Lincoln, NE — Jan. 9, 2017 — When plummeting temperatures cause higher heating bills, it’s good to know there are ways you can cut energy costs without sacrificing comfort. That message and tips for reducing your energy bill are highlighted on National Cut Your Energy Costs Day, recognized annually on Jan. 10.
“Saving energy can be as simple as turning down the thermostat or insulating around doors and windows to keep drafts out and energy in,” said Jeff Sylvester for natural gas service provider Black Hills Energy. “And the steps you take now can cut costs year-round.”
Sylvester said the company helps customers save energy as a value-added service. Black Hills provides energy-saving tips at www.blackhillsenergy.com/saveenergy. Here are a few to get you started:
- Furnace: An annual furnace inspection will ensure your heating system is working efficiently and provide peace-of-mind from a safety perspective. Routine maintenance is a must. Be sure to follow manufacturer guidelines for changing furnace filters. Inspect them monthly.
- Thermostat: If health concerns aren’t a factor, set your thermostat to 68 degrees in winter. Chilly? Put on a sweater. Check the thermostat on your water heater, too. It should still be hot enough to wash dishes and take a steamy shower without having it at its highest level.
- Energy-efficient heating and appliances: Furnaces and home appliances are far more efficient than they were just a few years ago. Consider energy efficiency when replacing them to cut energy bills without sacrificing comfort and functionality.
- Insulation: You could save as much as 30 percent of your energy costs by better insulating your attic or top floor. You can save about 8 percent of your energy costs by insulating the floor over any unheated areas, such as crawl spaces, basements and garages.
- Windows and doors: Heat escapes through a single pane of glass almost 14 times faster than through a well-insulated wall. Make sure that at the least you have properly installed storm windows and doors. Double-pane windows are even more efficient and look nice, too. The initial investment is well worth the savings over time.
- Plastic and caulking: a quick, inexpensive way to decrease energy loss is to weather-strip and caulk around windows and doors. Apply plastic sheeting over windows with a kit found at any hardware store. Air trapped between the window and plastic acts as a natural insulator to help keep warm air in and cold air out.
“We also provide service and account options to help customers manage their energy bills efficiently,” Sylvester said. “You can consider those at www.blackhillsenergy.com or by calling our customer service associates at 888-890-5554.”