Every year my GD and I put the pond heaters away very carefully.In the fall there is a treasure hunt to find them.A couple of years ago we couldn't find them so I bought another heater.Now I have two!! This summer I invested in a Lotus.It arrived from the nursery nicely planted in a bushel basket filled with clay.I waited and waited and finally was rewarded with three exotic leaves but no flowers.The tubers were quite an investment so in the fall I was determined to winter the Lotus.The common advice was to bring into the basement.The man who delivered it had to use a trolley.How could I bring it through the house and downstairs. The owner of the greenhouse sympathized with my predicament.After much research we decided to leave it in my zone 4B pond for the winter.To make sure the lotus survived our winter I put both pond heaters in .The fish have flourished.They have grown so large I can see them from the house as they frolic in the warm water surrounded by snow.I let you know if the lotus comes up in the spring.The fish just may make a nice meal for the raccoons. JOY
Wow! That's a very interesting experiment. Which lotus is it? I ask because some lotus are winter hardy. Before they got so large that I decided to eliminate them I had lotus that overwintered with the roots potted at the depth of 2 ft in the water. I do run a deicer that keeps a hole in the ice. My lowest pond water temperature in the coldest winters we get here is 36 degrees F. I think that's about 2 degrees Celcius. I do know that to flower they need a long period of 70 F ( 21 C) actual water temps. (And full sun). In your zone does your water get to that temp or above for good stretch of time?
Snapple really don't know the temperature of the pond.I am 81 and have a balance problem.The last time I tried to bend over the pond to adjust the pump I went in headfirst.Since then I've had help with the pond .The pond seems healthy without my up close supervision.JOY
You use of the pond heaters was very wise. We have a heater in our new pond and this year we have been watching the pond and waterfall all winter long even on the coldest days. On days when it gets into the 30's we have even seen fish swimming. Pond heaters are well worth the investment.
I'm glad you are enjoying your pond and lotus. Hmmm, maybe I'll look into getting a lotus in the spring.
Did you put in a heater or is it a deicer? Is your filtration still running? Here in zone 5 where it can get to - 20, running a heater isn't an option. A waterfall would still freeze and the ice back up would pretty much destroy any rock work and plumbing.
doesn't it cost a lot in electric to run the heater? I think a deicer just keeps a small area open for the fish, but a heater actually heats the water, correct?
I think here in MO that would be costly.
I guess we do actually have a de-icer. It keeps the area around it free of ice. The water is moving so fast that there is not much freezing. The pond is 3 feet deep with the pump on the bottom - a Pondmaster 6100.
We had two regular spot lights trained onto the pond and that is what raised our electric bill, We switched to low-voltage.
Just keep an eye out if temperatures get to 0 or below. In zone 5 I've seen one commercial installation that was totally ruined by backed up ice in the waterfall. The waterfall rock work was forced apart by freezing water, the line to the waterfall backed up from ice over and broke the plumbing which ruined the pump. There was about $5,000 worth of damage. In these parts, waterfalls are shut down in mid to late November. Pumps are pulled and stored. Any above ground water lines are drained or blown out. Luckily, my water line to the waterfall is gravity drained back into the pond when the pump is shut off. It was designed with a 1% slope in the horizontal run back towards the pond. That amount of slope doesnt add so much pond pump head that it slows down the waterfall significantly but it does allow for winter safe conditions without any special effort.
When there's a been lot of snow and your waterfall is running, please post a picture. It should be beautiful.
It's a little hard to see in this picture, but the waterfall is running. A part of a large grass that is to the left of the pond had fallen over onto the pond. This was taken in December after a large snowfall at night with the spotlight on the pond.
The lotus was rated at zone 4b for hardiness.Actually I have 2 pond deicers running.The fountain has been taken out for the winter.We are having an unusually warm winter with the temperatures 7 t8 *C warmer than average.I don't have a waterfall just a simple pond.The fish are frisky .I wouldn't be surprised if they mated.There is a fair amount of snow so I have to view the pond with binoculars .I'm not taking a chance of falling again!!I have to use the binoculars to watch the birds too.I had Redpoles and a Flicker at my feeders today.I'm waiting for a cataract operation on my one good eye.They say I'll be able to view the bird much better.I don't know what the fish are eating..I haven't fed them since sept. and the have grown much larger.JOY
Thank you Dave! I knew it would be beautiful. You have a lovely pond.
agedgardener. The hardiness rating indicates that your lotus will winter over just fine. If it gets full sun and the necessary number of warm water days in the spring/summer there should be flowers. Do you know the name of the lotus? Bird watching and pond watching with binoculars is the best way to watch when snow makes the walking difficult. Good for you for having so much to watch in your yard. Clearing up a cataract should make things much more enjoyable.
