Tips on Reducing Your Energy Costs This Winter

Winter is just around the corner, which means higher gas and electric bills is also quickly approaching.

Even though most gas users pay an average of $160 a month, there are a few things you can do to help lower your heating costs as the temperature drops.

1. Calculator and Lower Energy Use. Nicor Gas offers a variety of tools on their website to help figure out how to lower your gas bill . The website offers an energy calculator, energy profile for each user, and even an online library full of tips to reduce energy usage.

2. Apply for a Rebate. Nicor gas and ComEd, both offer rebate programs on certain equipment.  Nicor currently offers rebates on Storage Water heaters, High efficiency heaters, and high efficiency boilers, while ComEd is offering a utility rebate program for appliance recycling.

3. Change your Furnace Filters. Experts say we should replace furnace filters every month during the heating season or switch to a permanent filter you can clean regularly.

4. Stop Drafts. You can use an old towel or make your own draft snake by stuffing a pantyhose leg with rice or sawdust and tie it at both ends. To find air leaks, place a lit candle in front of possible drafts, have someone blow through the crack from the other side, and watch to see if the flame flickers.

5. Install Weather Strip Thresholds. Often times we lose heat at the sides and top of doors and windows. Check out Dummies.com to learn how to install weather strips and solve this issue.

6. Install a Programmable Thermostat. By upgrading your thermostat’s technology, you can program your thermostat to keep your house cooler during the day, when you are at work, and automatically warm your house in the evening when you get home, saving you 10% on your heating and cooling bills each year.

7. Upgrade Your Attic Insulation. Heat rises, and if your roof is not properly insulated, the heat will rise right out of your home. Do yourself a favor and hire a professional to help you install fiberglass, rigid foam board, spray foam or cellulose insulate, and you will be surprised how much you will save on energy bills.

Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc., and has been featured among such top news outlets as Good Morning America, NBC’s Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. She is available for in-studio, satellite or skype interviews and to write guest posts or articles.