With a new year behind us, it’s important to take an inventory of your cost of living from 2013 and create a budget for 2014. Did you want to fit in a family vacation to Florida? How are you going to afford that high school reunion trip? What about your cousin’s wedding next fall?
A new year sometimes brings a tighter budget or a need to create more wiggle room with your expenses. Saving here and there can add up greatly. One area of your family’s expenses that you can control and save more with is your heating and energy bills. Each month, you receive a bill from your utility based on the previous month’s usage. But did you know there’s something (actually, many things) you can do to try to save money on those energy bills throughout the year?
Continue reading to learn how you can save money on your Pennsylvania home’s heating and cooling costs throughout the entire year ahead!
Winter & Fall Tips for Saving
- Turn down the thermostat – Even keeping your thermostat at 68 rather than 72 can save you money in the long run. According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, you can save about three percent on your heating bills for every degree you turn down your thermostat.
- Put your fans in “reverse” mode – Ceiling fans are not just for cooling off in the summer! Did you know most fans have a reverse or winter mode? It helps push down the warm air that rises so that you can feel the heat from your gas furnace longer.
- Use curtains to your advantage – Curtains help keep heat in the rooms and decrease heat loss through windows and panes. At night, keep curtains closed to prevent heat escape. During the day, you can take advantage of the sun though; open the curtains of south-facing windows to allow the solar heat to warm your rooms. This will let you have a more comfortable home without running your furnace more. If you choose to keep your shades close to limit visibility to potential outside intruders, your curtains will still provide a helping hand by keeping in the heat (preventing heat loss through windows and adding another layer of “insulation”).
- Switch to natural gas – Natural gas is a more affordable fuel choice when compared to propane and oil. It is also domestically abundant—especially in Pennsylvania with the Marcellus Shale—and is the cleanest burning fuel choice. UGI EnergyLink makes it easy to switch to our natural gas service. For residential enrollment, click here.
- Layer up! – You might laugh at the reindeer sock or furry slippers that were wrapped for you under the tree this year, but they can actually come in handy when trying to save money on your heating bills.
- Install a humidifier – dryer air feels colder and you will need your furnace to run more to make the air feel warmer. With a humidifier, the humidity turns back toward normal levels and you won’t need as much furnace-warmed air to heat your home.
Spring & Summer Tips for Saving
- Raise your thermostat – In the hotter months of Pennsylvania summers, it can be tempting to keep your house as refreshing as an ice box, but you can still beat the heat and save money on your energy bills by turning up the thermostat a few degrees—setting it to 78 degrees can save you a surprising amount of money compared to leaving it at 75 or lower.
- Utilize fans and window shades – Fans will help with how cool the room actually feels (without changing the actual temperature). Window shades can prevent your home from heating up during the day when the sun is the brightest and warmest. Keep your curtains or shades tightly closed to prevent your house from heating up greatly during the day.
- Open the windows – while the summer heat may seem to drone on for days, there are frequent cooler, breezier days that you can take advantage of. On those days, turn off the air and let fresh air cycle through your home. If it’s too hot during the day to let in any PA heat, try opening your windows just in the early morning and later evenings when the outside air has cooled off.
- Choose an independent electric company – In Pennsylvania, you can select your electricity provider and lock in lower rates on your home’s energy bills. To take advantage of UGI EnergyLink’s affordable rates for your electricity supply later this year, contact us today.
- Cook outside – If you have a grill or community patio, using it to cook outside can not only decrease your cooking costs, but help keep your home cooler by avoiding turning on your oven or stove.
Year-Round Tips for Saving
- Invest in a programmable thermostat – Don’t waste money on heating or cooling your home while no one is there. A programmable thermostat allows you to pre-set the comfort level within your home and avoid wasting money and fuel to heat or cool an empty home. Your wallet (and your HVAC system) will thank you.
- Wash your clothes with cold water – It’s commonly believed that you must wash your whites in warm or hot water, but in fact, you can save money and wash all your laundry on the cold setting. A surprising portion of heating costs goes toward heating the water for your washing machine. Cold water will also help protect your fabrics better!
- Change your filters – The filters on your vents and furnace/AC unit should be changed monthly depending on how much you run your system. New, clean filters will allow your system to run more efficiently—saving you money each month.
- Schedule annual inspections of your HVAC systems – Having a professional heating and cooling technician service and tune-up for your furnace and air conditioner each year can add years to its lifespan and ensure it runs efficiently all season long. For PA residents, UGI EnergyLink offers many HVAC protection plans that include inspections—click here to learn more!
- Unplug appliances when not in use – This “phantom energy” or power happens when energy is used by appliances that are not in use but that are left plugged into the outlet—what a waste! Unplug any appliances (and phone chargers) when not in use to save on your monthly energy bills even more.
Switch to UGI EnergyLink for Natural Gas & Electricity
UGI EnergyLink is here to help if you’re looking to cut costs and the opportunity to save on your monthly bills, which will ultimately help you save year-round. Right now, we have competitive rates on natural gas and can also offer you ways to save on your electricity supply. To lock in your rate, enroll today!
We have been serving the area for over 127 years and offer great customer service with an easy transition to our gas and electricity services.