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Ask an Expert: High Energy Bills

What causes energy bills to suddenly increase?

Photo of a man looking shocked when reading his energy bill.
Extra guests this holiday season? Kids moving back home or weekend guests may bring extra energy costs.

Energy costs vary, but here are four common reasons why they may suddenly increase:

  1. Extreme weather. Sudden changes in temperature can put a real strain on heating or cooling system, and your energy bills.

  2. Change in occupancy. Kids moving back home or weekend guests bring unwelcome energy costs. Lights are left on longer, more devices need charging and more hot water goes down the drain.

  3. Equipment failure. If your heat pump compressor fails in the winter, it triggers back-up electric coils to provide heat, which is more expensive than using the compressor. A leaking water heater will also use more energy to heat the cold make-up water.

  4. Air leaks. Cracked caulking around windows or worn weatherstripping in exterior doors can create gaps that let conditioned air out, making your heating or cooling system work harder.

What you can do to save:

  • Install LED lights. They use less energy than conventional bulbs and last longer.

  • Have your HVAC system cleaned and inspected by a qualified professional.

  • Repair or replace any malfunctioning appliances or equipment.

  • Air seal windows and doors with caulk and weatherstripping. Check for gaps in your attic and basement as well.

  • Install low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators to reduce hot water consumption.

  • Unplug unused electronic devices or plug them into an advanced power strip, which automatically switches off power to devices not in use.

  • Consider a home energy audit. A qualified auditor will inspect your home and recommend measures you can take to lower your energy costs.


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