by Scott Ranck
Florida winters are generally mild, but there are still some things you should be aware of in this season that impact your energy costs. Essential to understanding energy costs is to recognizing that wanting the inside temperature to be different than the outside costs money. Here are a couple differences we all desire that cost more in the colder and darker seasons.
When it is cold out and you desire the inside temperature to be warmer, you will have to pay either electric or gas charges to heat your home. The greater the difference in the temperature, the higher the cost. Comparing year to year is not very accurate because we have such diverse winters. I’ve seen from one January to the next as much as double the cost simply because of weather.
The shorter days of winter also require more lighting and generally more inside activities. Therefore, the cost associated with having more lights on for longer periods of time will influence your electric bill.
One final additional expense rarely considered in the winter months is that our ground water temperature drops. This means that your water heater must raise the temperature of the water more than in summer months, adding additional energy costs to maintain the same temperature.
Some saving tips within your control are to modify what you do inside. Each degree cooler will save you approximately 5% on your heating costs. Turning lights off, using timers or using less lighting can save you some money. Finally, if you are able, you can adjust your water heater temperature. 120° is the recommended setting, but I regularly see water heaters set at 135°. The average person showers in water around 100°, which requires blending the cold with the hot and wasting energy dollars.
For more energy saving tips, contact your energy experts at Florida Public Utilities www.fpuc.com/energyexpert.
Scott Ranck is the Conservation Program Coordinator & Energy Specialist for Florida Public Utilities. Feel free to e-mail any energy-related questions or comments to Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org.