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Magic Valley EC News

Is Your Electric Bill Higher Now Than Last Year?

Differences can help you spot ways to save

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 skyrockets.

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.

Try replacing a major appliance like a refrigerator or water heater. Replacing major appliances every ten years helps reduce energy consumption since more modern models will have better energy-saving features.

More electronics in your home means more energy use. The more appliances and electronics you have, 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 could diminish as it ages. As you lose insulation, your heating and air conditioning systems must work harder to keep your home comfortable. Nearly 90% of homes are under insulated, according to the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association. Have your insulation inspected in the attic and around doors and windows.

You’re not tracking your energy. Most homes use more energy during the hottest times of the year and especially during the holidays. Adding appliances can increase your family’s energy use. Using MVEC’s Usage Tracker is one way to monitor your energy bills from month to month. This can help flag increases, so you can decide how to cut your use elsewhere. Members can access MVEC’s Usage Tracker by logging into their member portal at magicvalley.coop.

Changes in the weather. It may feel hot all year round in the Rio Grande Valley, which causes you to rely on your air conditioning system more than usual. During the times when it does get cold, your heating system uses three times as much energy as your air conditioning unit. 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 house, and replacing old, single-pane windows with efficient double-pane models.