Why is my electric bill so high in the winter is a common question that thousands of people ask as we arrive to the cold months every year.
And there are many reasons of a high winter electricity bill, but the good news is that there are solutions that can minimize or even eliminate these reasons from taking effect.
I have more than ten years of experience in electrical engineering and energy management, and I have written this list in order to help you find out how to face such a situation and save some money that you can spend on other aspects of your life.
11 Reasons Why Your Electric Bill Is So High in The Winter
It’s Too Cold
Heating is one of the biggest energy consumers during the cold months of the year, and in some places, the temperature falls down drastically, which requires operating heating appliances such as space heaters, central heating, or air conditioners for long hours everyday.
And that causes the electric bill to get so high in the winter.
The reason you feel a sudden increase in the electric bill is because during autumn, you usually don’t need to operate the heating or the cooling systems, and then you start to use the heating systems that consume a lot of energy in winter, which is why your electric bill increases all of a sudden.
Try to adapt some of the ways that can reduce the heating costs such as turning it off when no one is there to benefit from it, and selecting the right system or device to heat the space based on the area and occupation.
Inefficient Use of Heating
Many people use the heating systems and appliances without being conscious about the way they use them, which leads to inefficient use of the heating system.
And the inefficient use of heating systems leads to significantly increase the electric bill during winter.
For example, you might use a space heater where an air conditioner or a central heating system could be more effective.
Or maybe, you tend to use the heating mode of the AC when you are alone in a big room, where you could use a small space heater instead and save some money, since IR space heaters can be efficient in some cases.
Or probably you keep the heating system working at full load when you could lower the temperature setting and still feel warm and comfortable.
Try to adopt habits for efficient use of heating systems such as using smart thermostats to regulate their operation, and set the system temperature as low and comfortable as possible.
No So Good Insulation
Having a bad insulation between the different rooms, or between the inside and the outside space, can lead to continuously losing the generated heat, which causes the heating system to keep operating at full load in order to substitute the lost heat, which then increases the electric bill during the cold months.
They also damage the walls and the painting over the years.
You can inspect the walls with an IR thermometer gun in order to find any areas where the insulation is poor and fix it.
Also, check out the sealing around the windows and doors and fix any possible gaps that would let the cold air to creep in.
Another recommendation is to close the outside window shutters for windows in rooms that are not in use, and at night for windows in all rooms.
And don’t forget to check the insulation of the basement and the attic as these could cause heat transfer with the different heated rooms, which leads to cooling down the different rooms and require the heating systems to operate longer and consume more electricity.
Keeping Doors Open
You might need to heat specific rooms where people reside, and not all the house, apartment, or office.
But if you keep the doors open between the heated rooms and other spaces, then the air will keep moving between them and the heating system would try to heat up all the place, which is another reason of consuming more electric energy in winter.
Keep the doors closed as much as you can, and in case that you or others keep forgetting or ignoring closing doors that are frequently used, then you can use an automatic door closer.
Also, you can use door sweeps in order to prevent the cold air from creeping to inside the heated spaces.
Long Dark Hours Require More Light
Since night starts earlier and you spend less time outside in winter, this means that you will need to use the lights for longer hours compared to other seasons.
And there’s no escape from that.
However, you can prevent lights from increasing the electric bill in winter by replacing the current lighting units with LED efficient ones, and by turning them off in rooms and spaces that are not occupied by anyone, as leaving the lights on wastes electricity.
And in case that people tend to forget some lighting unit on, then you can install a motion detector that will turn off the light when no one is there.
Also, if you have lights installed outside, then you would need to keep them on for longer hours in winter during the long nights.
Instead, install LED solar light kits and completely cut the electricity cost caused by external lighting in winter.
Water heating is another big electricity consumer during winter, as you need it to wash your hands, take showers, and to make hot drinks.
If you are using an electric water heater or even a boiler, then consult a specialist to see if you can install a solar water heater, which will still give you hot water during the cold weather, and save you money on the electricity bill.
And if you still need to use the electric water heater, then try not to keep it on 24/7 and turn it on only on intervals when you really need to use the hot water.
This is because when you keep it on during the day when you are at work, or during the late night hours when you are a sleep and you don’t need the hot water, what will happen is that the water heater will keep working in order to keep the water hot all the time, which leads to wasting electric energy.
Also, if your water heater is old, it might be cost effective to replace it with a more efficient Energy Star certified water heater.
Filters, Air Vents & Coils Need Cleaning
In case that you are to use the air conditioning system to heat the place, it might be that the filters of the AC and the air vents (in a case of a ducted system) need cleaning or replacing.
Unclean filters and air vents reduce the efficiency of the AC units and cause them to work at full load for longer hours in order to give the desired results, which then causes a high electric bill in the winter.
Keep a regular schedule of cleaning or replacing these parts as per the manufacturer recommendations, and depending on how fast they get dusty, which depends on the area they are installed in.
Also, the coils inside the indoor and the outdoor units of the AC system require cleaning on regular basis, for which you can call a qualified specialist.
Hot Water Leakage
Whether you are using an electric water heater or a boiler, any leakage in the hot water forces the water heating devices or pipes to work longer in order to substitute the lost hot water.
And even in case of a gas operated boiler, you still need the pumps to work in order to circulate the hot water around.
Test the hot water pipes, boiler, heater, radiators, and outlets and fix any leakage point.
In case that you are using ducts to distribute hot air into different areas or rooms, it might be that the duct has some cracks from which the hot air escapes, and that requires longer hours of operation at full load until the air reaches the thermostat setting temperature.
If you feel a sudden decrease in the speed of heating a certain room, this might be a reason, and you might consider calling a specialist to inspect the air duct for you.
Also, it is recommended to make inspecting the ducts part of the regular maintenance of the air conditioning system.
Poor Heater, Boiler and Pipes Insulation
Another reason whey your water heating system keeps working and consuming a lot of electric energy during winter is the poor insulation, whether for the electric heater, the boiler, or the hot water pipes.
This poor insulation in the water heating system increases your electric bill in winter in a similar way that the poor insulation of the walls does with the air or space heating system.
Inspect all the components of the hot water system and fix any broken or missing insulation.
Peak Hour Usage
Many electric energy providers have a peak hour tariff plans, which means that you get charged a higher rate for electricity during certain hours of the day or night where everybody is using more electricity.
And it might be that during winter, you start using more electricity during these hours compared to your usage during same hours in other seasons.
Check out the billing details on your electric bill or on the website of the electricity company, and see if they apply this system, and if so, then try to shift as many of the electricity consuming activities to outside these hours in order to reduce your electric bill in winter.
Wrong Electric Bill
This could be another cause of getting an abnormally high electric bill during winter, as the electricity company employee might register a wrong value that is higher than the reading.
If you have a doubt that this is the reason, then try to read the electric meter and see if the registered value on the bill is much higher than the actual reading.
If this is the case, you can contact the company through a complaint letter for the high electricity bill and they should review it and correct the bill.
Conclusion – Prevent a High Electric Bill in Winter
With this list of eleven possible reasons why your electric bill is so high in the winter, you can now be more conscious of your usage of electric energy, and of the possible issues with the appliances and the components of your electric system.
Go through the above list one by one again and try to examine and find the reasons that might apply in your case, and follow the suggested recommendations, in addition to these tips for lowering electricity bills in winter.
If you still need help or have any question about this topic, then please, leave it in the comments’ section below, and I will do my best to help you out asap.
And if you found this information helpful, then feel free to share it with others who might benefit from it 🙂