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 wallet. From holiday lights to maintaining a warm home in the middle of harsh weather, many Pinellas County families have high energy bills. Luckily, you can take some easy steps to reduce your expenses and achieve lower utility bills. Our experts at Hale's Air Conditioning Services Inc in Pinellas County put together a list of ways you can save. Try them out and enjoy lower utility bills this winter season. 1. Adjust your thermostat. Set your thermostat to lower heating output at times when you’re asleep or not home. Three to five percent more energy is used 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. Don’t do laundry until you have enough for 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 you have to anyway, right? And, keep in mind: cleaning 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 places where your home is losing energy through leaks, drafts, or products and appliances that use excess energy. The assessment can show you how to save as much as possible, including long- and short-term energy-saving possibilities. 4. Properly seal your leaks. From your HVAC ducts to attics, walls and windows, there are many areas in your home that may be allowing cold air in. Simply cover drafty windows with a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet, and add caulk or weatherstripping to seal leaks coming through doors and windows. Contact Hale's Air Conditioning Services Inc to hear more about sealing your air ducts. 5. Use LED holiday lights. One of the easiest ways to get 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 energy efficient lights use less energy than incandescent bulbs and can last nearly 40 holiday seasons in Pinellas County. 6. Install a high-efficiency furnace. If you need a new furnace, think about purchasing an energy efficient furnace. Some systems can save significant amounts of money yearly 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 furnace. 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 Hale's Air Conditioning Services Inc in Pinellas County a call at 727-398-5515.