6 Ways to Get Lower Utility Bills this Winter11/10/2014The cold season brings lots of enjoyable activities and events, but it can also do a number on your budget. From holiday lights to maintaining a warm home in the middle of harsh weather, many Columbia families are left with high energy costs. Luckily, there are easy ways to cut back your expenses and achieve lower utility bills. Our professionals at Watts Electric & A/C Inc in Columbia put together a list of ways you can save. Try them out and experience lower utility bills this winter season. 1. Adjust your thermostat. Program your thermostat to lower heating output during hours when you’re asleep or not home. Three to five percent more energy is consumed when your furnace is set above 68 degrees, so try keeping your home at 68 degrees when you’re at home and awake, and reduce the temperature to 55-65 degrees at times when you’re away at work, out of town or sleeping to achieve lower utility bills. 2. Make sure you only wash when you have full loads. Put off doing laundry until you have enough for full loads. This will help save money on water heating, water usage and on heat required for the dryer. You don’t want to do more laundry than you have to anyway, right? And, keep in mind: cleaning out the lint trap after every load can save you up to $34 a year, according to PG&E. 3. Conduct a home energy audit. A home energy audit can help you find the places where your home is losing energy through leaks, drafts, or products and appliances that use extra energy. The assessment can explain how to save as much as possible, including long- and short-term energy-saving solutions. 4. Properly seal your leaks. From your air ducts to attics, walls and windows, there are many areas in your home that may be allowing cold air in. Simply cover drafty windows with a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet, and add caulk or weatherstripping to seal leaks coming through doors and windows. Contact Watts Electric & A/C Inc to find out more about sealing your air ducts. 5. Use LED holiday lights. One of the easiest ways to achieve lower utility bills is to switch out your older, less efficient holiday lights for LED lights. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, these energy efficient lights use less energy than incandescent bulbs and can last nearly 40 holiday seasons in Columbia. 6. Install a high-efficiency furnace. If you need to upgrade your furnace, look into an energy efficient furnace. Some systems can save significant amounts of money every year on annual heating bills versus older furnaces. Or, if you’re not quite ready for a replacement, remember to schedule a service visit for your current equipment. An easy tune-up can help you achieve lower utility bills by making it easier for the system to work. For more information on how you can lower your utility bills this winter, give Watts Electric & A/C Inc in Columbia a call at 601-736-7362.