Why has my electrical usage gone up

“Why has my electrical usage gone up,” is a common question. There are several possible reasons for higher electrical bills, and here are a few common ones:

  • Appliance Problem – Loose gaskets around refrigerators or freezer doors or dirty cooling fans can cause them to run continuously and cost you more. A problem with the furnace or central air conditioner can also cause high usage. Annual maintenance is important especially on heating and cooling equipment as they make up about 50% of your electric bill.
  • Electrical Wiring – A loose connection or wires that are shorting to the ground either on the pole, house, or underground, can cause high usage. This type of problem as well as other equipment problems could also lead to a fire. Be sure to contact a licensed electrician if you suspect problems with your electrical wiring.
  • Farm Well – If you live in an area that is not served by a municipal water system, you must pay to pump your water.  A water leak or a problem with the well’s pressure system could cause your well to run too much and in some cases continuously.
  • Block Heaters – Block heaters are used to keep engines warm in the wintertime so they are easier to start. These heaters can use a lot of electricity when the outside temperatures are cold. Be sure they are unhooked when temperatures are expected to stay above freezing.
  • Heat Tape – Heat tape is used to prevent water pipes from freezing in the wintertime. Colder temperatures or faulty thermostats (if so equipped) can cause higher usage. Be sure they are unplugged when temperatures are expected to stay above freezing.
  • Livestock Tank Heaters – Tank heaters are generally out in the open space and are exposed to extreme cold temperatures. Tank heaters usually operate using a thermostat. Thermostats can stick or can be set too high. In either case your bill will be higher. Be sure to check these heaters often and make sure they are shut off when temperatures are expected to stay above freezing.
  • Hot Tubs – If you have a hot tub, you should expect to have a higher electric bill especially if it is outside in the wintertime or used in an unconditioned room. You can help control your cost by paying attention to the water temperature and by making sure the lid is kept in place and well sealed when not in use.
  • Added Appliances – You may have a new energy efficient refrigerator, but your bill won’t be lower if you plugged in your old one in the garage. If you are purchasing a new appliance, be sure to look for the ENERGY STAR logo on it. The ENERGY STAR label ensures that you are purchasing a product that meets the highest level of energy efficiency and quality. Instead of using your old refrigerator or freezer in the garage, consider purchasing a larger one and consolidating your items into one unit. If you need further assistance, please contact us at (402) 362-3355 or (800) 289-0288.