News List

Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option

Cold Winter Leads to More Electricity Use

Post Date:02/22/2018 4:51 p.m.

After the colder temperatures we’ve experienced this winter, many customers have seen higher electricity bills.

The most important step that any of us can take to control winter electricity costs is to carefully manage the thermostat setting.

When outdoor temperatures drop, heating systems will run longer and use more electricity, regardless of how well a residence is insulated or how energy efficient a heating system or other appliances may be. 

Here’s how this happens, even if the thermostat is set at the recommended settings of 68°or lower:  

If the outdoor temperature is 40°, and a thermostat is set at 68° degrees, the heating system “only” has to keep the house 28° warmer than the outside.  If the outdoor temperature is 20°, the heating system has to keep the house 48° warmer than the outside. Colder weather such as this can add up to almost twice as much running time for a heating system.

How cold has it been this winter?

Average temperatures this winter have been colder as compared to last winter:

This Winter  Last Winter  Temp. Change This Winter
 48° (Dec 2017)  50° (Dec 2016)  2° colder
 44° (Jan 2018)  51° (Jan 2017)  7° colder
 47° (Feb 2018)  59° (Feb 2017)  12° colder

These are the average temperatures in our area. Since the beginning of December, nighttime temperatures have been below 50° on all but 10 nights. Temperatures dipped into the 20’s and teens several nights at the end of December, in January, and in early February.  

Recommended Thermostat Operation for Heating:

  • 68° (or lower) – Each degree warmer will increase your energy use by 6 to 8%.
  • At night, while you’re sleeping, or if no one is at home during the day, set the thermostat lower.
  • If you have an electric heat pump, avoid using the “Emergency Heat” function. That makes the heating system operate as a standard electric furnace and loses all of the efficiency of the heat pump. The “Emergency Heat” function should be reserved for emergencies when the heat pump isn’t working correctly.

Find more energy saving tips