10 Jan 7 Energy-Saving Tips from UCA HEAT and Weatherization Experts
Utah winters can be long and very cold, stretching the resources of low-income members of our community. Electricity and gas bills rise as we move into the colder months, but there are a number of ways to reduce these costs and still keep your house warm and comfortable. Here are some tips and tricks to help you and your family stay warm this winter season all the while saving money and being financially smart!
#1 Keep the thermostat low.
Turning the thermostat down just a few degrees can greatly impact your energy bill. Instead of setting the heat to 70, try 67 or 68. You may not notice the difference, but your heating system will kick on less often, cutting down on costs. If it feels too cold in the house, try setting the thermostat on a schedule where it’s warmer when you’re at home and cooler when you’re out during the day or while you sleep at night.
#2 Check for leaks and openings.
Check your home for air leaks around windows and doors, even the chimney or swamp cooler. Even a small gap can cause heat to escape and cost you money on your heating bill. If you notice a door or window isn’t sealed properly, it’s a quick and inexpensive trip to the hardware store to buy plastic film, caulk or foam strips that will reduce leakage.
#3 Use the power of sunlight.
Though the outside winter air is cold, the sun can still help warm your home. Keeping blinds and curtains open during the day can add some heat to your home. Close them at night to help retain the heat you gained.
#4 Upgrade your lightbulbs.
CLF and LED lightbulbs are energy-saving technologies can reduce your electric bill. CFL bulbs use 75% less energy and last 8-10 times longer than regular bulbs, which adds up to a savings of $30 over the life of the bulb!
#5 Wash in cold water.
Wash most laundry in cold water – you really only need hot water for items that are very dirty. Make sure you run full loads too. Many machines use the same amount of water and energy to run a small load as a large one.
#6 Think about the little things.
Turn off the lights when you leave the room. Don’t let the water run while you brush your teeth. Put on a sweatshirt or use a blanket instead of turning up the heat. Fix that leaky faucet. Install a low-flow shower head. These little actions add up to savings on your bills.
#7 Consider a heating system upgrade.
It may be time to think about getting a whole new heating system for your home. Older furnaces are less efficient and cost more to operate than new Energy Star models, which can be up to 16% more efficient than other models. We know not everyone can afford a full system upgrade, but Utah Community Action’s Weatherization program can help. Visit https://www.utahca.org/weatherization to see if you’re eligible for our weatherization services.
If you’re still struggling with your utility bills after trying these tips, Utah Community Action’s HEAT program can help. Each winter, we offer financial assistance with utility bills for low-income individuals and families. Visit https://www.utahca.org/heat-program to learn more about this valuable service.