So you just received your latest electric bill and it’s twice as high as it normally is. This article will help you understand why and what to do about why is my electric bill so high all of a sudden.
The number one reason to make you ask why is my electric bill so high all of a sudden is the meter being misread. This is a common occurrence when the meter reader can not gain access to the meter for whatever reason and they just estimate is off previous usage.
Top 10 Reasons Why Is My Electric Bill So High All Of A Sudden
- Estimated Meter Reading
- Meter Malfunction
- Power Leaking To Ground Or Neutral
- Heating Issue
- Increased Usage
- Faulty Appliance
- Drafty Areas
- Hot Water Tank Problems
- Someone Steeling Power
- Forget To Shut Something Off
An Estimated Meter Reading Causing Why Is My Electric Bill So High All Of A Sudden
So you just received a power bill and it is higher than normal. Chances are the meter reading was estimated by the utility. They do this when they can not gain access to read the meter.
In bad weather areas this is common. There could be snow blocking the driveway or walkway to the meter. A dog could be present on the property and the meter reader just doesn’t want to take the chance of getting bit.
Something blocking the meter from access. There could be something in front of the meter blocking the meter reader from seeing it.
In any of these cases the utility will just estimate the meter reading and yes it’s usually higher than normal. You can fix this issue by calling them and giving them the reading over the phone. They can instruct you on how to read it. Don’t try anything sneaky because they will get you next time around if you give them a false reading.
Power Meter Malfunction
This is common, mechanical parts do break from time to time. If you feel your power meter isn’t reading correctly then just give them a call. They will come out and change the meter and send it away for testing.
The utility will follow up with you to let you know the test results. If it tested fine then you may want to look to see where your extra usage is coming from.
Sometimes you will find out your old meter was reading wrong and wasn’t charging you enough. Now the new meter is charging you more. We have seen this in many cases.
Power Leaking To Ground Or Neutral
So to understand this problem you will need to contact your local electrician to help. However the first place I would start before calling an electrician is too shut you main power switch or breaker off.
Record the meter reading at the time of shut off. Come back to it in a couple of hours and check to see if it has moved. This will tell you if the problem is with the meter itself or in the service entrance.
If this doesn’t work then call the electrician. They will test each circuit one at a time to find the problem. The will also test from the white neutral wire in your panel to ground.
If they disconnect the ground and they get a spark then this is an indication there is a leak of power somewhere.
Did you leave a thermostat on in a back room and not realize it? Perhaps you have a defective heater that wouldn’t shut off and keeps sucking power.
Are your kids turning the heat on in their rooms at night without you knowing. It can happen I did it as a kid lol.
Having a proper working heating system is important. if a part of it malfunctions it will cause all kinds of unwanted problems. Have your heating system serviced on a regular basis.
In the summer months, shut the breaker off or pull the fuses to the heating system. Some of the components have a small power draw which can raise your bill even though the heating is not on.
This is a tricky one. You can be using more power and not even really know it. We recommend taking meter readings or invest in a kwh meter to plug in around the house. To look at the products we recommend click here.
The watt hour meter will tell you how much power a particular electrical item is using and they are very handy. A lot of times once you see how much an appliance or even a radio is using it will make you shut it off instead of leaving it run.
Another factor with increased usage are family members home for vacation or holiday. They are power suckers, literally. Increased laundry and showers will increase the bill substantially. Sometimes without you even realizing it.
Family home for the holidays can also use power just by increased lighting, cooking and entertainment. You can be guaranteed there will be some baking going on.
This is a big one. Did you know as a fridge gets older it draws more power. You probably think to yourself how can that be? Well as the compressor gets older it simply starts to wear out. It needs to draw more power and run more frequent to keep the items inside cool. As the gas inside the compressor get old it becomes inefficient.
The same applies to a dryer. It gets tired after a while. The load of clothes that used to take 50 minutes to dry now takes an hour and a half. Even with the lint trap clean and the dryer vent working perfectly.
Even light bulbs can become ineffective after a while. It’s important to have them change out to the latest and great products. Most efficiency companies in your local area have rebate programs on new products.
Drafty areas in the home can be an issue on increasing your power bill. Window drafts and door drafts are the common issues. It may be time to upgrade those old single pane windows to new ones.
Doors can be dealt with a little easier. You can use weather stripping fairly cost effective and fix the problem easily. Make sure the door shuts correctly.
Drafty areas can cause you heating system to come on frequently increasing your power bill.
Hot Water Tank Problems
A hot water tank consists of 2 elements, 2 thermostats and a flip flop switch from the top to bottom element. The hot element comes on first because heat rises until the thermostat is satisfied.
The power then flips down to the bottom element to heat the bottom half of the tank until that thermostat is satisfied. Heating the whole tank up.
Sometimes one of these parts can become faulty or worn out causing only one element to stick on running all the time or even worse both elements running drawing power and increasing your power bill.
Someone Steeling Power
I know it’s hard to believe but it does happen. Unfortunately that bad relationship you have with your neighbor is about to get worse when you find an extension cord plugged into an outlet in your back garden shed.
An extension cord can actually draw or pull a lot of power if its consistent. You trace the cord out only to find it running to the neighbors back yard plugged into his relatives camper.
Campers are the number one causes of disagreements from property owners and business owners. People think nothing of rolling up after hours to a business and plugging their camper in for the night off the businesses outside plugs.
Invest in some cameras or simply shut the power off when you leave for the day to the outside plugs.
Forgetting To Shut Something Off
So you go away for a week and forget to shut off the heater in the spare bedroom. Maybe you forget to shut off your electric water heater. These are things that you normally don’t think about but they all can contributed to higher power bills.
I have forgotten to shut the hose off before and with a leaky line the pump kept cutting in. Its the little things you don’t often thing about that cause the problem.
My Electric Bill Is Too High What Can I Do?
You’ve done all you can do and you still ask, why is my electric bill so high all of a sudden? Well sometimes life’s increased power usage just gets you. When you try to be conservative to your power needs sometimes you just have a colder winter, costing you more on heating bills.
You can also have a hotter summer costing more on ac bills. The daughter that moved home from collage for a short term that is taking 45 min showers and not telling you.
In the event that you can not reduce your power bills by any of these methods or fix the problem. You can always call your local utility and ask to be put on a budget plan. This will even out the high and low periods on the power bill.
What Costs The Most On Your Electric Bill
The two largest power consumers of any electric bill are your heating and domestic hot water. Third in place would be ac. After that would be cloths drying, washing laundry in hot water and an automatic dishwasher.
Any appliance that consumes hot water of going to drain off your domestic hot water increasing you power bill.
Moving down the line computers left on all the time can consume quite a bit. Also that home theater system that you forgot to shut off. Lighting would be at the bottom of the list however you should always shut the light switch off .
More on how to reduce your power bill here.