I look forward to the spring and fall utility bills every year. Some years I don’t see as significant of a decrease as others. Why is that?

I look forward to the spring and fall utility bills every year. Some years I don’t see as significant of a decrease as others. Why is that?

I look forward to the spring and fall utility bills every year. Some years I don’t see as significant of a decrease as others. Why is that?

The quick answer is weather and related energy usage. Forty to 50 percent of a homes energy usage is considered weather load. Everything else in our home (refrigerators, freezer, lights, electronics and different appliances) is considered base load

Another way to think of your home’s base load is what is on all the time regardless of the weather outside. So, in the summer and winter when extra items are running (like air conditioners, heaters or space heaters) your energy bills go up, and in the spring and fall energy bills have a tendency to go down because we don’t typically run extra things. We estimate that as much as 40 to 50 percent of your monthly bills are determined by the weather load.

The weather really does drive savings. Some months you can save quite a bit when the weather is considered mild. But, if we get a brutal winter or summer, the savings just won’t be there unless you are diligent in practicing energy savings. Some days at the front of a billing cycle with brutal weather can differ from days at the tail end of the cycle that was milder. 

For example in April when you get your bill for March usage to think about what the temperature was at the beginning of March. You can even view historical temperatures on several weather websites. 

However, my favorite resource is Smarthub. It is actually a co-op resource and free for all of our members. You can access SmartHub at www.freestate.coop or the mobile app.

SmartHub allows you to view your usage by month or by day, including viewing a whole year of usage or comparing individual months. You can also add weather information to usage data (see below) in the chart settings menu. The weather line for average temperature as well as highs and lows will show how it affects your usage (weather load). I encourage you to start utilizing SmartHub to understand your home’s energy usage patterns and how weather can make an impact. 

The graph below was created using the SmartHub desktop application. Using the desktop will also allow members to utilize interactive features that will give more specific data. For example, on the interactive desktop hovering over points along the lines on the graph will pull up additional information like average temperature for the month. 

The household shown in the graph does not utilize electric heat in the winter. You can see those winter months are below the blue (cold) line because this graph is only tracking electric energy consumption. However, we do see the increase in the summer months due to air conditioning. 

SmartHub is a valuable FREE tool you can use to determine patterns and identify trends in usage.