6 Ways to Get Lower Utility Bills this Winter11/10/2014The cold season brings lots of enjoyable activities and events, but it can also take a toll on your pocketbook. From holiday lights to staying warm during harsh weather, many West Columbia families are left with high energy costs. Luckily, there are steps you can take to decrease your expenses and achieve lower utility bills. Our professionals at Tri City Fuel & Heating Co., Inc. in West Columbia came up with a list of ways you can save. Try them out and see lower utility bills this winter season. 1. Adjust your thermostat. Program your thermostat to lower heating output when you’re asleep or not home. Three to five percent more energy is used 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. Don’t do laundry until you can do full loads. This will help save money on water heating, water usage and on heat used for the dryer. You don’t want to do more laundry than you have to anyway, right? And, remember: clearing 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 spots where your home is losing energy through leaks, drafts, or products and appliances that use more energy. The assessment can explain how to save the most, including long- and short-term energy-saving options. 4. Properly seal your leaks. From your air ducts to attics, walls and windows, there are a number of areas in your home that may be letting in unwanted cold air. Simply tape heavy plastic over the windows, and add caulk or weatherstripping to seal leaks coming through doors and windows. Contact Tri City Fuel & Heating Co., Inc. to hear more about sealing your air ducts. 5. Use LED holiday lights. One easy way to achieve lower utility bills is to switch out your older holiday lights for LED lights. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, these lights use less energy than incandescent bulbs and can last up to 40 holiday seasons in West Columbia. 6. Install a high-efficiency furnace. If you need to replace 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 it’s not quite time 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 operate. For more information on how you can lower your utility bills this winter, give Tri City Fuel & Heating Co., Inc. in West Columbia a call at 803-796-9172.