Winter Tips

Seeing higher than normal bills during the winter? 1 of the questions we keep hearing from members is why their bills are so high when they haven’t changed their thermostat or their energy habits.

Did You Know?

heat pump thermostatHeat pumps work by pulling outside air into the unit extracting any existing warmth from the air (called ambient air) and transferring that warmth into the inside of your home. The colder the air outside, the less warmth there is, so the harder the heat pump has to work to reach your thermostat setting.

When outside temperatures are below freezing, your heat pump runs more frequently and uses something called auxiliary/emergency heat to reach the setting on your thermostat. Even if you have your thermostat set to 68, there is a good chance your heat pump will have to work harder to reach 68 degrees inside your home (this varies from house to house based on factors like insulation, air infiltration, and the age of the heat pump).

This causes the heat pump to run continuously and use auxiliary heat, which adds up quickly since heating/cooling accounts for approximately 50% of your monthly bill.

Remember, heat pumps are very efficient; however, even with lowered thermostat settings and other energy-saving measures, people need to be aware the increased amount of work placed on all heating systems during extremely cold weather will require more electricity. To avoid “sticker shock” when winter heating bills arrive, you can pay on your electric account anytime you like; you don’t have to wait until the bill arrives in the mail or your email inbox.

In the video below, Todd Moore from Pee Dee Electric sits down to discuss ways to remain energy efficient in the winter months.

Tips for Controlling Winter Heating Bills:

  • Set your thermostat to 68°F (or lower if comfortable) when people are home and lower the setting a few degrees when they are away.
  • If you have to raise the temperature on your thermostat, only raise it 1 or 2 degrees at a time, depending upon your thermostat. Anything above that will cause the auxiliary heat to come on.
  • Keep drapes and shades open on sunny winter days to allow the sun’s rays to warm your home during the day. Close them at night to keep the heat inside.
  • Run ceiling paddle fans on low (when you are home) and reverse the rotation to blow air up in winter. This keeps warm air circulating without cooling you.
  • Keep registers and vents clear to allow air to flow freely.
  • Change your air filters. A clogged filter makes the heating system work even harder.
  • Set your water heater temperature no higher than 120°F.