I'm stuck in the house too for a while anyway. I had foot surgery 12/23. It was complicated but I'll be fine by the end of this month, or so they tell me anyway. I do all my pond and bird watching from the dining room window. My husband walks out daily to check the pond and fill the bird feeders.
WOW I DIDNT EVEN KNOW THERE WAS POND HEATER...i live in a pretty tropical environment and i was actually wondering how to keep my pond a few deg. warmer in winter, now i know. We don't get snow, hardly even frost but i put some of my bristlenose catfish from my aquarium(26 deg. cel.) out into my pond and was just hoping they'd be right in winter but i may need to look into this pond heater. I'd only need it on for a month or so. I think 16-17 deg cel. would be our normal lowest?
Bree I don't think you would find the pond warmer much help.The temperatures you mentioned are our summer temperatures Mine don't work when the water temperature is that high We had -21C last night.There is ice on the pond but 2 foot opening.The squirrels are able to go on the ice and get a drink now.They have been frustrated with thin ice we had around the edges.The wild life have been ravenous. I threw some bread grapes and hamburger that were stale and they cleaned it all up.The Crows took the hamburger and one of the squirrels relished the old grapes. The Redpoles cleaned up the Niger on the ground.The feeder aren't empty yet.We are expecting freezing rain and heavy snow for the next day or two.JOY
nice. looks pretty cool there. Were having 25-30 deg. days and 80-100% humidity. Were sweating here and yous are freezing seems weird hey. Maybe i can't use a pond heater then. Yes i only want something that heats to 20-23 deg. Our winters arent to cold though(16 deg). heres when i did have lilies.
agedgardener plese forgive me but you toppling into the pond made me laugh. I did almost exactly the same thing yesterday. Just like on Keeping Up Apprearances (a favorite brithish sit com) as I passed by a bush and then a dog barked and I fell into the bush. I could not fault anyone for laughing with me - it really was funny. I like your pond very much and admire your tenacity in keeping it up.
breeindy that pool of yours is big! It looks great. It was very clever to put it where you did.
I am all too familiar with back problems. I've been managing moderate to severe chronic back pain for over 30 years. I have many, many problems with my spine - most of which are genetic. In May 2008 my doctors told me I could no longer work. Filed for Social Security Disability and was approved in a record 2 months. Now I am the Full Time Dear Disabled House Husband. :)
Gardening was my passion but now I am very limited. My wonderful wife built that new pond with help from family and friends and all I could do was place a few rocks and help with the design. It is beautiful, though, and I am so looking forward to this spring.
As much fun as wading through our pond will be, I think we will still enjoy being in our hot tub more.
It must be a real joy to be able to enjoy your fish in the winter. I wish I could do that. I have a couple of deicers in my pond, but I haven't seen my fish in a number of months because of the ice.
Dave - the important thing is that you are still able to enjoy and are not embittered because of your problems. We miss so much by being that way and personally I have enjoyed your lovely pictures of your pond. Tell your wife she did a wonderful job!
When I fell in the pond my son rescued me.I managed to get out of the water but couldn't stand up. H threatened to put up a NO SWIMMING sign.I can't see the fish now the snow is so deep I can't see into the pond...can't even see the ice!! JOY
It's -4 here as I post this. I have a one foot wide hole around the deicer. Everything else is thoroughly frozen over. There is about 15" of snow on the ground. The temeprature in the deepest part of the pond (3-1/2') is 39 degrees. The fish are the only things that are warm outside! We are supposed to hit near 40 next week. What a welcome warm up that will be. And what a mess! All that snow melt.
I would just as soon see it all melt too. I don't like walking in it and I don't like driving in it.
I have been spending more and more time looking at my pond journals. It seems that we typically start up the first pump around the first part of March, however it has been as late as April. I am hoping this year it is not April...
