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CHANGING THE CURRENT

CHANGING THE CURRENT

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Craig Muccio

About "Ask the Energy Expert"

Craig Muccio runs FPL's Conservation Research & Development Program and crunches the numbers to figure out how you can save by managing your energy use.

Your questions on energy-related topics can be submitted anytime to our Ask the Energy Expert blog. Just click here to submit your question, and if chosen, it will be answered here

Heating your home

By Craig Muccio

Asked on: January 5, 2015 by Anne T., Fort Pierce

We are new to the area and new to central A/C. In December, we had some cold days and turned the heat on. The increase in our bill was substantial. Does heating use that much more energy than the A/C?

Hi Anne, welcome to Florida! Yes, the typical air conditioner in most Florida homes is more efficient when it comes to cooling, compared to heating. In fact, it can cost two to three times more to heat vs. cool your home. Here’s why:

About 85 percent of homes have a straight cool air conditioner with electric resistance heating elements, also known as “heat strips.” Those elements work very much like a hair dryer by moving air over hot coils. Most homes have a ten kilowatt heat strip, which costs a typical FPL customer about $1 each time the heater runs for a full hour. 

Heating alternative – heat pump systems
If you use the heater frequently, you might want to consider a heat pump air conditioning system as an alternative the next time you need to replace your A/C. These systems heat more efficiently and can help you save money if you live in a colder part of the state, or if you run the heat often in the winter. In fact, those who use heat frequently could save up to $75 per year heating with a heat pump system compared to a standard A/C system.

Saving money when it gets cold
We recommend you consider your location and temperature preferences when deciding how to heat your home.

  • If you live in a cooler climate or you like to keep your house warm by turning on the heat in your air conditioner when it gets cool outside, you may want to consider a heat pump.
  • If you live in a warmer climate and rarely use the heat, you will likely want to stick with a conventional A/C unit with strip heating. Just remember that heating can cost two to three times more than cooling.

So, the next time it gets cold, you may want to hold off on turning the heat on right away until you truly need to warm up your home to be comfortable.

To find more ways to save, take the Online Home Energy Survey for more tips and recommendations.

Your safety is very important to us. If this is a medical emergency, please call 911 immediately or go to your nearest emergency room. For non-emergencies, you can reach us during regular business hours via Facebook private message, or follow and message us on Twitter and one of our representatives will assist you. To report an outage, please call 1-800-4-Outage. Thank you and please stay safe.

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Comments [58]

  1. mimose

    My bill come up this month I don't know how

  2. R J Woods

    In September for 11 days and December for 10 days I was on vacation and turned my thermostat up to 83 degrees and turned my hot water heater off yet there was only a $ 2 dollar difference in the bill.

  3. brenda sarro

    We connected our hotwater heater to our air conditioning unit. I belive we save quite a bit of money by doing so. All air conditioning units should be connected to the hotwater since it saves so much energy.

  4. William G. Sullivan

    When the a/c or heat comes on my lights dim for a second or two, I am afraid this will do damage to my other appliances or TV's thank you, Bill

  5. Debra Gibson

    I put a brand new heating/AC system in my home last Aug 2014,and I haven't seen my FPL bill come down any. I was assure that I would see a big drop in bill since the old system was 13 yrs old.I live alone and work full time so I'm not home enough to use much elec/heat,they're on a timer use. Any suggestions? Deb

  6. Don DePhillips

    I have found using an electrical heater like Eden Pure saves $$ because you can use it in specific areas you spend your time occupying - als shut off the rooms you are not in

  7. Ingrid Castilla

    Perfect now I know, thank you

  8. george Maselli

    What are the differences between AC and furnace filters? It seems hard to find 23 1/2 × 23 1/2 × 1 AC filters.

  9. Mike Baker

    Does it save electric to unplug appliances. When not used #Tv, chargers , rosters ect

  10. Yolanda Galo

    How expensive would be to instal energy panels on my roof? Mine is a house with an approx. heated area of 2260 SqFt. Location: Saint Johns Fl, 22 Molasses Court 32259. Gas... I don't know. It's kind of dangerous. I remember a bad experience many years ago. Please reply

  11. Bill

    How do I get a on/off switch installed at no charge to shut off my water heater and continue to have your energy saving monitor connected?

