Electric rates have been relatively stable for so long that many of us take the value of electricity for granted. When we come home from work or play, we step inside the door and flip the light switch without a second thought. In the kitchen, the refrigerator quietly cools and the electric stove or microwave oven heats our food without fanfare.
After dinner, we turn on the television, stereo, or computer for entertainment. Many of us take a steamy hot bath or shower with water heated by an electric water heater. Most of us sleep peacefully, knowing we will be protected with our security lighting outside and that we will be awakened by our radio in the morning. Thankfully, the automatic coffee maker will already have the coffee ready to help us face a new day.
Considering the current high cost of oil, gasoline, propane, and other fuels, electricity is a tremendous value.
As home heating costs for natural gas, heating oil, and propane were expected to increase anywhere from 30 to 48 percent this winter, electric rate increases were predicted at only 5 percent nationally.
Is this rise in propane and fuel oil prices making you nervous? Don’t sweat it! Heating and cooling your home or business with electricity means you can take advantage of stable prices year-round.
Comparing energy costs will show how much you could save by using electric heat. Heating and cooling with electricity always brings more value, because it is simply more efficient.
For example: since an electric furnace does not lose any heat through a chimney, it is often rated as being 100 percent efficient. That’s not the case with other fuels.
A furnace’s efficiency is measured by annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE). The Federal Trade Commission requires new furnaces or boilers to display their AFUE so consumers can compare heating efficiencies of various models.
Specifically, AFUE is the ratio of heat output of the furnace compared to the total energy consumed by a furnace. An AFUE of 90 percent means that 90 percent of the energy in the fuel becomes heat for the home and the other 10 percent escapes up the chimney and elsewhere.
Since an all-electric furnace has no loss through a chimney, the AFUE rating for an all-electric furnace is between 95 and 100 percent.
And electricity offers you an even more efficient heating option. That’s right. There are even more ways to reduce your electric bill.
Heat pumps are the most energy-efficient means of heating and cooling a building—with efficiencies up to 400 percent!
Because they move heat rather than generate heat, a heat pump can deliver four times as much heating or cooling capacity as a 100 percent efficient unit, so you get four times the value for every kilowatt-hour you purchase.
Heat pumps are actually a heating and cooling system all in one unit. Several different types and sizes of electric heat pumps exist, giving you a variety of options. Your local electric cooperative can help you decide which system will work best for your home or business.
Basically, heat pumps use the constant temperatures of soil, air, or water to provide efficient heating and cooling year-round.
For example, a ground-source heat pump uses the earth’s constant temperature to provide cooling and heating. During the winter, heat is moved into your house. During the summer, the heat is moved out.
There are oodles of other options, too, that make electricity a flexible heating and cooling option.
Whatever electric heating option you choose, you’ll always have the comfort of knowing that it’s the best value.