Home Energy Use Guide

Use this check list to find out which appliances cost the most.

Here are some basic items to check when your electric usage is higher than normal.

  • Check your electric meter to see if the dial is spinning.
  • Shut all breakers off at the panel box. See if your meter stops spinning. It should.
  • Turn the breakers on one by one and see which one starts the meter dial moving. Then see what the breaker controls (hot water, freezer, etc,). This will give you an idea of what is using electricity in your home.
  • Read your meter each day at the same time for three or four days. This will show you how many kilowatt-hours you use per day.

Common Causes of High Usage:

  • Electric Heat: Some thermostats will only set the heat back to 55 degrees even though it may appear “off”. The heat will come on when the temperature is lower than 55 degrees. Colder than normal weather will cause your heat to be on more.
  • Forced Air Systems: Make sure the filter and return air grill are clean. The ductwork may need insulation and sealing. Crossover ducts in mobile homes may be disconnected.
  • Thermostats: Thermostats may be inaccurate, especially the bi-metallic type common with ceiling heat and baseboard heaters. Digital thermostats may lose their programmed settings when the power goes off.
  • Water Heaters: If you don’t have an efficient newer model water heater you can be using more electricity than necessary. If an element is burned out or sediment has built up inside the tank, your usage can be high.
  • Water leaks: Water leaks in pipes, especially hot water leaks, can cause your water pump and water heater to operate more than normal.
  • Water pumps: If your pressure tank becomes waterlogged it will cause your pump to run. Usually the pump house is a distance away from your house and you won’t hear the pump cycling on and off.

In addition to the above, the usage graph shown below can be handy for studying areas where usage might be high.