  12. Vania Pierre

    Hello hi my name is Vania and I wanted to know would it help my light bill a bit if I got some energy-saving lightbulbs instead of the regular ones?.

  13. Migdalia Rodriguez

    my question was does heating use more energy than the a/c, but thank you my question was just answered from another costumer, really appreciated all your help.

  14. edna vohra

    Sir, I switched to a budget account about 2 months ago. I'm a little bit concerned as the recent bills seen to be too low. Could it be that they calculated too low.who should Ispeak to?

  15. ROBERTO

    COMO PRETENDE FAZER ESTA TRANSFORMACAO NAS RESIDENCIAS ISSO DEMANDA MUITO PLANEJAMENTO E INFRA ESTRUTURA BEM COMO MANUTENCAO DOS EQUIPAMENTOS E MODO DE VIDA DAS PESSOAS, COMO SERA ESSA ADAPTACAO! ACHEI SUPER INTELIGENTE A IDEIA MUITO GRATIFICANTE PARA A NATUREZA TAMBEM, PARABENS AO CRIADOR DESTE PROJETO. UM FORTE ABRACO. Roberto/Desing Graphic

  16. Liz Riepe

    Hoping for a Solar Panel incentive program, like we had in NJ. The "Sunshine" state should lead the country in producing clean energy! What is the hold up?

  17. Grace

    I missed the answer on whether or not it saves energy and computer life to shurt down daily or leave the computer in sleep mode. Could you please let me know the correct answer? Thanks

  18. suzanna young

    We are a senior couple. We have done about everything to upgrade insulation: insulated windows, membrane "sandwich" roof, extra insulation in attic, even stuccoed the exterior. We happen to live closer to the water too. We heat enough to take the chill off as we don't like a warm house; we dress warm. We have gas stove and dryer. We don't take 20-minute showers like teenagers. My husband is retired FPL electrician as well as AC man. He knows the drill. The weather last month was fairly moderate. However, Our ill bill was unusually high for us! Could we have someone else's reading? What gives?

  19. Janet Bloomer

    I was very surprised to find heating costs that much. I will definitely be more cognizant about usage. Thanks

  20. Chrles

    In FFlorida homes ,Ihave noticed that the return is located in the ceiling along with the supply. I have a hme with the retuns located in the lower portion of the walls. i believe this helps with the heatin and cooling of the home. What do you think?

  21. Leo Hamel

    What is the FPL rebate in 2015 on replacing an AC ?

  22. Leo Hamel

    We consider to replace our AC. What do you suggest and can we have a FPL rebate as FPL customer ?

  23. Leo Leduc

    thank you for the info

  24. Jim

    I, too, am new to Florida (July 2015). One of my heat coils is burned out. Contractors wanted hundreds of dollars to replace a part that I found on line for about forty dollars. Instead, I bought a 1500-watt electric space heater for about twenty dollars and it does all I need. It's an old Connecticut Yankee trick. And, yes, I know all the safety considerations. I never run it unless I am at home (and awake).

  25. Lori Lutz

    I HAD SIGNED UP FOR THE PLAN OR BUDGET. AND AT THAT TIME I WAS TOLD MY BILL WOULD BE ABOUT $85.00 PER MONTH, AND IT WAS FOR AWHILE. Since SEPT. OF 2014 IT HAS BEEN ANYTHING BUT, I HAVE MADE CALLS AND SENT EMAILS AND HAVE NOT RECIEVED ANY RESPONCE. CAN SOMEONE PLEASE CONTACT ME. Thank you Lori

  26. Linda Gerlinger

    We just moved to Florida from CO and it's true that heat costs a lot more than AC. We had both in CO. In the Summer we had the AC on for 3 mths and paid $180.- a mth. We used Heat for 6 mths out of the year which was around $360.- a mth. I know its CO but in general I think this is true for most places that heat is 2-3 more.

