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Checking Energy Usage and Saving Money

It feels like just yesterday I was pondering what to write for the start of 2023. Now, as we enter 2024, I’m back at it again, reflecting on the passing of time and the challenges each new year throws our way. Working at Fulton County REMC gives me the chance to chat with our members, and every January, the phone starts ringing with concerns about high electricity usage on their bills.

In my job, figuring out what’s causing these spikes has become a bit of a routine. Sometimes, a quick look at the data and a chat with the members do the trick, and we can solve the mystery without even setting foot in their homes. But there are those times when we need to hit the road and investigate in person.

Now, let’s talk about the usual suspects I see – the top five things that tend to crank up the electricity usage:

  1. Space Heaters:

Often overlooked, these devices can significantly impact energy consumption. Ensuring they are turned off when not needed can make a noticeable difference.

  1. Electric Backup Heat:

While a vital component in colder climates, electric backup heat can drive up energy usage if not managed efficiently.

  1. Well Pump Running:

A malfunctioning well pump, due to a stuck pressure switch, can quietly contribute to increased energy consumption without homeowners even realizing it.

  1. Dehumidifiers:

Although beneficial in maintaining indoor air quality, dehumidifiers, if left running constantly, can become silent energy guzzlers.

  1. Leaky Hot Water Line:

Often an unnoticed culprit, a continuously running hot water line can lead to unexpected spikes in energy usage.

Figuring out if stuff like space heaters or dehumidifiers are causing the trouble is pretty straightforward. But things like a running well pump or a hot water heater element that’s always on can be trickier for homeowners to spot.

For those tricky cases, looking at the hourly usage data becomes very beneficial. I look at the numbers during the quiet hours, like the early morning, to try and find the extra wattage.

I always like to remind everyone to download the SmartHub app. This is a great tool to keep an eye on your usage.  I recommend that you check your usage at least once a week to make sure you do not see any out of the norm spike in usage.