Energy bill shock! How to keep your bill low, while staying warm

Energy bill shock! How to keep your bill low, while staying warm

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - When the temperature drops, energy bills are on rise. There are things you can do right now to make sure your bill is as low as possible.

NBC12 is teaming up with Dominion Energy with heat-saving tips to help you save money.

One of the most effective things you can do is to change out your furnace filter. When filters get dirty and dusty, the HVAC system works much harder to emit heat into your home.

"The number one cause of breakdowns is a dirty furnace filter. It can make your system work really hard," said Janell Hancock, a spokesperson with Dominion Energy.

Have a professional check your heating system regularly to make sure it is working at full efficiency.

Any cracks or air-leaks in your home must be sealed, so warm air can't sneak out. Use weather stripping to seal windows and doors.

On sunny days, keep the curtains or blinds open to let the light in, warming the home. At night, close the window treatments to keep the warm air in.

A cozy fireplace can help keep us warm, but if they're not in use, make sure the flue is closed. Hot air can be easily sucked right out through the chimney, if you don't make sure your flue is completely shut.

"Over time, they can shift. You might think you closed it last winter, and there's a gap in it," said Hancock.

It's tempting to raise the thermostat. However, Dominion experts recommend keeping the temperature of your home at 68 degrees, if you can bare it. If you're going to be gone for more than about eight hours, lower your thermostat to 60 or 65 degrees. You'll save three percent for each degree lowered.

"So if you knock down three degrees and leave it there, you're going to save about ten percent on your bill, which could have a big impact on you," continued Hancock.

Dominion also offers a budget bill pay plan, for a more consistent bill. Customers pay a monthly average, based on your previous year's usage. At the end of the year, your actual usage is tallied and you could get a refund or have to pay a bit more.

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