High Bills Tied to Temperature Extremes, Cold as Well as Hot

Conventional wisdom in the south assumes your highest electricity bills will come in summer when air conditioning becomes a necessity for comfort and, for some, survival. That wisdom, however, is no longer so conventional.

More and more homes and businesses lean on electricity for heating needs, too. And a good stretch of chilly weather with a few freezes thrown in can lead to bills that rival summer’s expected expense.

“Anytime we turn up the thermostat to either heat our homes or to cool them off, that means increased energy use which leads to higher bills,” said Vernon Pierce, vice president of customer service for Entergy Texas, Inc. “We want to help our customers understand that heating and air conditioning make up more than half of most energy bills.

“The best way to manage your electric usage during cold weather is to keep your thermostat set on 68 degrees. Each degree warmer will increase your bill by about 3 percent.”

Pierce added that the same steps Entergy recommends for cooling off your bills in summer apply to managing energy use in winter. Tips for making your home more energy efficient can be found at entergytexas.com/save money. Do-it-yourself videos will allow you to explore room by room and help you determine your best opportunities to save energy. Don’t forget our Entergy Solutions programs, either. Entergy works with vendors who help increase energy efficiency in qualified homes throughout its service area, often at no cost to you.

Meanwhile, some top tips for reducing your energy bill include the following:

·         Conserve hot water. Heating water is the second-largest energy user in homes. Insulating blankets for electric water heaters are inexpensive and available at home improvement stores. Also, set your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees or medium.

·         Seal air leaks and duct work. In the South, leaky ducts waste more energy than any other single item. Duct work should be airtight everywhere it attaches to vents, each other and the heating/cooling unit.

·         Manage widow shades and drapes. Optimize home heating and cooling by opening shades or drapes to allow sunlight in for radiant heating of your home in winter. Reverse the process in summer and close drapes against summer’s heat.

·         Keep your heating and air conditioning unit in good condition, making sure the return air filter is replaced or cleaned regularly.