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Do Pets Increase Your Electric Bill?

I think pets are great. It is always a pleasure meeting your four-legged companion when I am at your home (as long they do not want to have me for lunch). I am a dog lover at heart.

In some cases, pets are more than just animals that greet people at the front door or roam the backyard. They are sometimes in family pictures, dressed up in designer clothing, covered under insurance policies, and even included in their owner’s will.

But, have you ever wondered how they play a part on your electric bill? That all comes down to how much you pamper them — or if you allow them to be destructive in your home.

Do you have devices that need to be plugged in to keep them cool or warm or entertain them? If your pets are living inside your home, it’s likely that you are periodically giving them nice warm baths. If your pet sheds, there is an increase in vacuum use to keep the hair and dander under control. Have you checked your furnace filter? That hair and dander will find its way into that filter, so you may have to increase how often you change it to keep your HVAC system running efficiently. This applies to other appliances around your home where hair may accumulate, such as refrigerator coils and outdoor condensing units.

Does your pet enjoying going outside periodically throughout the day? You may not think much of it, but opening and shutting the door to your home, especially during summer and winter, increases how often your HVAC system runs.

I have seen pets damage the trim and seal around exterior doors and windows in homes to the point where these items no longer seal properly. This requires the HVAC system to run more to maintain the house temperature.

Now, there are people who have more exotic or unusual pets. If such a pet needs to maintain a specific body temperature all the time, odds are you’re using a heat lamp or portable heater, or heating an aquarium of water.

All the items I mention above will add to your utility bill, but how much varies from home to home. Pets are great to have and studies have shown they help people have less stressful and more enjoyable lives, but they do come at a cost — even those you don’t initally think about, like visits to the vet and grooming.

In my opinion, it is well worth your time and money to have pets. It’s up to you to decide what’s best for you.

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