It’s summer. You’ve been running the air conditioning and fans like crazy, and you expect your energy bill to take a hit for it. But you open the envelope, look at your energy statement, and… uh oh. Your high utility bills are a bit more than you even expected. What could have happened? There is the usual advice of updating your technology for energy efficiency and unplugging things you aren’t using, but here are some summer-specific reasons for why your utility bill may spike.
- Your AC is running inefficiently.
If your AC is old, not cleaned and maintained on a consistent basis, not installed properly, or not being controlled in an efficient way by you as the homeowner, then your electricity will spike even above regular home-cooling rates. Update your AC system to an energy-efficient model when you have the chance. Clean it or hire a professional to clean and repair it. Save it for especially hot days, keep it above arctic temperature, and use any specifically ‘energy-efficient’ settings you can! So many fixable things can go wrong with home cooling, don’t make a silly avoidable mistake.
- Your insulation is poor.
High utility bills in winter are often attributed to poor insulation in homes and other buildings that don’t keep in the warm air you’re pumping into it. The same principle applies to cooling in your home in the summer.
- There is a draft somewhere in your home.
The EPA estimates that monthly energy bills could drop by up to 20% by combining insulation with properly sealed air leaks. Air leaks and drafts are mostly found to be a cooling issue with exterior windows and doors. Although there are short-term solutions like plastic wrap and foam buffers in a pinch, for more attractive long-term energy-efficient solutions for doors and windows, start searching for Energy Star-approved replacements.
- You have a swimming pool or outdoor patio/kitchen space.
If you’re turning on a wine fridge for the summer or running a pool pump, those become energy sucks. You don’t necessarily need to give them up, of course… but know that you’re signing up for high utility bills with outdoor electric luxuries.
- Your provider raised prices.
People, in general, use a LOT of electricity in the summertime. Due to simple supply and demand, your energy provider will often bump base costs to keep up. So even if you have absolutely no new reason in the summer for your bill to spike, it may anyways, and it’s pretty much out of your control. You can still look for greener home options and habits to try to lower it!
If you’re truly stumped on why your bill is so much more than you believe it should be, considering hiring a professional for a home energy audit to help understand where your energy consumption is happening. Find the source of an energy drain and make an energy-efficient plan for your home, and then lower utility bills are in your future.