6 Ways to Get Lower Utility Bills this Winter11/10/2014The winter season brings lots of exciting activities and events, but it can also take a toll on your pocketbook. From holiday lights to maintaining a warm home during harsh weather, many Madera families are left with high energy costs. Luckily, there are easy ways to decrease your expenses and achieve lower utility bills. Our experts at Brian’s Heating & Cooling, Inc. in Madera came up with 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 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. Put off 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 was really necessary, right? And, keep in mind: cleaning 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 determine the places 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 possibilities. 4. Properly seal your leaks. From your HVAC ducts to attics, walls and windows, there are plenty of areas in your home that may be letting cold air seep through. Simply cover windows with plastic, and add caulk or weatherstripping to seal leaks around doors and windows. Contact Brian’s Heating & Cooling, Inc. 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 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 up to 40 holiday seasons in Madera. 6. Install a high-efficiency furnace. If you need a new furnace, look into an energy efficient furnace. Some systems can save hundreds of dollars a year on annual heating bills versus older furnaces. Or, if it’s not quite time for a replacement, remember to schedule a maintenance visit for your current system. 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 reduce your utility bills this winter, give Brian’s Heating & Cooling, Inc. in Madera a call at 559-675-1681.