Tuesday, November 30, 2010

December temperatures can be tough in SW Missouri!

While winter officially gets its start on December the 21st, I’ve always felt that it really started on the first and then lasted through the 28th of February. As you can see in the graph above we get some pretty cold December nights even this far south in the mid section of the country. Note that the data was obtained from a Davis weather station located just north of Branson, Mo.

My energy usage for 2009 in kilowatt hours was 2070 KWh, which I felt was a bit on the high side. As I pay about ten cents per KWh, that meant a bill over $200 for the month! If you average out the power, it equates to an average expenditure of 66.8 KWh per day. The year before (2008) I used 1878 KWh although that month was pretty average coming in at a mean temperature of 35.7F. while 2009 was a much colder 33.6F.

Since I heat my home with an air heat pump (which work in temperatures only down to a certain point), I know that the auxiliary heat will come on whenever the outside temperature hits about 35F. That’s pretty often for December, so one of my plans will be to use space heaters in the living area and bedroom to supplement the heat pump. The theory being that by using space heaters which are more efficient at delivering warm air to a particular room than the heat pump is, I will actually be saving some energy. That’s the theory anyway. The trade off will be to keep the need to keep the house thermostat set to a low number (perhaps 70F) which will insure the other rooms that do not have space heaters will be pretty cold. I’ll see how that actually works out as I go through the month which starts tomorrow.

The other affirmative action measures I have taken have been to cover some windows with 3M plastic insulation and to make sure that unnecessary electrical devices are turned off. I’ll follow up with a report at the end of the first week to report on how I’m doing.  

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