Friday, January 21, 2011

Encountering A High Electric Bill

It is that time of year again! Winter is well under way in East Tennessee, and not only are we feeling it outside in the harsh weather, but also on our electric bills. While it is not uncommon to see an increase in your electric bill this time of year, you may begin to wonder how or why your bill has increased. Many factors play into these increases and the JCPB wants to be able to help you with any questions or concerns that you may have.

This season has already presented us with record low temperatures, snow storms, power outages, and more. Unfortunately, this is out of our control, but we would like to give you some helpful tips in order to lower or better maintain your electric bill.

Factors Affecting Your Electric Bill:
Some factors should be taken into consideration when receiving a high bill. “Do you have an open fireplace? (If so, approximately 25% of heat is escaping your home.) Is your home poorly insulated? Do you have a leaky water heater, which causes the water heater to “run” more often? What type of appliances are you using? What type of heating system do you have? How big is your home? Did you have guests at your home during this billing period?” These are all important questions to consider.

There are some other key points to remember during this season as well. Do take into consideration that the days are shorter during the winter, which means that more lighting is required. Colder weather also tends to force people to stay inside. As a result of this, more entertainment items, such as televisions, computers, and game systems, are being used. People also tend to cook more when forced indoors. Fireplaces are another area for concern. Blower systems on wood heaters, gas, oil, and coal furnaces are apt to run fairly often.

Did you know that about 60% of your electric bill comes from use of the heat pump? A very important rule to remember, especially during this time of the year, is the “SET IT AND FORGET IT” rule. This means set your thermostat between 68 and 72 degrees and leave it. Do not continually adjust your thermostat, as you will see an increase in price on your bill. Just “set it and forget it.” Also make note that for every degree you set your thermostat over 70 degrees it will increase your bill by 3 to 5 percent.

How to Reduce Your Use:
• Change your filter at least once a month
• Keep interior doors open for better circulation of heat
• Do not use auxiliary heat
• Make sure registers are not blocked
• Check your ductwork and insulation for potential air leaks
• Close the damper on your fireplace in order to reduce heat loss
• Adjust your thermostat to somewhere between 68 and 72 degrees
• Use natural light whenever possible

Check out our Home Energy Library at for detailed information.

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