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Q: Why is my bill so high when I wasn’t even home last month? (March, 2014)

We get this question a lot regarding unoccupied homes in the winter time If you are keeping the heat on low in your home or cabin to keep the pipes from freezing when you are gone, be aware of the cost. Most thermostats only go down to about 55 degrees. That will save you about 10% compared to an occupied temperature of 70, but that means that your power bill will reflect the remaining 90% of the heating cost. 

It may pay to ask your plumber if there are alternate ways to keep the pipes in your house from freezing. Some questions to ask are:

1. Can the plumbing be modified so the pipes can be drained for the winter?  How much would this cost?

2. Would putting a low-wattage heater in my bathroom and kitchen offer enough freeze protection if I turned off my central heating system?

3. If you are running a heater in a pump house, can you increase insulation levels and switch to a heat lamp plugged into a thermocube?

Every house is different, so it is important to have your situation evaluated by a professional to avoid frozen pipes. Once you have a recommendation, our member services team can help you estimate what the energy costs would be. Keep in mind that each 1500-watt electric heater will use between $0 and $95 per month depending on how often it cycles (anywhere from 0 to 24 hours per day).

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