Another colder-than-normal winter is predicted for much of the country this year. Frigid temperatures can cause heating systems to work overtime, and since heating and cooling can make up nearly half of your electric bill, you may want to look for ideas on how to keep your bill in control.

Here are things you can do now to help ensure you are managing your energy use and spending less.  

  • Wrap exposed pipes and water heaters that are in unconditioned spaces.
  • Change your air filter once a month.
  • Keep drapes closed at night and keep those that don’t get direct sunlight closed during the day, too.
  • Keep the fireplace damper closed when it is not in use.  
  • Caulk around the fireplace hearth, and caulk or weather strip around doors and windows.
  • Log on to your Access Energy Cooperative account to keep up with your use. If we’ve had a few days of frigid temperatures, see how you can try to save on days that are milder.
  • Dress for the weather, even if you are inside. Wearing proper clothing like long sleeves and pants, or wrapping up in a cozy blanket will help combat the temptation of bumping up the thermostat.

Using the tips above can certainly help you manage your energy use, but your bill may still be higher than normal in winter months. Why?

The weather makes a big impact on electric bills, accounting for nearly half of your bill. Even those with the most efficient HVAC systems will see more use in extreme weather. When extreme cold temperatures hit, our heaters work overtime.

For example, even if you set your thermostat to our recommended 68 degrees in the winter, when it is 19 degrees outside, your system has to work hard to make up that 49-degree difference.

Your heater works harder and cycles on and off more often, making your use much higher. That means your bill will be much higher.

Additional tips:

  • Speak to one of our energy efficiency experts. They can help you understand how weather and your use patterns affect your bill.
  • Schedule a free energy audit and let Access Energy Cooperative experts help you find ways to reduce energy use in your home.
  • Check our website for more information on how to save energy at www.accessenergycoop.com.

Sources: April Lollar, NRECA; APR; CCC

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