CONSUMER ALERT: Low Temperatures Equal High Heating Bills
January 3, 2018
LITTLE ROCK – If the recent cold snap is a sign of what is to come this winter, Arkansans can expect higher than normal energy costs. The low temperatures mean furnaces are working overtime, and more money is draining from our pocketbooks to try to stay warm. But there are ways we can all save some money and beat high heating costs this winter.
“There are ways to save money, while still staying warm this winter,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Cold weather can impact a family’s bottom line which could impact another part of the budget. But just a few steps could help Arkansans stick to that budget.”
Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips to keep energy costs low throughout the colder months.
- Use a programmable thermostat to automatically lower the temperature when no one is home. Some newer models can connect to smartphones providing access regardless of your location.
- Seal cracks or holes around the home by weather-stripping doors and windows and adding insulation to walls, the attic and crawlspace to prevent loss of heat.
- Set ceiling fans to spin clockwise to recirculate rising hot air.
- Make sure baseboard heaters, air vents and radiators are unobstructed.
- Service the heating system at least once a year to ensure it is operating properly.
- Consult with a licensed plumber regarding potentially wrapping the water heater in a water heater insulating blanket and turning down the temperature to the warm setting to save money.
- Close the vents and doors to rooms that are not being used.
- Keep air filters clean and replace regularly.
Many Arkansans burn wood as a heat source, while other consumers heat with liquefied petroleum gas. Gas users should consider signing a long-term contract with a provider in order to lock in a specific price over a set period. Homeowners should also assess consumption needs and order propane refills prior to the current supply running out. Other heating sources like space heaters require caution and must be located away from flammable materials and can often impact energy costs. The Department of Energy reports that space heaters account for about 45 percent of energy bills in average U.S. homes.
Take caution of any products claiming to drastically lower heating costs and avoid unsolicited high-pressure sales calls or visits from contractors offering furnaces, windows, roofing and other home-improvement projects. Remember if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Other tips and resources are available at EnergyEfficiencyArkansas.org, a partnership between Arkansas utility companies and the Arkansas Energy Office. You can also reach out to your electricity or natural gas provider to see if they have any programs to reduce weather-related heating costs.
For more information about navigating utility costs and other consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@ArkansasAG.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.