When winter arrives, electric bills often rise. When trying to figure out what has caused an increase in the electric bill, remember to add in any extra winter appliances to keep your furry friends warm or give your livestock or feathered friends access to drinking water. Sometimes we forget about these pet appliances that add to the cost of the monthly electric bill. Calculations are based on 10 hours per day or 24 hours per day, depending upon if it is only plugged in for pets while you are away at work or if you leave the appliance plugged in all the time. Unplugging a heating device when it is not needed is the best way to keep energy bills low.

Low-wattage pet beds or mats used inside a heated home are rated as low as 6 watts and consume only 54 cents when used continuously all month. Outdoor mats need to be much higher wattage and result in higher energy use. Another low-energy option for indoors is the microwavable pet bed warmer. You heat it up in the microwave and it stays warm for 12 hours.

The best ways to reduce the cost of operating a stock tank heater is to insulate around the outside of the tank and cover a portion of the top. A thermostatic control that allows the heater to kick on only below a certain temperature will consume less energy. Correctly sizing the underwater de-icing heater to match the size of the tank is also important. It is recommended that a 1,500-watt heater be used in a 100-300 gallon tank, a 1,000-watt heater in a 70-100 gallon tank, and a 500-watt heater in less than a 70 gallon water tank.

When purchasing any appliance, check out the wattage or kW rating on the box. The larger the wattage, the more energy it will take per hour. Cost is calculated using the following formula:

Either kW (or watts divided by 1000) x Hours used/day x number of days used/month x $.012 = $/mo.

150 watts/1000 = .150 x 24 hrs/day x 31 days a month =  111.6 kWh x $.012 = $13.39/month