I will chime in with news from Alaska. My pond at this point is just a soft depression in the snow. I run two pond deicers that right now are at the bottom of a tunnel composed of 18" snow and about the same of ice. We hooked up a pump last January (2010) and just let it dump off the edge of the lowest falls and that kept it a bit more open. We tried running an aerator this year for the fish but turned it off. We have been losing water and fear a leak. No clue how to fix it with big slab rock for sides and gravel bottom. Vinyl liner. I have gold fish and two koi who winter over as well as water lilies that also stay in the bottom of the deep (4') end all winter. It's a small pond, only about 3000 gallons, maybe average 15' wide and about 23' long. I was walking on it last spring and the ice gave way in the deeper end. Stupid and almost fatal. My husband didn't know that I was out there, the water runs just above freezing and I had on these tall rubber boots (not for water but to wade through the snow to get to the pond). I figured I had one shot at climbing up the big rock slabs and fortunately where I went in was next to one with a bit of a ledge. Desperation and a good lunge carried me and pounds of wet clothes and boots filled with water got me out. I don't get anywhere near the ice now. Even knowing it is more than thick enough to support me, I am still frightened of what might have happened had I not gotten out. Not drowned, but hypothermia will do the job just fine in no time.
how much water do you seem to be losing? I know that a number of people have posted over the years on this forum that with the pumps running and the ice build up, that it seems to channel the water from the pond. Could this be the scenario?
Glad you made it out of your pond ok. That must have been really scary for you. I know that every winter, I am afraid that I am going to slip on my deck and fall into the pond. There is no way I would be able to get out - it is difficult to get out of our pond in the summer with another person there.
I know what you mean. Over at a Koi forum one of the ladies said that she had her pump running all winter and went out one day to find it had somehow dammed up and all but emptied her pond. I don't see how that could be the case now as we have stopped the pump, and I don't see any sign of water anywhere. Unless somehow it is being pumped under ground and that just can't be. Our ground is frozen solid. That is why I am fearful that it is leaking under the vinyl liner. That ground is probably 32 degrees or warmer. The water at the bottom of the pond runs about that temp. I was sinking a thermometer with a rock attached to test the temp my fish were in so that was the average. Koi have a hard time with that temp over even short periods. Guess the goldfish don't care. Thank heavens.
Is it possible that your ground has frozen/thawed/heaved and heaving has caused movement in the stone surrounding the pond and created a leak? Of course that would only allow your pond to leak or empty itself out to that level, then the leaking would stop.
It is amazing how much the ground heaves/moves around here, such a nuisance!
Heavens knows we have heaving. Fences are a real challenge. You are right, though, when you say that it will only leak to the level of the hole. but it would cost as much to fix and to build a new pond. They would have to bring in a small backhoe to remove the large rocks, dig out the large gravel, and oh my poor plants. I am really hoping it is not a colder winter and the water has evaporated and/or turned to ice. I will ask my husband about the heaving four feet down. If fences do it, why not rocks.
You would think that with the ground freezing to 4 feet, that yes, there would be heaving of stone and earth, but in my mind and please correct me if I am wrong - would not the area that is leaking also freeze and stop the water from coming out?
Last winter I lost a lot of pond water to evaporation. So much in January, that we had to get a hose out when it was about 20 degrees, hook it to an inside faucet, ( that was cute!) and get the pond water back up to a reasonable level. We did that twice that month in our smaller pond which stays warmer. There was no leak. Just evaporation from warm water steaming from a deicer evaporaing into low humidity, dry winter air. Heaving comes more from alternate freeze thaw cycles than a prologned hard deep freeze. It's not impossible to have a ground or rock shift cause a leak, but I'm betting in this case its evaporation.
Bless you snapple45! The sounds like what we are going through. I am really praying that it is so. I just can't see that having my husband walking in the pond on top of the gravel, with vinyl liner and felt beneath that, or that being very aggressive with the pond vac could dig a hole in the vinyl. We didn't have as much snow cover this winter up til about two weeks ago so between running two deicers, wind, normal evaporation, etc it could account for it. We have filled 'er up probably four times now. I worry that with the drop in water level I am compressing the gases etc in what water remains and affecting the chemical levels. I haven't checked it this winter for the first time but guess I better. I am hoping with the frequent (in essence) water changes that it is keeping the water and therefore fish healthy.
