Why Is My Electric Bill So High? – Part 6

No one wants to spend more money than they have to. And we know that if our friends and neighbors in the Beverly Hills, Culver City, Mar Vista, Miracle Mile, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Bel Air, Westwood, Downtown Los Angeles, Vernon, Huntington Park, Sherman Oaks, Encino area could do something to reduce spending, you would want to know, right? That’s why GAMA Air has been spending some time discussing the theme of electric utility bills that are higher than they should be. To round out this series we’re going to diverge from talking about your heating and cooling system, which we discussed in detail in Part 3,Part 4, and Part 5.

There are other reasons that you and your family are consuming more electric energy than you used to. Over time, you may have accumulated knew appliances or electronic devices. If you have kids, then they’re growing up and doing more things on their own that consume electricity. If your bills are consistently higher than you think they should be, it may be wise to analyze as a family what your activities are and how they may be affecting that bill.

The simple, but not so simple solution, is start using less electricity! I know, easier said than done, but worth doing your best. As we mentioned in Part 1, the average American home uses about 300 kWh of electricity per person per month. However, you’ll have to admit, us ‘average Americans’ can tend to be a little wasteful if we’re not careful. So how can you buckle down and lower your electric utility bill?

Here’s a list of 10 things that are consuming more electrical energy than you may have realized. With some effort and cooperation in the family, you could get that ‘average’ usage down to 200 kWh per person per month or even lower.

  1. Computers - Using a computer with a monitor could use up to 1% of your home’s electricity usage. If your home has multiple computers, and/or laptops, then that of course means even a larger chunk of your bill is from them. It may seem convenient to leave them on when not in use, but they keep using electricity just like leaving a light on. To cut down on this energy drain, turn off the devices, or at least use ‘sleep’ mode, when you’re not using them.
  2. Dishwasher – This big helper in your home doesn’t have to consume so much energy. Just make sure to rinse dishes lightly before loading, and to only run full loads. In fact, using the dishwasher with a full load will actually cut down on your water usage versus hand washing dishes! But I digress. Here’s another tip: Turn off settings for ‘Heat boost’ and ‘Heat dry’. Both of these settings turn on an electric heater coil in your dishwasher, one during the wash/rinse cycles and the other at the end to heat up and dry the dishes. If the dishes are lightly rinsed before loading the water doesn’t have to be super-hot. And afterward you may have to hand dry the dishes, but remember your goal: lower your electric bill!
  3. TVs, Cable boxes, DVRs etc. – All of these entertainment devices can add up to 3% of total energy use in your home! It may surprise you to know that even in the Off mode these devices are using only slightly less energy than in the On mode. Here’s a tip, plug all of these devices into a power strip and turn that power strip off when you’re not using them. If you need to prioritize, for example you programmed your DVR to record your favorite show when you’re not around, then have two power strips: one with devices plugged into it that need to stay on, and the other with devices that can be powered down with no problems.
  4. Refrigerator - The fridge is one of the largest appliances you have, so here’s some tips to make sure it is running as energy efficient as possible: Keep it at 35 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit (any colder is not necessary and makes it run more than needed), Allow air circulation around and behind it (most refrigerators eject the heat from the side and/or back walls), Don’t keep the door open for too long (Obvious, right?), Check the gaskets around the door (If you close the door on a piece of paper so that only the gasket is holding it, and it falls out or can be easily be pulled out, then the gaskets aren’t keeping your refrigerator sealed as much as they should).

Tune back in soon for the remainder of this list of 10 power hogging items in your home.

Do you have a question about your home’s central heating and cooling system and aren’t sure who to ask? Ask an Expert! Visit our webpage and fill out the form. The resident expert here at GAMA Air will reply quickly with an answer.

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