Many factors can affect your bill, including the number of people who live in your home, the size of your home, your heating source, and items you own that require electricity to operate.
When one of your electric bills changes, think back over the last couple of months. Consider these questions. Was it hot and did I run my air conditioning? Was it cold and was my electric heat pump running? Did I add any new items to my home, like a refrigerator, freezer or swimming pool? Did I do any entertaining or have a houseguest for a period of time? All these factors can affect the total amount of your electric bill.
Here are some other things that can cause your electric bill to vary:
- Changes in weather
- Changes in living habits
- New appliances
- Removing older appliances
Changes in Weather
Hot weather makes your refrigerator motor run longer and more often, using more electricity. Attic fans, air conditioners and dehumidifiers also use more electricity during the warmer months.
One energy-user that is easily overlooked in most homes is the furnace fan. During normal winter weather, the furnace fan on your home's gas- or oil-heating system operates about 10 hours per day, and much longer during very cold weather. If you have central air conditioning, a heat pump or an add-on heat pump, your furnace fan is working in the summertime too to help circulate the cool air through your house.
Since there is less daylight in winter months, your lights will be on longer. You also may spend more time at home, using your entertainment system and other electronics more frequently. During colder weather, humidifiers often are run and heat tape added to exposed water pipes is turned on, both of which use electricity. And of course, winter brings the holiday season, with its extra lights, house guests and special cooking, all of which can add to your electric bill.
Changes in Living Habits
Moving into a new home, bringing home a new baby, doing more laundry when the children go back to school, starting a new hobby, and entertaining at home -- all of these can cause an increase in your electric bill.
New appliances and home entertainment electronics continue to become more and more energy efficient. An older refrigerator can use up to 50 percent more electricity than newer models, especially in summer months. Check for the Energy Star symbol and rating on any new appliances that you purchase to see what savings you may achieve.
Appliances often use more electricity over time because they become less efficient. For example: electric coils in your water heater may not function as when they were new, and can add to your electric bill. To make sure that your appliances are operating efficiently, follow the manufacturer's service guidelines.