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How does cold weather affect your bill?

December 7, 2020

It takes more energy to heat your home when the temperature drops.

The greater the difference between the temperature outside and the thermostat setting inside, the harder your heating system will work and the more energy it will use, even if you don’t turn the thermostat higher.


This is especially true for homes that don’t have enough insulation, homes with single-paned or aluminum framed windows, and homes with a lot of air leaks around windows, doors, and plumbing and electrical boxes.


Ways to minimize your energy use during a cold snap:

  1. Turn your thermostat down a few degrees. Each degree you lower it can save up to 2% on your heating bill. Set it even lower when you are away or asleep but be sure to keep your house at least 55 F at all times to prevent pipes from freezing and to avoid moisture problems.
  2. Use portable space heaters wisely. If you spend most of your time in one or two rooms, using space heaters to keep those rooms warmer and turning your furnace down to let the rest of the house stay cooler can help save energy. This works best if you can close off the rooms you are using, and if you only use one or two space heaters. A typical space heater uses 1,500 watts of electricity, and an electric furnace uses 10 times that much.
  3. Get rid of drafts. If you feel cold air coming in, warm air is escaping. Keep windows and doors closed and use caulk or weatherstripping to seal leaks around windows, doors, and plumbing penetrations.
  4. Cover your windows. Tight-fitting, insulated window coverings can help minimize heat loss through the windows. Keep curtains and blinds closed unless the sun is shining directly on the glass.
  5. Check your furnace filters to see if they need to be cleaned or replaced. Dirty or clogged filters make your furnace work harder, increasing energy usage.
  6. Check your insulation levels. If your home is poorly insulated, adding insulation will lower your energy bills.

    Be sure to monitor your energy usage with the South Central app or My Account section on our website. There you can compare usage hourly, daily, monthly, or annually.

From the December 2020 issue of Ohio Cooperative Living.