The shot of the pond was spring 2010. There is a hose in the upper left quadrant pouring water into the pond. Deicer is lower left. You can see a little black spot in the upper right that is the hose curling around the pond and into the dry waterfalls. Sometimes the water splatter would freeze and eventually build a little ice tunnel to the pond but it did keep it open. If you look closely at the straight line of the black area at the top there is a black shovel handle sticking over the pond. We draped the power cord to the deicer on it to try to keep it out of the ice. Otherwise it freezes in and when the water level drops the deicer hangs up above the water. Not too helpful
mstella your pond is really beautiful. Perfect. What do you mean it is "only" 20 feet. It is wonderful that you have it !!! I went to the Garfield Park Conservitory in Chicago and there was a pond in there but yours is more beautiful. Very inviting.
Thanks for all the nice comments. I belong to a Koi fish site and the ponds there are out of sight. And with winter here I forget how really nice my pond is and how it is reflecting how I want it to look -- natural with lots of flower and plants. Still working on plants that will somewhat hide the hardscape (rock, gravel). This summer I am going to try portulaca and livingstone daisys on some of the longer drops of rock.
The parrot feather was put into three pots, one on the right, and the other two spaced across to the other side. There is a drop there from the ~ 2' level to the 4' level and I put the pots on the big stones that mark the drop off. I love them and they don't take over the pond. Water celery is nice too but boy does it grow. Fish love it though.
Generally we only get 1 potfull of the parrots' feather each spring. If you look in this picture straight ahead, the green spready up over some of the rock directly in the center is the parrot's feather. I am now thinking that perhaps I should get a couple more and put them in the pea gravel filled shelf to the right. I could still keep some water hyacinths there as well...
Oh my!! Look at those gorgeous lilies. Mine just sit on the water. I have ordered some hardy lotus this summer that are supposed to stick up out of the water from Texas Water Llilies. I don't get mine in pots. They ship them in ziplock bags fedex. So I get a 'bunch' of each type to try. Would love to have cat tails that really have cat tails not just the tall sword like 'stems.' I bought in a pot last fall and they are sitting in a west facing window still alive. I don't mind reordering each year as TWL is so reasonable and by putting them in baggies the cost is very small compared to some of the stuff I buy. Just found an outfit that will make the special effort to send USPS rather than UPS so I am going to make up a bulk order of MicrobLift stuff like PL, Spring/Summer treatment, Koi feed, etc. Want to make it worth their effort. I am really grateful as most places won't bother.
I don't know why the waterlilies stand up like that. I have often wondered. These same lilies may not stand up like that the next time. When I first bought them and put them in, they did not stand up...
One reason water lilies stand up is overcrowding. This is especially true when the leaves start standing up. All these gorgeous ponds. What a treat to look at. Thanks for sharing all the photos. Takes my mind off the freezing rain outside my window and a driveway so slick I slid down it the mailbox. Never had to pick up my feet.
Snapple - haven't heard from you in quite some time. I hope all is well. I hope you didn't fall down by the mail box. We have had quite a bit of ice and snow as well.
I am missing my pond so very much. I was looking back at my pond journals and last year and the year before, we started up 1 pump around the 5th-6ht of March. It won't be that way this year.
Ironic you mention overcrowding of the waterlilies. I had made myself a metal note this year to divide the waterlilies. I think this will be the 3rd spring since the last time I did that... It is not something I care to do every year.
Mary - I wondered where you were and it is so good to hear from you too. I have been thinking about you and wondering how your ponds were doing? I know you mentioned previously about trying to find a home for some of your larger koi so you could make room for some fry. Were you able to do that?
I'm happy to hear from you guys too! School keeps me busy, plus a new Yorkie pup that's not eager to be house trained. This morning I was out back at the koi pond checking out the fish. They looked good as near as I could tell. The water is a tad green. They were all nicely plump and moving around some.
Dividing water lilies is not my favorite chore. I did them all last spring so I can coast this year, except for one that seems to be a rampant grower. Last year I never had a spawn. We went from too cold to too hot in about two days time and I'm guessing that the koi never got the urge. I also need more plants that they can spawn in. Trouble is some of my koi are over 30" and they are hard on plants. Parrot feather, water hyacinth ect. all just become a koi salad bowl.
I also need to get the pond raccoon proofed pretty soon. Last year was a raccoon disaster. They willl NOT get me this year. Nope! Uh Uh! and No Way! Ditto to the herons. I dont care if they are Federally proctected. They are not fishing in my pond.
