How to Tell Why Your Electric Bill is so High

Why Your Electric Bill is so High
Why Your Electric Bill is so High

Have you ever gotten your electric bill to be shocked at the amount due? I lowered my bill from $175 a month to just $50 a month. You can lower your electric bill and find out what's making it so high by doing these simple tasks.

Things You'll Need

  • Pen
  • Paper
  • Calculator

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Being the nerd that I am, I was floored when I got a $175 electric bill in my first home. So what do nerds do? They find out why. Here's what I did and you can too.

Unplug everything elctrical. I mean everything! The only things that will have power are those items that require a circuit breaker to power off like you heat, air, and water heater. Turn the heat or air off at the thermostat. I would recommend checking your electric meter in the summer or spring.

Unplug everything to check your electric meter
Unplug everything to check your electric meter

Make sure your water heater isn't running, remember it still has power to it, but you should be able to hear if it's running or not. Go outside to your meter and see if it's running. It should be a dead stop. If it isn't go back inside and find out what is drawing power. Once you find it write it down and write how fast the meter was turning, just use words like slow, medium, or fast.

Now go back inside and plug something up like your television and cable. Turn them on like you would be watching them and go look at the meter. Write down how fast it's turning. Now unplug the tv and cable and pick something else to plug in. Keep doing this until you've investigated everything in the house. Check your computers, each room's light, your can opener, everything.

Electric Meter
Electric Meter

Here's an example of what I found and fixed to save money on my electric bill. Notice how the radio is using more electricity than the TV! And the porch light is using more than the bathroom light. Now that just doesn't seem logical to me.

TV slow Cable slow Radio fast
bath light slow porch light fast

Next at the items you find strange, look at the electricity usage on the label and compare it to other items in your home. If it doesn't make sense then you might have a short in the item.

I bought a new radio and replace the light housing on my porch light and re-checked the usage on the meter and guess what? It went down. There are tiny items in your home that can be causing you a huge electric bill each month.

If you don't find any shorted item, then use your list and look at the items that caused the meter to move fast. Try to use them less. Also, keep in mind that several of the items that moved the meter medium with used at the same time can really add up to a huge bill.

Items that stay plugged in all the time - put them on power strips and turn the strip OFF. They will pull a small amount of electricity even if the item if turned off and plugged into the wall. That's why I asked you to unplug everything in step 2.

Tips & Warnings

  • It's best to check the electric meter in the summer or spring.
  • Never try to repair an electrical item. Some can hold a charge even after unplugged and can harm you.
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