The Chill from Winter Storm Grayson could scorch your wallet

The Chill from Winter Storm Grayson could scorch your wallet

The Chill from Winter Storm Grayson could scorch your wallet

It has been cold!

In fact, South Carolina has seen record setting bitter cold with snow and ice to boot.  Whether you love or hate this kind of weather, one thing is almost certain: If you heat your home with a heat pump, you will see an increase in your electricity bill.

You may say, “But I did not raise my thermostat” or “I was not even home most of the time,” but the real problem is that most people don’t understand exactly how a heat pump works. I used to be one of those people. I just thought if I want to be warmer, I will turn up the thermostat and if I want to be cooler, I will turn it down.

Treating your need to be hot or cold this way may not make a huge difference until you go seven or eight days straight with temperatures below 40 degrees. Myrtle Beach, along with many other areas, went from Jan.1 to Jan.7 with high temperatures around or below 40 degrees and many night time temperatures falling below 20 degrees.

It is very hard and expensive for a heat pump to keep your house comfortable while battling those temperatures.

Here is why: A heat pump extracts heat from the outside air and transfers it inside. When it’s below freezing, it is hard for your heat pump to work efficiently and it must use auxiliary/emergency strip heat to try and reach your thermostat setting. Even if you have your thermostat set around 68 degrees, your heat pump may run continuously to try to reach that desired temperature. Factors that can help are good insulation and having any air leaks sealed.

Because your heating and cooling accounts for about 50 percent of your monthly bill and because your heat pump may have run for several days without turning off, it is a good bet you will see higher usage for January. That will equate to higher bill.

Just remember, winter is far from over. You may have areas in your home or business that need small changes. These changes will help you heat your home or business more efficiently. We are here to help you. We offer energy saving tips and even loans and rebates for certain energy improvements. Contact us and we will be happy to help you make sure you are ready for the next cold snap.

Author Susan Mungo

Susan Mungo

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