6 Ways to Get Lower Utility Bills this Winter11/10/2014The winter season brings lots of exciting activities and events, but it can also impact your pocketbook. From holiday lights to keeping your home cozy during harsh weather, many Charlottesville families have high energy costs. Luckily, there are steps you can take to cut back your expenses and achieve lower utility bills. Our professionals at Beck Cohen in Charlottesville 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. Set your thermostat to lower heating output at times 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 lower 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. Hold on doing laundry until you can do full loads. This will help you save on water heating, water usage and on heat required for the dryer. You don’t want to do more laundry than actually needed, 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 see the places where your home is losing energy through leaks, drafts, or products and appliances that use extra energy. The assessment can show you how to save as much as possible, including long- and short-term energy-saving possibilities. 4. Properly seal your leaks. From your HVAC ducts to attics, walls and windows, there are many areas in your home that may be letting cold air seep through. Simply tape heavy plastic over the windows, and add caulk or weatherstripping to seal leaks on doors and windows. Contact Beck Cohen to hear more about sealing your air ducts. 5. Use LED holiday lights. One of the easiest ways to receive lower utility bills is to switch out your older, less efficient holiday lights for LED lights. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, LEDs use less energy than incandescent bulbs and can last up to 40 holiday seasons in Charlottesville. 6. Install a high-efficiency furnace. If you need to replace your furnace, think about purchasing an energy efficient furnace. Some systems can save up to $800 yearly on annual heating bills compared to older furnaces. Or, if you’re not quite ready for a replacement, remember to schedule a maintenance visit for your current system. A quick 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 reduce your utility bills this winter, give Beck Cohen in Charlottesville a call at 434-296-0129.