At Home with Lisa: Why homes use more energy in the winter

The weather outside has turned and knowing how typical winters in the Inland Northwest are, it’s going to stay cold for a long time.

For me, in my old house, this means my bills are going to be higher. But it’s not just the bill amount I notice – I know I’m using more energy. Avista’s website has some useful information to help explain why.

The colder temperatures mean that I’m running my baseboard heaters and my space heaters. The cost of heating makes up about 40 to 60% of my winter bill. Baseboards and space heaters can use more energy because they are harder to regulate. If you have a fireplace, make sure the damper is closed when you aren’t using it.

Drafts can take all the heat out of your home during the winter. Make sure you have sealed around the windows, air ducts and doors to help minimize these drafts.

The number of days in the billing cycle also makes a difference. Each cycle can vary from 27 to 35 days, depending on how many days are in the month, what days weekends and holidays land on, and depending on where you live, the accessibility of the meter.

In November and December, we do extra cooking and have over guests who use extra electricity and hot water for their showers, laundry and dishes, because of the holidays. The kids are home from school during the holidays and use more electricity during the day than when they are at school.

It gets dark early, and on the shortest days, this can be as earlier than 4 p.m. Early sunsets mean we are using more electricity to keep the lights on.

Avista’s website also has information about energy assistance, flexible due dates and comfort-level billing, if you are struggling with your higher energy bill during the winter.

Lisa, an Avista customer, bought her 1910 house because she loved the old-world character, some of which doesn’t make her house very energy efficient. Lisa is sharing her experience on taking some simple do-it-yourself improvements to inspire others to do the same. You’ll find her stories right here every Tuesday morning.

Learn more about your winter bill.

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  1. At Home with Lisa
  2. Energy Saving
  3. Winter