WASHINGTON, Nov. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In the winter, when many people turn on their heaters and put up holiday lights, gas and electric bills can be much higher than usual.
According to the Department of Energy (DOE), a family spends more than $1,900 a year on electricity bills and other utilities. A big part of those costs come from wasted energy during those cold months.
However, you can save on winter energy costs if you make some changes in certain areas of your home.
Improve the lighting in your home and save energy.
- Replace traditional light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs, which last between six and 12 times longer. Remember to turn off any lights that aren't in use.
- Consider using LED lights for Christmas decorations. These use 90 percent less energy than the standard Christmas lights.
Thermostats and heating
Keep your home warm and comfortable.
- Install a programmable thermostat for your home's heating system.
- Keep the doors and windows closed while the heat is on.
- Frequently change the filters in your furnace.
- Set the thermostat on your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Be energy efficient throughout your home.
- Only use the exhaust fan in the kitchen and bathrooms when necessary.
- Repair any water leaks in the bathrooms, kitchen, laundry room, etc.
- Use power strips to plug in portable heaters, television and cell phone chargers. That way, you can turn off the power switch when the devices are not in use.
- If you're thinking of replacing your appliances, make sure they have an Energy Star logo. Energy Star products are more energy efficient.
Programs for low-income families
During the winter, the government helps low-income families with their energy bills.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as LIHEAP, helps families pay some of their heating costs. To see if you qualify for these benefits, contact your local LIHEAP office for more information.