Keep Your Heating Bills in Check This Winter

In the middle of January or February, your gas or electric bill can be pretty shocking. You don’t have to turn the heat down to 60 degrees and pile on the blankets to keep your heating bill under control. Stay warm with these tips.

Winter is coming, and with it sky-high heating bills. If your Philly gas or electric bill spikes every year from December through March, it’s time to do something about it. There’s no reason why you need to pay an arm and a leg to keep you Philadelphia home comfortably warm all winter long.

Fix Up Your Furnace

If your furnace is working harder than it needs to, you’re likely to see higher heating bills throughout the winter. Before the temperatures fall too much, have a repair company come out and tune up your furnace for the winter. During a tune up, a heating contractor will fully inspect the machine, replace the filters, and perform any maintenance needed. The tune up helps your furnace run more efficiently throughout the winter.

Use Your Fans

Ceiling fans don’t just help keep your home cool in the summer. They can also help warm it up in the winter, as long as the blades are spinning the right direction. In the winter, adjust your fan so that the blades turn slowly clockwise, this creates an updraft, helping distribute the warm air in your home.

Seal Up Any Leaks

Your heating costs will increase if the warm air is able to sneak out of your home and if cold air is allowed to seep in. To keep things toasty, caulk around windows and doors to keep warm air in. Look at where your outlet boxes are too, as cold air can often seep in through them. If your home has a fireplace, make sure the dampers are closed (when not in use) so that air doesn’t leak up and out through the chimney.

Upgrade Your Thermostat

You know that lowering your thermostat a degree or two can cut the cost of heating your home. But it can be difficult to remember to raise or lower the temperature as needed. If you want to lower your bills, it can be helpful to purchase a smart thermostat. There are a number of brands available, but the basic concept is that they learn to automatically adjust the temperature in your home based on your habits and preferences and based on the time of year. Some smart thermostats let you know when to tune up your furnace or change the filter for maximum efficiency.

Work with Your Utility Company

You want to reduce your bills, and your utility company wants you to pay your bills on time. It should be no surprise that both PGW and Peco have programs designed to help you with your heating costs. One option offered by both companies is budget billing. With budget billing, you pay the same amount each month, based on your past use and averaged out over the year. You don’t save money with the budget bill plan, but it can help you avoid a bit of a shock or having to scramble to come up with money to cover a higher than usual bill in the winter.

PGW also offers a program called CARES, which provides payment help if you’ve had an unusual circumstance that’s keeping you from paying your bill. Job loss and a medical emergency are two examples of situations that might qualify you for the CARES program.

Pennsylvania offers LIHEAP for households that meet certain income limits. The program usually starts taking applications in November.

Don’t let high heating bills leave you cold this winter. You have lots of options for reducing your bills, without sacrificing comfort.

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