As temperatures trend upward in summer months, so do electricity bills. The steps you take today can help lower the energy bill you receive next month. The following provides a few tips and resources from NGEMC to help reduce the impact of high temperatures.
Why is my bill so high?
Members often ask why their bill increases so much in the summer when they have not changed any energy use habits. NGEMC does not have seasonal rates. Changes in bill amounts are usually not related to rates, but outside temperatures and how much energy you use. To learn more about the rate components of your bill, click here. Below are a few reasons why your home may use more electricity in the summer.
Weather and temperature patterns
High temperatures are the number one cause of higher bills in the summer. Even if you leave your temperature set at the Department of Energy’s recommended setting of 78°, your air conditioner has to work much harder to maintain that temperature when the air outside is even hotter. The greater the difference between inside and outside temperatures, the more energy your air-conditioning uses.
High summer occupancy
In many households, energy use patterns may change during the summer. For example, when school is out, children may stay at home using lights, electronics and other appliances.
Many larger bills are the result of unpaid balances from the previous month. If this is the case, you will see this information in the billing details.
Malfunctioning appliances or inadequate air sealing
If your air conditioner is running constantly, not producing enough air, or if there are visible cracks under doors or around windows, you could be spending more money to cool your home due to a problem with the equipment or by letting cool air escape.
Tips to save money
- Set the thermostat to the highest comfortable temperature, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends a thermostat setting of 78° for warmer months. Increase the temperature when you’re away.
- Keep air vents and return gills clean and clear of obstructions such as wall hangings or furniture. Ensure all vents are open for proper HVAC operation.
- Set ceiling fans to push air downward (in a counter clockwise motion). The reverse setting is intended to distribute heat evenly in the winter. Fans allow you to raise your thermostat by 4 degrees without affecting comfort. (Turn the fan off when you leave the room.)
- Cook outside on the grill or use small kitchen appliances that produce less heat than your oven.
- Turn off your water heater when you will be away for more than a few days.
- Wait until later in the evening to begin your laundry to reduce heat buildup from your dryer in the afternoon.
- Wash full loads of clothes in the coldest water possible.
- Take advantage of the heat you do build in these appliances by cooking multiple dishes at once in your oven and drying loads of clothes one right after the other.
- Close the shades during the day to reduce heat from sunshine.
- Turn off all lights when you leave the room.
- Unplug electronics when not in use.
- Use energy efficient window treatments to block sunlight and heat from outdoors.
- Seal air leaks with caulk or weather stripping.
- Have your HVAC or air conditioning unit inspected and recharged as needed.
- Replace your air filter each month.
- Replace incandescent bulbs with LED’s.
- When replacing appliances and electronics, opt for Energy Star rated products.
- More tips are available at www.energy.gov.
- Insulate pipes going into and out of your water heater.
- Install gasket insulators behind light switch and outlet plate along the exterior walls of your house.
- Install low flow faucets and shower heads of water aerators on existing fixtures.
Resources from NGEMC
Energy usage alerts
Sign up for NGEMC’s energy usage alerts and receive a message whenever you reach a certain price point or usage level.
Available to members who have been in good standing at the same address for at least one year, this program makes your bill more consistent and predictable by utilizing a 12 month rolling average.
If there is a spike in your energy usage, or if you have any questions about your past usage, our Energy Services team is here to help you understand how your home consumes energy and can even provide a complimentary site inspection for electric appliances, insulation and air sealing.