You might notice that your electricity bill in the winter is usually higher than it is in the summer. This all comes from your HVAC system. If you do an annual recap, you will see that heating costs dominate up to 50% of your bill, while cooling only take up a quarter to one-third as much.
So, why does heating cost so much more than cooling? Is there a trick to staying warm in the winter without spending too much money? And how can you become more energy efficient while saving money?
The First Reason: Temperature Difference
Your HVAC system works by adjusting the outdoor temperature to your desired level. The higher the temperature difference, the harder your machine needs to work to achieve its goal. And generally speaking, winter has more extreme temperatures than summer.
For example, the coldest day of the year in Texas reaches 41 degrees while the hottest day recorded in the same year is 96 degrees. The most comfortable indoor temperature for most Americans is 75 degrees. That means their HVAC system needs to raise the temperature by 34 degrees in the winter and lower it by 21 degrees in the summer. Therefore, your system needs to work harder in the winter than in the summer.
The temperature difference is more extreme the farther your location is from the equator. The closer you are to the equator, the warmer the climate is. The closer you are to one of the poles, the colder it typically will be.
The Second Reason: The Process
Cooling is technically easier, since the machine removes heat from indoor air, moves it out to the exterior unit, and releases it outside. The heating system is more complicated. The machine has to convert electrical energy into heat energy and release it inside your house. Even if the temperature gap in your location is about the same between summer and winter, the process of producing heat will consume more energy than transferring it out.
Tips to Cut Down on Heating Costs
While it makes sense that heating costs more than cooling your house, that doesn’t mean there is nothing you can do about it. Here are some tips to stay warm in the winter with a lower electricity bill:
- Opt for Energy Star technologies. Energy Star-rated appliances use less energy to deliver the same result as other appliances.
- Try using a heat pump because it is more energy-efficient than the conventional heating systems commonly used in American households.
- Lower your thermostat setting and put on warm clothes to compensate for it. This trick can save you up to 13% on energy.
- Close your fireplace damper when it is not in use, so the warm indoor air does not flow out of your chimney.
- Use a fan to circulate warm air through the room rather than relying completely on the heating machine.
- Add insulation to your home because it can keep the warm air in and cold air out.
- Open your curtains on sunny days to allow the heat from the sun into your house to warm it up.
Yes, higher heating costs are unavoidable during the winter. But if you come up with a smart energy plan for your house and follow these tips, you can save yourself some money.