If you think that your electricity bill is higher than it should be, you should check your home for power leaks that can be caused by malfunction in an appliance or power leakage to the ground through a bad connection. In your home, there also can be phantom loads, power usage from electronics, and other devices that continuously draw power even when they appear to be off. To define major leaks use this step-by-step approach.
Step 1. Turn off the main breaker at your home's service panel (breaker box) and look at the electric meter. If the meter is running, you have discovered the leak. It is somewhere between the power leads and the panel, and you should call an electrician to have it fixed immediately.
Step 2. Turn off all the breakers in the panel and turn on the main breaker. Go through the house, turn off all the light switches and unplug everything that's plugged in, including all the major appliances. Some appliances, such as the stove and water heater, may be hardwired, so you can't unplug them. Turn those appliances off or set them to their lowest settings.
Step 3. Check the meter again; it should be motionless. Turn on each breaker, one at a time, and check the meter each time you do. If it remains motionless, turn off that breaker and try the next one.
Step 4. Double-check the circuit if the meter starts to turn when you turn on a breaker. You should be able to get an idea of which lights, receptacles or devices it controls by looking at the label on the panel door. If you're sure everything is unplugged, and all switches are off, there is an open connection in the circuit, possibly caused by degraded wire insulation. This is a dangerous condition and you should call an electrician.
Step 5. Watch the meter when you turn on the breaker controlling a hardwired appliance. If it begins moving, note whether the appliance has cycled on. If it hasn't, it may have an internal fault; for example, an electric water heater may have a corroded heater element. Have that appliance serviced.
Step 6. Turn all the breakers back on, leave the lights off and make sure the meter isn't running, then plug in your appliances one by one. All the appliances should be off. Any one of them that causes the meter to start turning needs to be serviced.
Step 7. Test each appliance for phantom power loss by using a power monitoring meter. Plug the meter into the receptacle, then plug the appliance into the meter. Leave the appliance off for two or three days, then check the meter. A positive reading indicates power loss.
No investments, just your time to search for power leaks and creating a habit to unplug devices that are not in use. To check appliances for phantom power you will need to buy power monitoring meter.