IT’S NOT A BAD IDEA to compare your energy use from year to year. It’s a good way to spot differences that might be related to your family’s lifestyle and habits—and to get those under control before your bill is impacted.
A few culprits could rack up the charges without your knowledge. Start with these:
Your appliances are getting older.
That could mean they’re operating less efficiently with each passing year. Replacing a major appliance like a refrigerator or water heater at least every 10 years means you use a more modern model with better energy-saving features.
More electronics in your home.
The more appliances and electronics you collect, the more of them you plug in. If you’re turning them off but not unplugging them, they’re all using small amounts of electricity when they’re not in use. That can add up. Unplug TVs, countertop kitchen appliances and even phone chargers when you’re not using them to cut off the flow of wasted electricity.
Older insulation is less efficient.
Even if your attic was properly insulated when you bought your home, that insulation can diminish as it ages. As you lose insulation, your heating and air conditioning systems have to work harder to keep your home comfortable. Nearly 90 percent of homes are under insulated, according to the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association. Inspect your insulation in the attic, around doors, and windows.
You’re not tracking your energy.
Many homes use more energy during winter months and around the holidays. Adding appliances can increase your family’s energy use. Monitoring your energy bills from month to month can flag increases so you can decide how to cut your use elsewhere. To track, analyze and understand how you’re using energy, download the FREE SmartHub app.
Changes in the weather.
If summer is especially hot one year or winter is unusually frigid, your family will rely on its heating and air conditioning system more than usual. Don’t be surprised if your energy bills increase as a result. A tip: Prepare your home to withstand weather changes by caulking around windows and doors, sealing penetrations on the inside of exterior walls where cables and wires enter the home, and replacing old, single-pane windows with efficient double-pane models.