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Prepare for Cold Snap Coming Soon

 Prepare for Cold Snap Coming Soon

February 8, 2021

Sam Houston Electric Cooperative urges members to follow local weather forecasts for information on a strong cold front expected in our area later this week and lasting into next week.

An unusually long stretch of cold weather may make your home feel uncomfortable, and lead to higher energy use.

There is no single component that contributes more to increased electric bills than heating in the winter. Weather, inefficiency and home habits determine how big your bill will get. Below are some tips for fighting those factors.


Keeping your home within a fairly consistent internal temperature range means your heating system has to work harder when the temperature gap between the exterior and interior of your home increases.

If you have your home’s thermostat set at 70 degrees and the temperature outside is 50, for example, your system must only adjust for a 20-degree variance. However, when the temperature drops to 30 degrees outside, your system now must compensate for a 40-degree difference.

You can’t control the weather, but you can control your home’s thermostat setting. The smaller the gap between that setting and the outdoor temperature, the less electricity your heating system will use.


Wasted energy due to a home’s inefficiency can contribute to an electric bill being higher than expected. Combined with a very cold winter, inefficiency is a double whammy for winter electric bills.

The older your home is, the more likely it is to have air leaks and insufficient insulation. Seal up cracks and gaps, and make sure the attic has sufficient insulation.

An older or poorly maintained heating, ventilating and air conditioning system will also elevate energy use. Be sure to perform regular maintenance, including frequently changing filters.

Home Habits

If your thermostat is typically set to 75 degrees in the winter, consider layering clothing and lowering the setting to achieve comparable comfort. And make sure you lower the thermostat even further at night when you’re snuggled up under the covers.

You should also pay attention to the temperature setting on your water heater (120 degrees is optimal for efficiency); your refrigerator should be set to 34–37 degrees and the freezer between zero and 5 degrees.

Simple things like washing clothes in cold water and only doing full loads will increase efficiency. Full loads for the dishwasher should also be the norm. Turn off lights when you leave a room, and switch out less efficient bulbs for long-lasting, high-efficiency LED bulbs.

Visit our blog for additional tips and information or click here for 101 Ways to Save in English or in Spanish.

Monitor Energy Use

Remember to use your mySamHouston account or the mySamHouston app to track your home's energy use to help prevent unexpectedly high bills. You can even set account alerts to notify you if your home's use goes beyond a custom level set by you. If you need assistance setting up your mySamHouston account, call 800-458-0381.