I have the privilege of helping our customers solve the riddles when they feel their utility costs are too high. It is often a challenge to really get to the bottom of a high bill, especially when on first look there is nothing out of the ordinary. I will tell you about three common areas that will cause your utility bills to rise. In each case, you will have some options to counter the impact with a conservation tip.
First, the weather has a great impact on your utility bills because heating and cooling our homes is the single largest energy expense. Comparing one year’s bill to another year has some merit for an average range of costs, but I have seen a bill be double from one February to the next purely due to a difference in the temperature.
Conservation Tip: When there is extreme weather either hot or cold, each degree you change your thermostat will save or cost you between 4-7% on your bill.
2) Family Household
Second, the number of people living in your home makes a significant difference. Having the kids come home from college and bring a friend or having those family members come to visit impact the cost to operate your home.
There generally is more cooking, more showers using hot water, more laundry, etc. Even changing the occupancy of your home by one person will make a difference in your utility bills, including your water bill.
Conservation Tip: Take quicker showers, make sure you do full loads of laundry and be careful of over using all the electronics.
3) Behavioral Changes
Finally, changes in behaviors may impact your utility costs. We notice this often when people upgrade to a high efficiency natural gas tankless water heater. Tankless water heaters provide hot water on demand and never run out of hot water. There is no danger of running out of hot water while taking a shower or filling that garden tub. It is a very subtle thing but shower time may begin to slowly stretch. Longer showers mean more hot water and more energy to heat that water resulting in a higher utility bill.
If you notice an increase in your energy usage, consider if any of these three conservation tips are the cause. For all your energy questions contact your Florida Public Utilities Energy Experts!