6 Ways to Get Lower Utility Bills this Winter11/10/2014The winter season brings tons of fun activities and events, but it can also impact your budget. From holiday lights to keeping your home cozy in the middle of harsh weather, many Scottsboro families are left with high energy costs. Luckily, there are steps you can take to decrease your expenses and achieve lower utility bills. Our experts at Southern Heating & Cooling Inc. in Scottsboro created a list of ways you can save. Try them out and enjoy lower utility bills this winter season. 1. Adjust your thermostat. Program your thermostat to lower heating output when you’re asleep or not home. Three to five percent more energy is consumed when your furnace is set above 68 degrees, so try keeping your home at 68 degrees when you’re at home and awake, and decrease 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 run full loads. This will help save money on water heating, water usage and on heat used for the dryer. You don’t want to do more laundry than actually needed, right? And, don’t forget: cleaning out 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 see the spots where your home is losing energy through leaks, drafts, or products and appliances that use extra energy. The assessment can explain how to save the most, including long- and short-term energy-saving solutions. 4. Properly seal your leaks. From your HVAC ducts to attics, walls and windows, there are a number of areas in your home that may be allowing cold air in. Simply tape heavy plastic over the windows, and add caulk or weatherstripping to seal leaks coming through doors and windows. Contact Southern 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 older, less efficient holiday lights for LED lights. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, these lights use less energy than incandescent bulbs and can work for nearly 40 holiday seasons in Scottsboro. 6. Install a high-efficiency furnace. If you need to replace your furnace, consider an energy efficient furnace. Some systems can save significant amounts of money every year on annual heating bills compared to older furnaces. Or, if you’re not quite ready for a replacement, remember to schedule a routine maintenance visit for your current system. A simple tune-up can help you achieve lower utility bills by making it easier for the system to operate. For more information on how you can achieve lower utility bills this winter, give Southern Heating & Cooling Inc. in Scottsboro a call at 256-574-1300.