Jan 22, 2021


How the Winter Chill Affects Your Bills

You use energy differently in the winter. A couple of simple home upgrades can help you stay warm and save.

Harsh winter weather is no surprise for Albertans, but the temperature drop makes a big difference when it comes to energy consumption.  

As things get chilly, we want to help keep your family warm — without getting burned by your energy bill.  Learn how to combat the cold and understand how it affects your home energy use.

Low temperatures mean higher energy consumption

To keep your home warm and toasty through the winter, it costs energy to generate heat. During a cold snap, it takes more energy to warm your household  — even if you don’t touch the thermostat.  

In Alberta, the average home uses a lot more natural gas and electricity during the winter. The colder it gets, the more energy you need to keep your home comfortable.  So, when temperatures drop down to -40°C for days on end, you can imagine the extra costs it takes to fight the freeze and heat your home. (We’re looking at you, 2019, with the coldest recorded February in decades.)  

Winter energy magnifiers

No one wants extra expenses, but shivering at home in tundra-like temperatures is not worth a few extra dollars saved. More heat energy is inevitable, but your home could be guzzling up energy in other ways.  

You're using energy differently during the winter

Alberta winters mean the days get colder and darker. Less natural light means your lights are switched on for longer. Colder days also call for longer, hotter showers that use up more of your utilities than usual. Besides that, improperly insulated homes and inefficient water heaters are notorious for devouring energy.  

Greater energy demand means higher prices

If your household is using more energy, you can bet that all your other neighbours — who are experiencing the same cold as you — are using more energy too. It’s a classic case of supply and demand: Higher demand means higher prices.  

At the end of the day, you're not the only one baking winter comfort food or relaxing in a warm evening bath. High usage in peak times across neighbourhoods increases demand and strains the supply system. Winter storms can also be culprits in disrupting energy generation or transmission.  

How to reduce your energy consumption in the winter

While there’s no avoiding the cold Alberta winter, you can control the way you consume energy. Here are some tips to help you curb your bill as much as possible.  

Install a smart thermostat

Instead of cranking up the temperature (and your energy bill too), consider getting a smart thermostat that maximizes your home’s energy efficiency. Our Rümi experts are happy to help you set up a new thermostat that gets your heating system working smart — not hard.  

Tune up your furnace

Save yourself energy costs and possible problems in the future by tuning up your furnace. Have a furnace specialist assess your system or install a new one that is more energy efficient. A tune-up can make a difference of up to 20% and add years to the life of your furnace.

Check your water heater

Limiting your morning shower a cappella can help, but checking your hot water tank will go further in saving you money on your energy bill.  

Your hot water tank can consume up to 25% of your home’s overall energy use. It’s important to get your water heater serviced regularly. If your tank is at the end of its lifecycle, consider replacing it with an environmentally and wallet-friendly tankless system. Make sure you get the job done right with reliable repair and replacement services.  

Insulate & seal your home

Like a balloon losing air, improperly insulated homes leak heat, which ends up costing even more to keep things warm.  Sealing up cracks where heat escapes, in addition to proper insulation, can save the load on your furnace and energy bill. Ask a Home Inspector at Rümi to set you up for winter by pinpointing those spots and offering recommendations.  

Winter is coming

Just as us Albertans prepare ourselves every year for harsh winter weather, it’s important to understand how the cold impacts everyone’s energy bills. What can you do to control your consumption?