Why is my electricity bill higher in cold weather?


As we officially settle in for colder, shorter days, we often find that our habits change, too. We spend more time at home and indoors, making soup and watching movies. People automatically switch into hibernation mode. And that’s great! It’s the natural rhythm of things and it’s good to take some time to slow down, get cozy and recuperate after the summer season.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that there’s a good chance your electricity bill is going to be higher in cold weather. As electricians, people often tell us that they are surprised to find this unexpected increase on their bills, so it’s good to plan ahead and to do what you can to reduce your usage and costs. This article will look at exactly why your electricity bill is higher in the winter and what you can do to keep costs from getting out of control. So, why is my electricity bill higher in cold weather?

There are a few key reasons why electricity bills rise in the winter, especially in a place like Vancouver.

Reasons Why Electricity Bill Is Higher In Cold Weather

Reasons Why Electricity Bill Is Higher In Cold Weather

1. The days are shorter.

Up until the winter solstice in December, the days have less and less natural light. So what do we do? We turn the lights in our homes on earlier and keep them on longer to compensate for the lack of sunshine.

2. It’s colder outside

This, of course, means that we turn on the heat, plug-in (energy-sucking) space heaters, boil more water for tea, keep the oven on to bake warm things and the stove on longer as we cook soup. We have more baths and longer, hotter showers. Basically, anything we can do to keep warm in the winter causes our energy bills to rise.

3. We need more entertainment.

Since the days are shorter and colder, we naturally stay indoors more often and for longer and we’re not just going to stare at the wall watching the paint peel, are we? We’re probably going to turn on the TV or the computer, constantly open the fridge to find snacks, play music more often, and finally get around to doing things like deep cleaning, which means using the vacuum and running the washing machine and dryer.

4. More People Use Electricity At The Same Time

We’re not the only ones. Winter strikes everyone all the same in Vancouver, it’s the great equalizer. And the more people that use more electricity at the same time, the more it can cost. When electricity consumption increases in the winter, generators have to supply more electricity to keep up with the demand. In general, electricity prices in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland are fairly stable, but if there is a massive demand all at once (thanks to something like a prolonged cold snap), the base cost you see on your bill can fluctuate.

How To Save On Electricity Bill When It Is Cold?

Things like the temperature, the weather and the changing of the seasons are obviously out of our control, we are at the whim of Mother Nature. But what we can control is our behaviour, and there are plenty of things we can do to keep our electricity usage, and our costs, down.

1. Bundle up

Instead of cranking up the heat the second it gets chilly, take a look at what you’re wearing. Pull out the warm blankets and keep them on the couch and at the foot of the bed for the season, add another sweater layer and throw on a pair warm socks and slippers and you’ll find yourself warming up without having to heat the whole house.

2. Lights out

Careless use of lights and lighting can result in higher electricity bills and watching our habits here is one of the simplest things we can do to help curb our usage and costs. Make sure your bulbs are all high efficiency and consider putting timers on lights, especially festive ones if they’re up already. Get into the habit of turning off lights in rooms no one is in and try getting used to have low lighting in the evening. Try lighting some candles and keeping a lamp on instead basking in the full light show.

3. Seal it up

One of the sneakiest ways the cold gets into and the heat escapes from our homes, is by having unsealed openings around windows, chimneys and door frames. Taking time to seal up any spots that feel drafty to the touch will do wonders for keeping the heat inside, reducing the need to turn up the heat.

4. Consume less

It’s really that simple. There are so many ways we can be savvy consumers in everything we do, and this, in turn, will reduce our energy costs. We can:

  • Invest in energy efficient appliances and upgrade your windows. Watch for government rebates to save extra money
  • Plug our electronics and devices into a power bar and turn the power off when, not in use
  • Consider whether or not we really need that space heater or that second, old, energy-draining fridge to keep the beer cold
  • Put our thermostat on a timer and let the house be cool during the day and at night or when we’re away

Of course, it depends on your personal situation, but there are things we can all do to keep our users and costs down. Naturally, our electricity bills might rise in the cold, dark, rainy months of the infamous Vancouver winters, but we can employ strategies to get through without breaking the bank. If you’d like to speak to an experienced electrician about your bill or ideas to keep your costs down, give us a call at BPM. We are always happy to help.