There are many reasons for an increase in your electric usage. For many of us with electric heating, the simple answer is winter.
The colder it is outside, the harder your heating system has to work. If you always keep your thermostat at 67 degrees, it takes more energy to reach that temperature when it’s colder outside. We haven’t had a day with an average temperature above 45 degrees since November 29. Most days since have had an average temperature below 35.
January’s average temperature has been 30 degrees. This is down 11 degrees from the January 2016 average temperature. That is also five degrees colder than the average December temperature. December 2016 (35 degree average) was six degrees colder than the December 2015 average (41). The drop in temperatures creates a spike in energy usage.
Typically this will add about 12-15% to heating costs. That amount could be higher if you have a heat pump that relies on an electric furnace for emergency heat. Homes that aren’t well insulated or that have leaky windows & doors will see a higher increase as well.
We offer rebate programs for insulating your home and upgrading your windows. Learn more about those programs here.
An electric heat pump is one of the most efficient home heating systems you can choose. However, when temperatures drop below 35 degrees, heat pumps must rely on back-up heat (also known as Auxiliary Heat or Emergency Heat) to properly warm your home. This comes from either a gas or electric furnace.
Watch your thermostat. If you see “Auxiliary Heat” or “Emergency Heat” (shown above as "Em"), that means the expensive heat is running. This is true for both gas and electric furnaces.
Portable heaters. Running a 1,500 watt portable heater 8 hours a day for 30 days adds an extra $24.48 to a monthly power bill. Someone who runs a portable heater in the garage, RV, and inside one room of their home is looking at a nearly $75 jump.
If you have a well, consider getting a thermostat-controlled heater for your well house to keep it from freezing. Be sure to insulate your well house to keep heat from escaping and increasing your bill.
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