Winter weather has been in full effect with the start of the new year. It’s important to know, when it comes to your electric bill, weather matters! It only takes a few cold days to make a significant impact on your bill, especially if they fall within the same billing cycle. Here are some common questions members ask that can help you understand how this weather will affect your winter bills.
Will my next bill be high?
Weather is one of the biggest factors when it comes to electric usage, especially during the coldest months of the year. In this case, the low temperatures in January will drive up February/March bills. Remember, your bill reflects the previous 30 days of usage, which includes things like weather and habits.
What about my thermostat setting? Isn’t that important too?
Yes! Even if you never adjust your thermostat, the weather is always changing. The greater the difference between your thermostat setting and the outside temperature, the harder your AC/Heating system will work in order to reach and maintain your thermostat’s set point.
What else could affect my electric bill in colder months?
Habits and the duration of cold temperatures can increase bills.
- We tend to use more electricity by staying inside watching TV, using computers, playing video games, etc.
- Some people take long, hot showers or baths to warm up. Electric water heaters are the second largest energy consumer in a home.
- Using space heaters or fireplaces, which are inefficient sources of heat. If you run three space heaters in different rooms for 10 days within the same energy billing period—that’s an extra $60 a month.
- The number of consecutive hours and days temperatures remain low outside is another factor. Without adequate insulation, the roofs and exterior walls stay cool, which means your system has to work harder to keep your home warm.
How can I track my energy usage?
Monitor your usage with the Explorer tool in SmartHub®. Along with being able to track your home’s daily energy usage, it also lets you see it in terms of dollars and cents. Having this information at your finger tips can help you make “real-time” lifestyle adjustments to save for the remaining cold days this winter.
What can I do to lower my bill?
Save energy by keeping your thermostat setting lower in the winter. For every degree you lower your thermostat in the winter, you can save up to 4 to 6 percent on your heating costs. If you have a heat pump system, make sure you don’t manually switch your system to auxiliary/emergency heating mode. A properly operating system knows when to rely on emergency heating when necessary.
What temperature ranges do you recommend for the winter?
The Department of Energy recommends lowering your thermostat to 68 degrees in the winter. Keep plenty of blankets around the house and dress for the weather so you can set your thermostat lower.
Winter is here and more cold weather is on its way. Higher bills are typically expected December through February and sometimes March, depending on the weather during February. To learn more home energy efficiency tips for the winter visit: https://www.gvec.org/electric/energy-efficiency/home-efficiency-tips/.