Simple Tips to Dial in Savings
December, January, and February are peak months for residential and seasonal electricity use at Northern Lights Inc. That means NLI members’ bills are often higher as well.
Heating is the biggest contributor to the increase. Think about how much energy it takes to heat your house to 67 degrees when it is 20 degrees outside, and then keep it at that temperature all day.
If you have air conditioning, in the summer you are typically looking at a much smaller temperature variance—90 degrees outside and cooling your home to 75 degrees.
Other factors during peak months include:
- Using lights longer because we spend more time indoors in the winter and have less daylight.
- Holiday breaks from school and work mean more time spent at home, especially this year with many things closed or limited due to COVID-19 precautions.
- More cooking, showers, watching TV, hours of lights being on, and charging devices all add extra energy use.
But there are ways to cut back use this winter and save on your NLI bill:
- Set your heat to 67 degrees or cooler if you are comfortable at a lower temperature.
- If possible, only heat the rooms you use.
- Set a schedule on your thermostat to heat to a lower temperature at night. Smart thermostats can detect when you are in a room and go in standby mode at a lower temperature when no one is home.
Check around windows and doors for drafts. Many can be reduced or eliminated with a few simple tools:
- Add weather stripping or caulk around windows and doors.
- Keep your curtains or blinds closed when it is not sunny to help add insulation to the window.
- Install a door sweep to minimize heat loss. A ¼-inch gap at the bottom of an external door is equivalent to a softball-sized hole in a wall.
- If you have a fireplace, close the damper on your chimney when not in use.
When evaluating your bill, consider that shops, heated outbuildings, outdoor hot tubs, and RVs use more energy in the winter. Also, note the number of days in the billing cycle. This could make your bill higher compared to previous bills due to variation in the number of days in the month and timing of weekends and holidays.
NLI members can check SmartHub at our website or use the app for information on historical energy use on your account. You may discover something about your energy use patterns.
Northern Lights Engineering & Operations Manager Kristin Mettke is an electrical engineer and has worked in the electric utility industry most of her career.