  27. lupo

    does my playstation 4 and TV on use more energy than fridge?

  28. Deborah

    Is is less expensive to turn the heat off when I am not home and turn it on when I return? Or just lower the temp and turn up when I return?

  29. Mike

    Is running one of those Amish plug in heaters more expensive or cost effective to run verses electric central heat?

  30. Raymond J. Antaya

    If I change my A/c heat pump on a manufactured home double wide two bedroom two bath. How many seer should be installed by one of your listed contractors? Is there a rebate or discount available from FPL? Are there free estimates?

  31. Judith Foster

    why do you want to charge me 8000.00 to receive service at my home.

  32. Gisèle Goulet

    We havé changed our windows and doors for hurricane windows and doors. Does FPL still offer a rebate incentive? How much will we save in energy on our bills because of the change? Thank you in advance for your reply. Gisele

  33. Paul C Ridgewell

    Why is it that FPL is the ONLY electric supply company here in Florida that doesn't allow for rebates on VS pool Pumps. The State of FL has a law stating as of 2009 any new pool pump installed will be the VS style,so why no Rebate? Every other electric co here in Fl does but not FPL. Maybe the State of FL dept of Business admin. should know of this matter, just asking to help keep your cost and mine low. Thank you Mr. Ridgewell

  34. Douglas Vogt

    We have two accounts and use get bills via email and pay by Internet banking. However, unlike for example a utility company that provides both a mailing address and location address in their emails, FPL does not. I cannot tell which bill is which unless I go to another file on the computer to look the address up for the account number. Please add the location address to your email bills.

  35. Emily H

    How does heating with gas save over heating with a heat pump system? Thank you!

  36. Linda Dean

    Now that gas prices are dropping, is FPL going to remove the fuel charge that put into place a few years back when gas was $4.00 + a gallon?

  37. Gloria Gilpatrick

    My husband recently passed away so now it is just me living here in our home. I basically only use 2 of the rooms on a regular basis. We had a new HVAC and air handler installed a few months ago. Instead of using it for warmth, would it be better if I used the portable oil filled heater and keep it close to where I am going to be during the day? At night, I keep the temperature lower so that isn't an issue. Thank you!

  38. John Gorman

    How come I can't buy the surge suppresser that FPL hooked up. Renting it cost over $120.00 per year and the equipment is paid for many times over as time goes by. Can I put a comparable surge suppresser on my residence and removed the FPL one.Thanks John Gorman

  39. Wendy Hunter

    Thank you for this informative Q & A - I've always suspected...now I can go home and tape your answer directly to the thermostat!

  40. Pat tParker

    is it cheaper to turn on electric stove?

  41. jo

    When you're away for extended periods what should you leave your ac/humidistat on?

  42. Ron Zylich

    Are there rebates available from FPL for installing a new and more efficient pool heater for a condo complex?

  43. Steve

    I have owned heat pumps for 40 years here in Broward County. My present unit is a Trane 3.5 ton package and it is reliable an efficient providing heat immediately when needed at low cost compared with strip heat and there is no "burning smell" when you turn it on. Years ago they were not reliable because the reversing valve would stick in the cool position. New units move the reversing valve for an instant even in cool mode to keep it lubricated. I love my low electric bill.

  44. Michael Saeger

    The article was informative but missing one critical piece of information. The article stated it cost about 1.00 an hour to run a heater with heat strips. What it would cost per hour using a heat pump would be much more informative than 'you can save 75.00 a year'. That would not be to bad if the hours per year were stated. Just my comments.

  45. TERESA A LEE

    My home is a Condo in Century Village, West Palm Beach. I cannot authorize any Solar Panel to be installed. You have to contact West Palm Beach, Century Village FL. regarding this.

  46. John Van Leer

    I want to install an off peak circuit in my residence to charge my new Tesla. Tesla recommends a 240volt, 40amp outlet connected to a 240volt, 50amp circuit. How do I get this process started? I would like a reply soon as I would like to get started ASAP.

