Saving money on your winter energy bill, SNAP winterizing program helping seniors

SPOKANE, Wash. — Have you noticed a spike in your energy bill already?

It’s that time of year again when the temperatures get lower and the bills get higher. But there are ways to make sure yours isn’t higher than it needs to be.

According to Avista, heat usage takes up 40-60% of your monthly energy bill in the winter.

And it usually varies depending on how old your home is, its size and how many people live there.

So Avista says it’s important to preserve that heat as much as possible.

“We always like to emphasize that we want our customers really to keep as much of their heated air inside of their homes, that their systems work so hard to generate,” said Avista Energy Efficiency Engineer Carlos Limon. “And that can be done by easy, cost-effective, low-cost measures.”

Some of those low-cost measures include sealing air leaks.

These could exist in and around your plumbing, cable and telephone lines or lighting fixtures.

You also may need to caulk around windows and doors.

Replacing your weather stripping can help preserve heat in the home and then keeping your thermostat set to about 68 degrees and dropping it a little when you’re not home.

To further lower your energy bill, replacing incandescent lights with LED lights is helpful too.

You can find more winter bill resources from Avista on its website.

With the pandemic affecting so many people financially, you don’t want your bill to be too high and you don’t want to spend too much trying to winterize your home.

For those who are low income and over the age of 60, there’s help out there for you through SNAP.

This new program is referred to as the A.L.T.C.E.W. Maintenance Program as it’s thanks to a grant this past summer from Aging and Long-Term Care of Eastern Washington.

For those who qualify, SNAP will send contractors to inspect your home and make sure it’s ready to withstand winter weather.

Some of these services include evaluating hot water heaters, furnaces, mobile home skirting, checking for air leaks in the home, leaks in the gutter outside a home and changing the batteries in a smoke or carbon monoxide detector.

These are just a few of the services, but most are tailored toward fixing problems that will save energy bills from being too high and save lives in the winter.

“Just the fact alone that they get excited about ‘Oh my gosh, my furnace hasn’t been checked out in 20 years!’ or ’10 years’, or ‘I’ve never had it checked!’. We’re able to go in and provide perhaps filters for people or just give a check and provide peace of mind. It’s just a wonderful, wonderful program,” said SNAP Home Repair Coordinator Kelly Sheperd.

To qualify for the program, you must be over the age of 60 and have a certain income level.

The program is largely about preventive maintenance and saving you money in the long run.

Even if you don’t think you’ll qualify, still call SNAP at the (509) 456-7627 as they are always looking for ways to help.