How to Save Money on Energy Bills - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

How to Save Money on Energy Bills

Posted: Updated:

With Winter around the corner, many may be wondering how to keep the heat in their homes, during the cold Winter months. But there's a program you may qualify for to help with that struggle.

The Human Resource Development Council, or HRDC, has a program dedicated to helping those in need stay warm in their homes.

"Our ultimate goal is people to not go without heat. It shouldn't be an option now-a-days where we definitely have all the resources to help folks so that they don't go without heat," says Amber Uzelac, Program Coordinator for HRDC's Low Income Energy Assistance Program. Also known as LIEAP, the program strives to help those who can't afford to pay their energy bills. "A lot of clients are living just paycheck to paycheck which most Montanans are I think, and to be able to have one bill that's covered for seven months is really stress relieving."

If you qualify for the program, you'll receive financial assistance, and can be included in the Client Education Program where you'll learn how to save even more.

"We show people how to save money with their lighting, their heating, and air sealing," says Tony Mullen, Weatherization Inspector for HRDC.

Those who qualify for LIEAP are automatically added to the priority list for the Weatherization and Client Education Program.  

"We give people the tools they need so they can maintenance appliances themselves and make them run more energy efficiently," says Mullen.

Here are some extra tips from HRDC's Weatherization and Client Education program:

Regularly clean your furnace filters and replace every one to three months, which can be purchased at your local home improvement store.

Clean dust out of the coils of your fridge.

Air sealing can be achieved by caulking, spray foam, weather strips, and window plastic, and can really make a big difference in the amount of air coming in. Install insulated covers over window air conditions and swamp coolers if removal is not an option. Use foil tape and/or mastic for leaks in ducting up to the floor.

To insulate, seal first, and then insulate. Adding insulation to your home will not be effective if heat can travel through the cracks. If you can see light under a door, cold air is getting in or out.

For every one degree you turn your heater down you can save 1% on your energy costs.

Turn your water heater to 120 degrees instead of 140 or 160, which is where most are set. Heating water is between 15-30% of energy consumption. Installing insulation on the tank and water lines along with setting the thermostat back to 120 degrees and flushing the sediment from the tank regularly can save 16%.

Lighting makes up 11% of energy consumption. Switching to compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and turning off things when not being used can save up to 75%.

Depending on age, switching to energy star appliances could pay for themselves in the long run.

To find out more information about HRDC's LIEAP or Weatherization and Client Education program, or to apply, click on Connections.