  47. Chet A. Biernat

    Dear FPL, Since there is so much attention given to SOLAR electric producing systems, and FPL generates under 2% from SOLAR, my question is: How much more would it cost us to use ONLY SOLAR POWER - "WITHOUT ANY SUBSIDIES FROM THE GOVERNMENT. (Federal, State or local) Subsidies to Power companies and household or commercial user of electric power? My family members are concerned that Government subsidies hide the true cost of SOLAR POWER to the consumers, as we are paying through our taxes and mounting up more and more debit for future generations. Please reply, and thank you. Chet A. Biernat 1-8-15.

  48. Richard Tibbetts

    My Home was built in 1991 .My a/c is eight years old. Why has my bill been approx. $193.00? Myhome is only 1200 sq.Ft.?

  49. Jim Wolff

    Someone mentioned to me that I should disconnect all power cords when they are not in use, including lamps and even things that don't seem to use any power at all while they are plugged in but turned off. They told me it can save as much as 10% of my electric bill. This doesn't make sense to me, so I would like to ask you, the expert! Thank you in advance. Jim

  50. Barry Newell

    WE just changed out our old A/C unit for a 15 SEAR , 5 Ton Rhem is there any credit we get for upgrading our unit. Thanks, Barry

  51. Bill Richards

    Our bedrooms in our 1150 square-foot house are cold in the winter and warm in the summer, in the living room kitchen area it is much warmer. What can we do to warm up the bedrooms? There is batt insulation in the cathedral ceiling in the living room, but the bedroom and dining room areas are blown in insulation. Our house is CBS construction. we have a Carrier heatpump. our bills are relatively low, but we would like to be able to warm the bedrooms up to the same as the living area. The blown in insulation I know it's not sufficient in some places in the areas that I am talking about. I am reluctant to have insulation blown in that area because there is no provisions to keep the insulation from going into the eaves. What would you recommend? I had FPL do an energy survey when I moved in in 2003. They said that it was not bad and I did seal up the duct vents in the ceiling.

  52. Tia iles

    good question and good answer. Thanks.k

  53. jim stabile

    When comparing my Dec. period FPL Bill in '15 v.s '14 I noticed a 29% increase and I don't use heat ever here in Florida...I'm still a single occupant with the odd lot "fish stinks" house-guest but nothing to warrant this kind of increase. All the FPL propaganda on how much I should or will be saving is starting to look like just that... Oh and my system is PERFECT. Filters are changed monthly and coils immaculate.. Sorry, I don't do $89.99 specials either or haven't in the last seven years with this new system.

  54. Rebecca Habib

    If FPL is so low in Fla. how come I pay abput $200 hundred a month, and I am not there most of the year.......

  55. Beverly Lonergan

    This is just a big Thank you for all the energy saving ideas that FPL passes on to its customers. It shows that this company really cares about their customers, and tries to save the costs of air conditioning and heating our homes. I have lived in St. Augustine, Florida now for 30 years and FPL is the best company I have ever dealt with. When we have bad weather conditions, your workers leave their families, to make our homes safe and comfortable. It is very appreciated!

  56. Bob Reese

    A/C contractor tried to tell me he could save me $6300. dollars on a/c over 3 to5 years. I currently live in our 1200 sq ft condo for 6 months out of the year and when we are not here we set the a/c at 80 and humid at 60. My level pay is in the mid 30 dollar rage. I don't see any way we can attain a large savings just by putting in a $6000 new A/C system. My dad always told me, if it isn't broke don't fix it. They also suggested a process that fogs your air ducts and leaves a coating like bubble come which seals all the air leaks.

  57. David Heimsness

    What about space heaters versus AC heating (cost)?

  58. Robert

    Before you choose a heatpump think of an Fireplace. Wood is cheap and it heats much better your Home than the reverse A/C. I did last year stock up my insolation in the roof, look in your attic if you have an Isolation, this is the most effective way to keep the temp. inside your home. I live in Ft. Lauderdale after i renew the insulation and new Windows(Tripleglas) i pay about 10% less then before!

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