How Does Cold Weather Affect Your Energy Bill?

The more difference there is between the temperature outside and the thermostat setting inside, the harder your heating system will work and the more energy it will use, even if you don’t turn the thermostat higher.

This is especially true for homes that don’t have enough insulation, homes with single-paned or aluminum-framed windows, and homes with a lot of air leaks around windows, doors, and plumbing & electrical boxes. UEC has a variety of energy saving rebates and programs to help you maximize your home's efficiency.

Ready to make upgrades but worried about the cost? UEC's Energy Saver Loan program and new Mobile Home Replacement Program might be able to help.

Ways to minimize your energy use during a cold snap:

  • Turn your thermostat down a few degrees. Each degree you lower it can save up to 2% on your heating bill. Set it even lower when you are away or asleep but be sure to keep your house at least 55 degrees at all times to prevent pipes from freezing and to avoid moisture problems. Smart thermostats can help you save by automatically adjusting your homes temperature. UEC offers a $100 rebate for qualifying thermostats.
  • Use portable space heaters wisely. Small space heaters are meant to do exactly as their name says: heat a small space. If you’re using a space heater to compensate for problems in your home, like inadequate insulation, drafty windows and exterior doors, or an inefficient heating system, space heaters are not a practical solution. Your best bet is to improve the overall efficiency of your home.

A word about safety: the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates more than 25,000 residential fires are associated with the use of space heaters every year. If you must use a space heater, purchase a newer model that includes the most current safety features and make sure it carries the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) label.

  • Get rid of drafts. If you feel cold air coming in, warm air is escaping. Keep windows and doors closed, and use caulk or weather stripping to seal leaks around windows, doors, and plumbing penetrations.
  • Cover your windows. Tight fitting, insulated window coverings can help minimize heat loss through the windows. Keep curtains and blinds closed unless the sun is shining directly on the glass. Ready to upgrade to energy efficient windows? UEC's weatherization rebate program can help cover the cost.
  • Check your furnace filters to see if they need to be cleaned or replaced. Dirty or clogged filters make your furnace work harder, increasing energy usage.
  • Check your insulation levels. If your home is poorly insulated, adding insulation will lower your energy bills. If you heat with electricity, ask us about rebates for insulation upgrades.
  • Upgrade your heating system. If you heat your home with electric resistant heat (electric furnace, baseboards, plug-in heaters, etc.), consider upgrading to a much more efficient heat pump or ductless heat pump.