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The Home Depot

Why is My Electricity Bill So High?

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Electrical > Why is My Electricity Bill So High?
Why is My Electricity Bill So High?

High electricity costs can be a rude awakening when you receive the bill in the mail and open it. Nobody wants to feel like their hard-earned money flies right out the window when it comes to electricity bills. Keep your money in your wallet or spend it on the things you really want by taming your electricity costs.


The Energy Star website provides consumers with helpful information to help diagnose why energy bills may be higher than they need to be. It’s possible to trace high bills to specific reasons, such as leaky windows, faulty heating or cooling equipment or a lack of insulation in your home.


Start by asking why your electricity bill is so high, and then follow up with real solutions that will make your energy bills more manageable.

  1. 1.Seasonal

    Don’t let your dollars fly out the window. Learn what you can do to start saving today

    Seasonal fluctuations in temperature can have a significant impact on electricity usage. In fact, just a few days of temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter can cause heating and cooling systems to operate at maximum capacity, which you will see in your bill. When the furnace or air conditioner need to run longer to keep indoor air temperatures cooler, this additional electricity causes a higher bill.


    Even high humidity levels without high temperatures during the summer can cause an elevated electric bill if you set your thermostat to keep your home more comfortable with lower humidity.


    You can reduce the amount of electricity you use during seasonal high and low points by moderating the temperature of your thermostat. Even a few degrees higher in the summer or lower in the winter can have a significant effect. You might also try setting the thermostat fan switch to “auto” in the summer to enable the air conditioner to cycle on and off as necessary to keep the temperature at a comfortably warmer temperature.

  2. 2.Leaving the Lights On

    Leaving lights on can impact your electric bill, depending on the type of light bulb you have in your lights. If you have incandescent lights, you should always turn these lights off whenever you are not using them because they can be inefficient. In fact, up to 90 percent of the energy given off from these lights is heat and only 10 percent is light. You will also notice that your rooms stay cooler when you leave these lights off.


    If you have CFL lighting, leave the lights on if you will return to the room within 15 minutes. If you will be out of the room for longer than 15 minutes, turn the lights off when you leave the room. CFL lights have a reduced life if you will be turning them on and off frequently. The less frequently you turn them on and off, the longer they will last. Halogen lights should be turned off whenever you are not using them to conserve energy.

  3. 3.Plugged in Appliances

    Known as “energy vampires,” some appliances should never be left plugged in for an extended period of time if you are not using them. These appliances will continue to draw low amounts of electricity when plugged in, even if the appliance is not turned on. To determine which appliances draw standby power when plugged in, look for specific features. Appliances that display a digital power light or a status light are appliances you should unplug. In addition, battery chargers, appliances with digital clocks and any appliance that has a soft-touch keypad also continue to draw power. Even televisions and DVD players in guest rooms or spare bedrooms should remain unplugged unless you are using them.

  4. 4.Cut Back on the AC

    Although no one wants to be uncomfortable during the summer, you can cut back on your air conditioning usage painlessly and save some money. Make sure you have your air conditioner serviced before you begin using it at the beginning of the summer to ensure it’s operating at peak efficiency.


    Turn up the thermostat to 78 degrees whenever you are home and set it to 85 degrees if you’re away from home. Use ceiling fans to help keep you more comfortable with a higher thermostat setting. Generally, you will save between one and three percent off your cooling bill for every degree you raise the temperature of your home over 72 degrees.

  5. 5.Ceiling and Floor Fans

    You might be surprised how effective fans can be for saving money on cooling your home. A ceiling fan can help you save up to 40 percent on cooling and about 10 percent on heating when you use it properly. Go ahead and raise the thermostat about five degrees during the summer and run your fans in a counter-clockwise direction. Don’t forget to turn the fans off when you leave the room, though.

    Fans aren’t just for the summer, either. Reverse the blade direction and run ceiling fans in the winter as well to force warm air down from the ceiling to where you will feel it.

  6. 6.Windows

    Windows can be a significant source of lost heat or cooling in a home. You can use them more efficiency, however. Remember to open curtains and blinds to allow natural light into the room during the winter. During the summer when sun is shining strong, keep blinds and curtains closed to help keep the room cooler.

  7. 7.Start Good Habits

    With an effort to stay vigilant and aware of where your electricity, heating and cooling is going, you can start developing good habits. Your positive habits can have a positive effect on your electric bills, too. Even small changes like unplugging appliances and other efforts can have a noticeable effect on your home energy consumption.


    Once you start seeing progress in your energy savings, it can be incredibly motivating. You might even start competing with yourself to see how many positive changes you can institute to save money on your electricity usage.

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