The cost of cool
National Weather Service Climate Data:
Heating Degree Day comparison
Remember scraping ice off your windshield before heading to work in the morning, or having the kids home on a weekday because school was delayed or canceled due to the weather? Chances are your most recent electricity bill offered a reminder that this winter season has been a cold one.
According to National Weather Service data, there has been a substantial increase compared to the same period last year in the number of hours Central Texans have needed to run their heaters. The first two weeks of February saw the biggest Heating Degree Day (HDD) variance, surpassing the total for February of 2013. The higher the HDD, the harder your heating system had to work to keep you comfortable.
We can't change the weather, but we've got tips and tools to help you use electricity more efficiently and lower your cost when temperatures are cool.
PEC offers the following reminders to help members take control of winter bills:
- The recommended winter thermostat setting is 68 degrees. Every degree below that can reduce an electric bill by 3 to 5 percent.
- When no one’s home, lower the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees. Completely turning off the heater causes the unit to work overtime when it’s turned back on, eating up any savings that may have been gained.
- If you expect to be away several days, turn off or lower the water heater temperature setting to help maximize energy savings. When temperatures are extreme, water heaters can use more electricity than expected to maintain temperature settings.
- To ensure optimum efficiency, service heating units every year and change filters monthly.
- Space heaters may seem like an economical solution to winter heating, but they can use a surprising amount of electricity.
- Keeping curtains or blinds open during the day lets in the sun’s heat. Closing them at night blocks drafts and insulates cold window glass.
Understanding the spikes
Cold temperatures can cause spikes in the amount of electricity you use as you heat your home or business, and MyUse Energy Analyzer reports make it easy to see how temperatures impact your use. See how one member discovered the value of MyUse as a tool to help him save on his monthly electric bill.
Learn more about MyUse »
Conservation to go
Get conservation tips via smart phone, tablet or PC. Sign up (above right) to receive the monthly Conservation Connection email newsletter, or follow us on social media to keep up with seasonal conservation suggestions.