It’s no secret that this time of the year, energy bills are high. This is particularly true if you have an electric furnace or some other type of electric heating system. But there is the standard “higher bill” during this time of the year, and there are electrical bills that are far beyond the scope of what you’d imagine it should be.
Your HVAC systems do account for over half of all your energy costs, but this isn’t the only contributor to high electric bills. And if your bills are much higher than last year, or in comparison to your neighbors, then something is definitely up. We first urge you to have your HVAC systems inspected in case a neglected repair need or some system inefficiency is what’s causing this spike. In the absence of an heater problem though, we urge you to consider the following possibilities:
Your Holiday Light Usage Increased
You might be surprised by how much your holiday light usage can contribute to your electrical bill. Did you do more this year than you have years prior? Your outdoor lights, particularly if they’re not LED, use up a lot of energy. In fact we’ll also note here that if you haven’t had your electrical panel upgraded in the past couple decades, it’s probably time to do so, so that you can handle those same holiday lights next year too without blowing a fuse.
You Don’t Have the Right Insulation
You’ll notice that many energy saving tips come back to how you’re using your HVAC systems—whether you are doing so efficiently or not. The fact is, if your insulation is degrading, then no you are not using your heating system or air conditioner as efficiently as you can be. Your heat may be leaking through a drafty attic or crawlspace, therefore causing you to unconsciously raise the temperature far higher than you did last year—meaning your heater runs longer and costs more.
Your Ductwork Is Damaged
This is a significant energy waster. In fact, as much as 30% of your conditioned air may be lost due to breached ductwork. This is another instance where you may keep turning up your thermostat and cause your heater to run longer and harder, therefore expending more energy than necessary and running up your bill.
You Are Using an Outdated Thermostat
The old manual slider thermostat is the worst one you can be using. The temperature is often inaccurate, and even a couple degrees could make the difference in energy savings. Upgrading to even the most basic digital thermostat can make a huge difference. We encourage you to take this a step further and invest in a programmable thermostat—even better, a smart/WiFi thermostat that “learns” from your heating and cooling preferences, and adjusts itself accordingly to bring you the best in effectiveness and efficiency.