6 Ways to Get Lower Utility Bills this Winter11/10/2014The cold season brings lots 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 Bakersfield families have high energy expenses. Luckily, there are easy ways to reduce your expenses and achieve lower utility bills. Our experts at Hillcrest Air Conditioning & Plumbing in Bakersfield put together a list of ways you can save. Try them out and enjoy lower utility bills this winter season. 1. Adjust your thermostat. Change your thermostat to lower heating output during hours 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. Don’t do laundry until you can run full loads. This will save you money on water heating, water usage and on heat needed for the dryer. You don’t want to do more laundry than actually needed, right? And, don’t forget: clearing 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 determine the areas where your home is losing energy through leaks, drafts, or products and appliances that use more energy. The assessment can show you ways to save on energy expenses, including long- and short-term energy-saving possibilities. 4. Properly seal your leaks. From your air ducts to attics, walls and windows, there are plenty 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 around doors and windows. Contact Hillcrest Air Conditioning & Plumbing to learn more about sealing your air ducts. 5. Use LED holiday lights. One easy way to achieve 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 last up to 40 holiday seasons in Bakersfield. 6. Install a high-efficiency furnace. If you need to replace your furnace, think about purchasing an energy efficient furnace. Some systems can save hundreds of dollars every year on annual heating bills versus older furnaces. Or, if it’s not quite time 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 do its job. For more information on how you can achieve lower utility bills this winter, give Hillcrest Air Conditioning & Plumbing in Bakersfield a call at 661-437-3499.