most energy:
- Air Conditioner
- Water Heater
- Washer and Dryer
- Electric Oven
You can save up to $500-plus annually if you get smart with how you use electricity. For a start, embrace the following tips:
- Avoid unnecessary lights: Switching on your security lights too early and switching them off too late might contribute to higher energy bills. So be time conscious.
- Switch to LED: LED bulbs are more energy-efficient than fluorescent and incandescent lights.
- Use natural light: When designing your house, factor in each window’s position and size to ensure that maximum natural light enters the house during the day.
- Use task lighting: Instead of using ceiling lights, use table lamps, track lighting, and even under-counter lights.
- Use the microwave/toaster oven: A microwave or toaster oven is more energy efficient than a full-size oven, yet they can do the same task.
- Take shorter showers: Children often spend too much time in the shower. Train them to take short and quick showers and not to run hot water after a bath.
- Turn the water off when not in use: Don’t let the water run while you shave or soap your hands or brush your teeth.
- Turn off the air conditioner: Consider turning off your air conditioner while you are away. You will be amazed by how much electricity you save in a month.
- Repair all leaking faucets: Whether the leaking faucet is hot or cold water, it will cost you in the long run. Repair it as soon as possible.
- Be efficient with refrigeration: The temperatures should not be too high. The fridge should be at 2-to-3 degrees Celsius and the freezer at minus 18-degrees Celsius.
- Replace the desktop computer with a laptop: Savings vary, but every little bit helps.
- Unplug/donate/recycle old unused electronics: Old items on standby power consume energy, and this reflects on your monthly bills. So, unplug, donate, or recycle them.
- Control your thermostat: Lowering it by a few degrees could save you a lot.
- Install windows strategically: This ensures satisfactory airflow and prevents a lot of heat during the afternoons in hot months.
Many things can cause your energy bills to go up, including old appliances, standby appliances, wrong meter readings, and rate increase. Understanding what goes into your monthly bill can help you budget. By embracing the energy-saving tips above, you can save up to five hundred bucks in a year.