The more difference there is between the temperature outside and the thermostat setting inside, the harder your heating system will work and the more energy it will use, even if you don’t turn the thermostat higher. This is especially true for homes that don’t have enough insulation, homes with single-paned or aluminum-framed windows, and homes with a lot of air leaks around windows, doors, and plumbing & electrical boxes.
If your energy use is higher than you expect, it might be weather-related. Comparing the average temperature during the month to the same month last year is one quick way to tell if the increase is weather-related.
You can calculate the average temperature for your specific billing period on Weather Underground.
|Average Temp for
Same month last year
for the Month
For example, the average temperature during November 2016 was 50 degrees, which is 7 degrees warmer than the average of 43 degrees in November 2015. This is likely to have resulted in a lower energy usage for you in November 2016 than in November 2015.
For a more precise look at how temperature affects your bill, you should use degree days.
A Degree Day (DD) is the difference between the average temperature for a day and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. If the difference is positive (if it’s warmer than 65), it’s called a Cooling Degree Day. If the difference is negative (if it’s cooler than 65), it’s a Heating Degree Day. In our area we have more Heating Degree Days than Cooling Degree Days, because the average temperature is below 65 more often than it is above 65.
Here’s an example: On November 28, 2016, the average temperature in Scappoose was 46 degrees. Taking 65 and subtracting 46, we get 19, so that day had 19 Heating Degree Days.
If you know the degree days in a month, you can compare it to other months to get a feel for how much warmer or colder it was. During months with a large number of heating degree days, you can expect your heating bills to be higher.
If your bill is unexpectedly high, give us a call at (503) 397-0590 to discuss it. We can review your energy usage patterns and talk with you about payment arrangements that you might qualify for. We can also help you figure out if a home energy evaluation would be a good step to take.
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