We don’t predict the weather but we sure do monitor it. We need to because we are responsible for supplying customers with energy during very hot and very cold temperatures. One thing is for certain, energy use increases when its cold.
It may seem logical but it’s easy to forget. The colder it gets the more often your heat will turn on. During the winter months, heating our homes accounts for more than half of the energy we use. Even if you don’t touch the thermostat, your energy use will go up when the temperatures drop.
Just how often the heat comes on depends on many things like, how well insulated your home is, if you have leaks around the doors or windows, and how many windows you have.
Some things to consider when thinking about your energy use over the next few months:
- Space heaters cost up to three times as much to operate as a central heating system does.
- Windows lose heat between five and ten times faster than an insulated wall.
- Programmable thermostats are great to set the temperature back during the evening or when you are away during the day but depending on your heating system you should control the set-back differently.
- With natural gas or electric resistance (baseboard and electric forced air furnace) you can set it back as far as you want, but if you have a heat pump you should only set it back by two degrees as it will engage the lower efficiency energy source to bring the heat back up.
- Maintain the insulation under the floors in a home that has an unconditioned crawl space, it is the second lowest cost item to increase the energy efficiency in your home.
- Make sure you have proper levels of attic insulation, this is the lowest cost item to do for energy efficiency in your home.
- Block off the fireplace damper when you are not using it as your heated air escapes right up that chimney. The safest and easiest way to block it is with an inflatable chimney balloon.
- A quarter inch gap around a door equals a softball size hole in your wall, use weather stripping around the door to plug that hole up.