What contributes the most to the cost of an electric bill?

Heating and cooling contribute the most to your electric bill. In extreme cold, heating systems work longer and harder, and often have to use back-up heat after temperatures drop below a certain point. This increases the largest contributor of your electric bill, resulting in a higher-than-normal electric bill. During extreme cold temperatures, sometimes people will use a stand-alone space heater. Space heaters use approximately 1,500 watts or 1.5 kilowatts. If that space heater runs consistently for 12 hours daily it adds roughly $2.25 per day or about $67.50 or more for the month.

General Guidance

  • Adjust the thermostat setting while you are asleep or away. Using a programmable thermostat allows flexibility and adds convenience, as temperatures will automatically return to normal before you wake or return home.
  • Up to 25% of air is lost through small cracks and holes. Seal air leaks in ducts, walls, windows and doors, and close fireplace dampers when not in use.
  • Check heating and cooling system air filters monthly to ensure the system is operating most efficiently and change them two to three times annually.



  • During the winter, set the thermostat to the lowest comfortable temperature (recommended 68 degrees).

  • Every degree you raise your thermostat in the winter above the recommended settings can add three to five percent to heating costs.

  • During heating season, remember to adjust in increments of 2 degrees when you awake or come home to avoid causing the back up heat to come on.

  • Refrain from using space heaters as a supplemental heating source, as they can significantly increase your electric bill.


  • During the summer set the thermostat to the highest comfortable temperature (recommended 78 degrees).

  • In the summer, every degree you lower your thermostat below the recommended settings can add three to five percent to cooling costs.