6 Ways to Get Lower Utility Bills this Winter11/10/2014The winter months bring tons of enjoyable activities and events, but it can also take a toll on your pocketbook. From holiday lights to keeping your home cozy in the middle of harsh weather, many Portland Metro families experience high energy costs. Luckily, you can take some easy steps to decrease your expenses and achieve lower utility bills. Our team at Central Air Inc in Portland Metro created a list of ways you can save. Try them out and see lower utility bills this winter season. 1. Adjust your thermostat. Change your thermostat to lower heating output at times when you’re asleep or not home. Three to five percent more energy is required when your furnace is set above 68 degrees, so try keeping your home at 68 degrees when you’re at home and awake, and lower 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 do full loads. This will help you save on water heating, water usage and on heat required for the dryer. You don’t want to do more laundry than you have to anyway, 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 areas where your home is losing energy through leaks, drafts, or products and appliances that use more energy. The assessment can explain how to save as much as possible, including long- and short-term energy-saving options. 4. Properly seal your leaks. From your heating and cooling ducts to attics, walls and windows, there are a number of areas in your home that may be allowing cold air in. Simply cover windows with plastic, and add caulk or weatherstripping to seal leaks coming through doors and windows. Contact Central Air Inc to hear more about sealing your air ducts. 5. Use LED holiday lights. One of the easiest ways to achieve lower utility bills is to switch out your 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 last up to 40 holiday seasons in Portland Metro. 6. Install a high-efficiency furnace. If you need to upgrade your furnace, consider an energy efficient furnace. Some systems can save hundreds of dollars every year on annual heating bills over older furnaces. Or, if it’s not quite time for a replacement, remember to schedule a maintenance visit for your current furnace. An easy tune-up can help you achieve lower utility bills by making it easier for the system to work. For more information on how you can lower your utility bills this winter, give Central Air Inc in Portland Metro a call at 503-656-1908.