I understand being busy...we started a small house rehab that was supposed to be a 4 day kitchen cabinet install...Shortest story I can put into a nutshell...it's a now 3 months later we are finally just now starting to see the light of day, but still not done. Friday the carpeting was installed (too long of a story to talk about broken pipes flooding the house, yadda yadda yadda...) ...
SO...to answer the 2nd question about my jumbo fish...last week, the GFI on my electical posts for the ponds, for some reason popped while I was sleeping. No oxygen overnight... In the morning, 15 of my jumbos were dead. I was crushed. One was the personal family pet, Gus. He as a 28 inch doitsu sanke, would eat out of your hand, was a camera hog, and would follow you around. My heart sank. I don't know if it's all the construction, and something was overloaded, or what...
Although I still have more than enough koi...the ones that didn't make it were some of my premier fish I had collected along the years...long beautiful butterfly fins with gin rin scales...etc...And sadly, many were big bellied females full of eggs. Most of them 20 inches or more.
I guess it's part of what ponders go through at one point or another...I just felt like I had been through all the trials and tribulations through the years, to finally have the lessons learned behind me. I guess the real lesson is that eventually...something different will always show up.
And we still go on, because we love it, and because we're a tad nutsy, and because we know when it all DOES go right, it's such a joyous thing!
I am so sorry. You must have been heartbroken. I know I would have been. I also know that I am emotionally attached to my fish, so I just cannot imagine. Figures they would have been egg laden this time, as I know you were looking for spawnings that didn't seem to happen previously.
How long before you think the work in the house will be done? It is such a pain to have everything torn up, especially when it is over a long period of time. I know when we did our kitchen over, that was a mess for too long. We had non perishables and dishes stacked all over the place in the dining room. I hope it will be finished soon for you.
when we did our kitchen, tv, dining room over, and all the doors and molding, we lived in the living room. Moved the refrigerator into the entry way, and put the microwave and coffee pot on a little table. ALL SUMMER! Yuk.
Mary, why did your fish oxygen starve over night? I wouldn't have thought that was a long enough time to deprive them. They must have been very big in a fairly small area? You would think they could go to the surface at least for air.
there is more oxygen in cold water than in warm water. MM is in Florida, so she would be more apt to have these issues than you or I would have. I go all winter without a pump or bubbler because of this fact, however I would not want to do this in the Summer. We have a bubbler system that we have in the deep end of our pond that we turn on when the water temps approach high 80's and into the 90's. This bubbler system is in addition to the 4 pumps that we run all Summer.
In this picture, if you look beyond the hibiscus, you can see the bubbler running.
Yes, Carol at MicrobLift explained about oxygen and temp. But it is such a non-issue for us I hadn't thought about it. That is amazing, and I feel so badly for MerryM. I would have been so crushed, as she obviously was. I would be really tempted to attach a battery backup as I have on my computer. If that is possible. Even if it could only carry on for a few hours, it might be enough to save fish. Thanks for the reminder.
Thanks for the warm wishes! Yes, we've had a week or so with temps already in the mid 80's. Because my fish are in a temporary large swimming pool (we're rebuilding the pond too) It is about 20x9, but the water is drained down to about 3 feet. I have 2 filters and pumps on it, so the water quality was very good, and the fish were very healthy. But with warm temps, warm water, and no oxygen, fish that large just can't handle it. It was seriously maybe 10 hours at best. I get up every night now, and check the pump around 3:00am.
The carpeting is finally in, which makes me deleriously happy! Now I can finally start putting furniture back in place. We've been living in one guest bedroom for the past month. If I can find my dishes, I'm going to get them washed and maybe even cook something! :) Yay!
I suspect so. Even though we seem to be in the same zone, I bet you get a later winter and earlier spring. has long perplexed me why a similar zone seems to have plants and flowers that I can't grow or don't survive our winters. Our average temp must be the same, just different duration.
I didn't use to but the poor rhody would lose so many leaves. Just hanging there all dried out and brown. The first year I covered it (2 years ago), when the cover came off it was in a foot of snow but the leaves looked like mid summer - full and green. I was soooo thrilled. but I had only wrapped it and the snow load had broken some limbs, plus I couldn't get it clear of the covering quickly. the snow had melted and frozen the material to the ground. Next year I built the cages, then wrapped them. worked well. When you have a short season, every day counts.
