As temperatures drop, energy bills spike: here’s how to save

Along with freezing temperatures and snow, winter also happens to bring along pricer heating bills — but Avista engineers say you don’t have to spend a ton of time or money to save a ton.

Chief energy efficiency engineer Tom Lienhard said a little goes a long way in the winter when it comes to cold coming in your home and the steps you can take to keep it out.

“There might be a sixteenth-inch gap around their door and it doesn’t seem like much, but if you added that up, with math — that’s a softball-sized hole in your wall,” said Lienhard. “These things that leak… if you have a lot of them, they’re going to hurt you bad.”

Lienhard said you’ll be able to know if there’s a draft coming through your door if light shines through.

“They can run the flashlight around the outside of the edge of the door and if you can see light any time they run that, that’s a place for you to kind of work on and see if you can stop the infiltration or the drafts coming in at that point,” he said.

Aside from drafts coming through your front and back doors, Lienhard said it’s also best to check for airflow coming through your windows and even the outlets on your exterior walls.

“You’re going to find that around there and in around the outlet itself is a lot of air space and that’s where we see the air coming through from the outside often,” Lienhard said.

He also recommended switching out your furnace filters every one to two months during the winter, as well as setting your thermostat to 68 degrees when you’re home, turning down the heat when you leave or head to bed.

“Your heating may be 20% of your bill in October but that may change to be 60% of your bill by the time January rolls around,” said Lienhard. “That three degrees lower than 71 could be a 10-15% reduction in the amount that your bill is going to be.”

Lienhard said a quick trip to the hardware store will also save you money in the long run. According to Lienhard, socket sealers will cut off drafts through your outlets. He recommended looking into buying a window insulation kit for under $10. The kits include a plastic sheet and heavy-duty tape and can virtually turn a single-pane window into a double-pain window. If you do notice air coming through your doors, Lienhard said weatherstrips will do the trick.

For more money-saving tips from Avista, click here.