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Cold Weather Energy Efficiency Tips

When temperatures fall, electric use rises - and bills are generally higher as a result. Even if nothing has changed inside your home or business, your home has to use more electricity to maintain the temperature inside when it gets colder outside.


Here are some tips to help you save electricity and money when winter weather moves in to South Texas.

  • Prevention. The best way to deal with high bills is to prevent them. Use SmartHub to monitor your electric use. This tool contains helpful weather data and allows you to compare present use to previous use in the same months, which are most likely to have similar weather.
  • Keep Warm Air In, Cold Air Out. Seal any gaps that create drafts in your home, and make sure you have adequate insulation. If you live in a pier and beam home or a mobile home, make sure there is insulation under the floor and proper skirting.
  • Settings. Keep your heater set at the Department of Energy recommended 68 degrees Fahrenheit when you are home. If you can turn it even lower, do so: every degree you drop the setting will save you money. When you are away from home for several hours or during the work day, turn your thermostat down so you aren't heating an empty house.
  • No Space Heaters. Avoid using space heaters. They are generally inefficient. The average space heater costs about 15 cents an hour in electricity to operate. That doesn't sound like much, but if you use a single space heater throughout the month, it could add $108 to your bill. If you have a home heating system, it is much more efficient to use than space heaters in individual rooms. If you have to use a space heater, limit it to one room and only use it while you are in the room. 
  • Avoid Extra Work for Your Water Heater. Water heaters are sometimes located outside of a home or along an outside wall. If that is the case in your home, your water heater is also having to work overtime to keep the water in the tank warm. Consider steps you can take to prevent the water heater from having to work against the cold to keep water in the tank warm. You may want to get a water heater blanket or put your water heater on a timer, so it only heats the water during times when you normally need hot water.


The outside temperature has a huge impact on electricity use inside your home. If the average temperature for the day is 68 and your heater is set on 68, it won't have to work as hard to keep up. But when the average temperature for the day is 45, your home heater has to work much harder to keep the inside of your home at 68. Nothing changed inside your home, but the weather changed outside. That leads to higher electricity use. You can see the impact low temperatures have on electric use in this graph at the left.





This infographic gives seven easy tips to better manage your electric use in the colder months:
INFOGRAPHIC: Don't Let Winter Bills Get You Heated


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