You know, your yards look a whole lot like mine. amazing. I always think of your guys 'down south' getting out from under the snow much sooner than us. and maybe you will, but for now...not much difference.
that's what I thought. I wish mine was that close. The sun is shining every day and where the rock breaks through on the falls the snow is melted by the warm rock. By the end of March I should have some open water around the deicers. maybe even see some fish?? I hope.
Sorry to hear of the troubles you have been having and going through Snapple. My kids were sick for what seemed like a very long time. Ear infections, and sinus infection and one had bronchitis, and just couldn't seem to get over this stuff this year.
We got a new puppy too, at Christmas, so I'm definately w ya on that one. Our is a tiny poodle, but now I am allergic to him. :( Just started bothering me about a week ago! Every time I mess with him, I start sneezing and itching, tried bathing him, that didn't help. I think I will go to the dr and see what I can do that route. Just stinks being allergic to everything all the time.
Come spring come!
Well, since I have trouble over wintering I am ashamed to admit that my fish are mostly only about 6-8". I decided to stick with gold fish until I could figure out what to do. It really bothers me a lot when I lose fish I have grown attached to each summer. Mostly the koi. And it seems that the larger fish are the ones I lose. Carol and I have pinned it down to oxygen perhaps. I have been trying for four winters now. I have about given up and may set up a tank in my garage this winter. I have ordered two koi from a fellow in Kentucky. he belongs to KoiFace, as site I go to. The biggest fish I had was a koi that was about 18" and about 5" in diameter with huge lovely fins. Looked like a shebunkin. Musashi was given to me by a pet store owner because she was so homely no none wanted her. And she was crammed into a 20 gallon tank. couldn't even turn around. Well, she had a good summer in our pond playing with the other fish. We found her jammed into the rock by the skimmer late in the fall. We can only surmise she was frightened and jammed her self in there and couldn't get out. I buried her under one of my peony bushes.
For the most part I start with smaller more affordable koi. Evenutually they grow and growwww, but I believe they also grow according to their enviroment. As long as they stayed in my smaller pond, they stayed around 12-14inches. The few I moved into the larger pond, grew like crazy.
One year, I dropped almost $600 on a number of the 3-4" koi. That was a number of years ago. I think that is why I have so many that are at 20". They were all in that batch. I am not going to spend that on fish again though...
Ironically, my largest fish is not my oldest fish. My oldest fish pretty much stopped at about 17", but she also went through a period of time where she had a lot of health issues. Truthfully we thought she was a goner, but she took all of that summer and healed... She is still going strong.
My largest fish is my kohaku. He is 25"...
Mary - I had always heard both that they will grow to their environment and also that they will grow to their full size regardless of their environment. I find your posting comforting as I really don't want my fish to outgrow the pond.
Last year we sunk a pump in the shallow end (24-30") and ran the hose up out of the pond and around the edge allowing it to dump into the deep end. Seems like that would cool it a little as it was in snow, and eventually fell into the pond to freeze in the ice. Kept a nice spot in the ice open, but yes ,,,what did it do to the water temp. We hoped it stayed on the upper surface. Last year we tried an aerator but shut it off in December. Seemed to be exacerbating the water loss. Mostly it is just three deicers, deep end, shallow end, and the skimmer to prevent freeze up and cracking. i am going to remove all gravel from the bottom to try to improve water quality (although our water is clear as a bell and we clean it regularly). Also toying with a dome for winter. Michiganders do it with success. My pond is about 20' long and on average 8-10' wide. Kind of like an irregular kidney. 4' deep at deep end. Oh, also am going to take in my water lilies rather than leave in pond. I cut them down each year and sink them in the deep end but they take up space and add vegatation breakdown no matter how much I cut back and clean them. I figure i need every edge I can get for the fish. I am reading on how to keep the lilies over the winter. And if not, well I would rather have fish and I can always buy new lilies.
May I ask what the electric bill runs for those pond de-icers? One year I had one in a horse trough and the January electric bill was $400! My husband nearly had a heart attack when he opened it. That January had two weeks that never got above 0 degrees F. I never figured out if that was normal usage or if something was wrong.
my electric bill always spikes in December and January, however, my thermostat uses electricity to start the furnace. Typically my electric goes up around $50 or so in those months and then starts coming back down. I also have the deicers in my pond in November, February and part of March.