With colder weather now upon us, we encourage residents to plan ahead for heating season and take steps now to save energy and money this winter.
Although energy costs have increased nationwide due to higher wholesale natural gas prices, there are still actions you can take to insulate your home, and your wallet. And in the event you find yourself struggling to pay the bills, there are several financial assistance options available.
For eligible households, Arapahoe County’s energy-saving Weatherization Program provides free weatherization services. These services can help you lower annual utility costs, identify potentially life-threatening safety issues, and stay cooler in summer and warmer in winter.
If you find yourself in crisis — whether to pay the bills or are facing a costly broken furnace — there are several resources available that can financially assist qualifying households. Additionally, Xcel Energy offers both alternative payment options and affordability programs to help carry you through difficult times.
Meanwhile, Xcel Energy offers these simple ways that every household can conserve energy:
- Let the sunlight in and keep the cold out: Open blinds to take advantage of the sun's warmth during the day but close them at night to insulate against the cold air outside.
- Lower your thermostat: During winter months, set the thermostat between 65-70 degrees while you’re home, and 58 degrees when you're away.
- Invest in a programmable thermostat: It automatically adjusts the temperature based on your routine and could help you save on heating costs.
- Make sure exterior doors are fully closed: A major source of a home’s heat loss is from exterior doors that are left cracked open or not latched.
- Use fans to your advantage: During colder months, run ceiling fans clockwise, so warm air near the ceiling is forced down.
- Keep your oven's heat where it belongs: Avoid opening the oven door while you cook. Each time the door is open, even for just a few seconds, the temperature drops 25 degrees.
- Lower your water heater's temperature or insulate it: The proper temperature for a water heater is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. By lowering it 10 degrees, you can save 3-5% on your water heating costs; you can also insulate it to maximize efficiency.
- Keep filters clean: Dirty furnace filters reduce airflow, requiring your furnace to work harder and use more energy. Change the filter once a month during the winter to reduce your heating costs by 5-15%.
- Don't let the heat escape: Affordable window sealing kits can be found in most local home improvement stores and can help you save.
- Improve insulation: Improving the insulation of walls, crawl spaces, floors and heating ducts is one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to reduce energy costs, saving you up to 10% on your monthly energy bill.