Tips for saving money on your winter utility bills

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Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 8:31 AM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Temperatures are dropping and you’re switching your air system from “cool” to “warm.” You can make tweaks to your daily routine that don’t cost a dime. Others may require purchasing a new product. “There may be some things that might require a little bit of an investment like switching your light bulbs or installing a programmable thermostat might require a little investment upfront, but they can save you in the long run,” says Kaley Bohlin with Evergy. Here are some things to keep in mind as you work to save money on bills during the cooler months:

  1. Keep your home a few degrees cooler. Keeping the indoor temperature a few degrees below 70 can make a big difference in your bill.
  2. Turn the thermostat down while you’re sleeping or at work. Drop the temp a few more degrees when you are not active inside of your home.
  3. Install a programmable thermostat. Although it has a cost, installing a programmable thermostat gives your furnace the ability to automatically cool down while you’re sleeping and away at work. It warms back up when it’s time to wake up or come home from work.
  4. Open the blinds. Let the sunshine in and warm up your home. Close them when the sun sets to keep the warm air from escaping.
  5. Don’t wash partial loads. Wait until the dishwasher is full before running it. Skip the heat-dry cycle, too. Just open the door and let them air dry.
  6. Save in the laundry room. Run full loads in the washer as well. Choose cooler water as often as possible. Hot water costs more.
  7. Turn off the lights. During the winter, we have fewer hours of sunshine and we spend more time inside at home. Turn off the lights when you can, especially when you’re not in that room.
  8. Use low or no-energy holiday decorations. While decorating for Halloween and Christmas, skip the decorations that have lights or use power. If you want to decorate with lights, use a programmable power strip and set the timer to turn off the power when you are not home to enjoy the decorations.
  9. Avoid rooms with poor insulation. Spend your time in insulated interior rooms. Keep the garage door closed to limit the cooler air reaching interior walls.
  10. Swap out your bulbs for LEDs. While they may cost a few extra dollars, Evergy says LEDs use up to 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than traditional bulbs.
  11. Do not rely on space heaters as your primary heat source. Your central heating system is more energy-efficient than a portable heater. Running a space heater while it’s plugged into an extension cord or power strip also poses a fire danger in your home.
  12. The fall could bring cool nights and warm days. When it’s too warm for the furnace, try cooling down the room with a ceiling fan or box fan before flipping on the A/C.
  13. Change the filter in your air system. Your furnace’s filter needs to be changed every three to six months to allow proper airflow into the system.
  14. Get your system serviced by a professional. An HVAC professional will check that your system is running efficiently and properly. Any problems with your furnace could boost the cost to operate.
  15. Consider investing in new appliances. Although it’s a high cost up-front, newer appliances use less energy that pays off in the long run.
  16. Talk to your energy provider about payment options. Evergy knows its customers are working through uncertainty and unemployment. " We also offered to special customer payment plans which included bill credits to help our customers to bring their account current, and we are also continuing to waive late fees through the end of the year," Bohlin says. Agencies in Kansas counties offer payment assistance programs for those affected by COVID.

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