Cold Snap Triggers Spike in Local Energy Use
The unusually cold start to 2018 has resulted in higher than normal energy use by members of Nolin RECC and other utilities across the region. Nolin is encouraging members to be aware of their energy use and take steps to help manage electric bills, which are also expected to be higher than usual as a result of increased usage.
There are many simple, do-it-yourself ways to make your home more energy efficient, says Nolin RECC energy services coordinator Todd Drake. “One of the biggest things you can do is to add insulation to your home to bring it up to current standards,” says Drake. “Another simple way to improve energy efficiency is to reduce air leakage into your home. Caulk or seal all cracks including holes around electrical or plumbing.” Drake also recommends to clean or replace your heating and cooling system’s air filter on a regular basis.
Nolin also offers a variety of billing and payment options such as levelized budget billing and the residential Prepay program. Through the residential Prepay program, members are encouraged to check their usage daily. Even members that are set up on a traditional monthly bill can access their daily or monthly usage through mobile and web apps by visiting www.nolinrecc.com and clicking on the SmartHub link.
Weather, especially cold weather, affects residential energy bills more than any other factor. Heating claims about a 42 percent share of overall energy use in U.S. homes. Put simply, the temperature difference between the inside of your home and the air temperature outside is greater during the winter than in the summer.
The greater the temperature difference, the harder your heating system has to work to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. For example, if you want your house to be 70 degrees inside and it’s 20 degrees outside, your HVAC system has to make up 50 degrees difference in temperature. Even on a 100-degree summer day, the HVAC system only has to make up about 30 degrees difference versus that 50-degree variance in winter.
Electric cooperatives across Kentucky are reporting double-digit increases in energy use compared to this same period one year ago, which also experienced colder than normal temperatures.