Why are my bills so high?
There are a number of factors that cause differences in energy bills, so comparing your bill to someone else’s is like comparing apples to oranges. The ages of major appliances, especially refrigerators and air conditioners, can make a dramatic difference in your bill. In addition, if your house leaks air like a sieve while your neighbor’s house was just weatherized and insulated, you will have much higher heating and cooling bills. Other factors that can result in significant differences in bills are the number and kinds of lighting fixtures, thermostat settings for heating and cooling, the number of loads of laundry, old refrigerators out in the garage, and hobbies which result in electricity use.
What’s the most common mistake people make in trying to save energy around the house?
Common mistakes people make include:
- letting the furnace or air conditioner salesperson sell them a unit that’s much bigger than they need,
- not getting the ducts checked for leakage when installing a new heating and cooling system,
- thinking that “since heat rises, we only need to insulate the attic.” Floors over a basement or crawlspace, walls and windows also matter.
- not using ceiling and portable fans to improve comfort in the cooling season. They use very little electricity. Use them to circulate air in the house, to make the house feel cooler; by doing this, the thermostat setting for your air conditioner can be raised to 85°F, and still maintain the same comfort as the lower setting.