How Does Cold Weather Affect Your Electricity

Dec 22, 2022 | Energy Conservation

Winter is here. At least that’s what the month on the calendar and the cooler temperatures suggest. It’s that time of the year when people are concerned about how the cold weather can affect their monthly expenses, especially the electric bill. Let’s explore how colder weather affects your electricity usage, whether it results in higher bills, what can lead to the dreaded outages as we had experienced with winter storm Uri, and more.

 

Does Cold Weather Affect Electricity Usage?

Let’s just answer this question straight away. Yes, electricity usage does go up as the temperature goes down. It takes more energy to heat your home when the temperature falls. So, if your home uses electricity to produce heat, it’s nearly a guarantee that you will use more electricity during the colder winter months. How much more? That depends on how cold it gets. As the difference between the temperature outside and your thermostat setting increases, more energy is required to bridge that gap.

 

If your home is low on insulation or you have drafty windows or doors with a lot of air leaks, your furnace will have to work even harder. That’s why we recommend everyone spend some time checking their home in the fall for ways to prepare their home for winter.

 

Does Cold Weather Cause Electricity Power Outages?

Extreme weather, especially freezing cold, can significantly affect access to electricity. Most power lines are above ground and vulnerable to the elements. Storm conditions such as heavy wind or ice storms may cause ice to accumulate on power lines and bring them down or cause poles to break and stop energy distribution. While solar panels don’t care if it’s cold (as long as they have sunlight, they’ll generate electricity), wind turbines may be susceptible to wind or damage if ice forms on the blades.

 

Combine increased demand with decreased production and you have the makings for a stressed electrical grid that can’t keep up, leading to outages. That’s what happened during winter storm Uri. The Texas power got stressed beyond capacity, gave out, and resulted in millions without power and hundreds dead.

 

Tips to Reduce Your Electricity Use When It’s Cold

When the temperature goes down, reducing your electricity usage is an excellent way to keep your bills down and reduce your demand on the grid. Our favorite strategies for minimizing your energy use are as follows.

 

Resist the urge to turn up the heater and turn the thermostat down a few degrees. Each degree you reduce may save you 2% on your heating costs. Grab a sweater and some warm socks instead. If you head out of town for a few days, you can drop it down to 55 degrees. But don’t shut it off entirely to avoid returning home to frozen pipes.

 

Use a portable space heater if you reduce your thermostat but still want to warm up a small room. They’re small and efficient — most space heaters use around 1,500 watts of electricity, whereas an electric furnace can use ten times more.

 

Seal up the drafts. If you feel air coming in along windows or doors, replace the weather stripping or use caulk or other draft-reduction tools to keep the warm air in and cold air out.

 

Draw the curtains and shut the blinds. Covering your windows can reduce heat loss through the windows.

 

Replace your furnace filters regularly. This task isn’t exclusive to cold weather situations, but as long as you’re on a roll, you may make sure your filters are within date so your furnace can operate efficiently. Dirty filters make it work harder than it has to and use more electricity. 

 

Add insulation where needed. Generating heat is one of the most energy-intensive activities, so if you’re letting heated air escape, it’s not far from throwing money out the window. Check the attic and strengthen any weak points.

 

Get a Great Rate On Winter Electricity With Energy Texas

We’re all prone to using more electricity when the temperatures fall. There’s no getting around the fact that we need to stay warm. But by taking a few simple steps to optimize your energy use, you can keep your increased use —and bills — to a minimum.

 

The other way to enjoy a low monthly electric bill is with a low, fixed-rate from Energy Texas. We have straightforward plans with the competitive pricing you want and the excellent customer service you deserve. Not to mention a bunch of Texas-sized benefits like bill credits, smart devices, gift cards, and more!

Residential plan additions like our Giddy Up Guarantee, Freedom Flex, and Solar Buy Back offer you even more ways to save. Whether you want to go green or just need a fair electric rate, we’ve got a plan for you. Enter your zip code below to see how delightful electricity service can be with Energy Texas — even if the weather outside is frightful.

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