Lisa Explains: Winter bills are always higher

I have an old, leaky house with baseboard heaters, so it’s obvious why my bill goes up in the winter. It gets cold and I turn on the heaters that use more energy.

I learned a lot about winter energy bills by watching this video I found on Avista’s website.

Some people in the Pacific Northwest have furnaces that kick in when it gets to be a certain temperature in the house. The furnace will turn itself on more frequently and stay on longer to maintain the inside temperature. Home heating costs generally account for 40 to 60% of energy bills during the winter months. If there are three days or more that are 10 to 15 degrees colder than usual, the house will use 25 to 50% more energy.

Winter months mean having more people in your house. The kids are home from school, guests come to stay and more people are using lights, hot water, chargers, laundry, dishwashing and there are more people to cook for. Hot water accounts for about 14% of your winter bill.

There are some tricks you can use to help save energy during the winter. Turn your thermostat down three degrees to use less energy. Make sure leaks around doors and windows are sealed. Don’t use your fireplace when it’s very cold outside to keep the heat from escaping through the chimney. Limit using ventilators in the kitchen and bathroom that also help the heat escape.

We also have very short days in the winter, which means we are using a lot more energy when we turn our lights on.

One thing I always make sure I do during the winter months is monitor my bill on When I log in, the website tells me how much energy I have used so far during this billing cycle, how it compares to last year and how many more days I have left of the cycle. That way I have no surprises when my bill is due.

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.  Over the last two years, Lisa shared her experience on taking some simple do-it-yourself improvements to inspire others. Now, she’s highlighting helpful information you can find on the Avista website.

Find more information about winter billing.

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  1. Heating Season
  2. Lisa Explains
  3. Winter