Members are advised to always be careful when adjusting thermostat settings during cold weather. “It’s easy to accidentally activate the ’emergency heat’ setting,” says Garrett Gasque, one of the energy advisors at Horry Electric.
That ‘E’ is for ‘expensive’, says Gasque. Selecting ’emergency heat’ actually turns off your heat pump and turns on strip heating, which uses a lot of power, especially when it’s left on for a long time.
Horry Electric recommends making sure you carefully select the ‘heat’ setting and that you keep your thermostat as close to 68 degrees as possible to maximize energy savings and comfort. “If you’re chilly, put on a sweater or an extra layer of clothing,” suggests Gasque. “Anything to keep the system from struggling and running for a long time.”
A system running longer means more electricity is used.
Here’s how it works. The amount of energy used, called consumption, by furnaces, heat pumps or baseboard heaters is directly related to how long they run. Because they are connected to a thermostat, they run when the temperature drops a few degrees below the thermostat set point in your home. When the outside temperature is colder than normal, more heat is lost through the ceiling, walls, floors, and openings such as windows and doors. The thermostat senses this extra heat loss and operates the furnace more often to keep up with the heat loss. The longer the unit operates, the higher the energy consumption, which results in a higher electric bill.
“A spike of higher energy consumption due to colder weather can have a significant impact on your total bill, especially if extreme temperatures continue for several days” says Gasque.
So members won’t be totally surprised when the bill comes after a cold snap, Horry Electric has been and is continuing to proactively encourage everyone to get access to their account to view their personal energy use through MyEnergy Online. “Just go to our home page and click on theMyEnergy Online graphic,” says Gasque. “Once you get started, you’ll be on your way to taking control of your energy use.”
“It’s a powerful tool,” says Gasque. “The immediate feedback of seeing how much energy you use each day gives you a chance to alter your behavior and make changes before daily energy use adds up to a big electric bill.”
There isn’t much anyone can do about the weather, but we can each take control of our energy use. Visit horryelectric.com to learn more about the powerful tools available to members of Horry Electric.