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When temperatures drop in the winter, many folks turn up the heat and hole up indoors. As a result, people often see a spike in their heating bills. Fortunately, there are many simple and effective tips Massachusetts residents can follow to reduce their heating bills while staying warm.

Winterize your home

Help prepare your home for winter with some simple steps.

  • Repair cracked or broken windows and make sure they are closing and locking correctly.
  • Caulk the frames surrounding doors and windows to prevent heat from escaping your homeSeal any air leaks in your home – Heated spaces such as attics and basements are most at risk. If you have a fireplace, make sure it is closed when not in use. You can eliminate heat loss by using a chimney block if your fireplace is only used once in a while.
  • Space heaters provide extra warmth to chilly corners or rooms; just remember they are expensive to run and not intended to replace home heating systems. For fire safety, keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from flammable objects such as newspapers, bedding, and furniture.
  • Manage heating system maintenance issues by doing an annual tune-up.

More Energy-Saving Tips

  • Replace older incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent lights or LEDs when possible. According to the S. Department of Energy (DOE), each fluorescent light bulb or LED will typically save you around $30 per year and are more energy-efficient for homes.
  • Repair any leaky hot water tanks, pipes, and faucets.
  • Clean or change out furnace filters every other month to enable better air flow throughout the house.
  • Set thermostats to 68 degrees while awake, or set it lower when asleep or out of the house. Turning your thermostat down 10 degrees to 15 degrees for an estimated 8 hours can save 5 percent to 15 percent each year on your heating bill.
  • Open shades and drapes on windows during the day to let sunlight warm your residence. Also, remember to close shades and drapes at night to keep heat in the house.
  • Look into the vast number of Mass Save® programs available to residents and businesses. They are designed to help you save energy and reduce costs.
  • The Department of Energy Resources (DOER) also provides tips and access to incentives.

LIHEAP and HEARTWAP

Additionally, the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED) offers programs to help those in need. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides fuel assistance to eligible families struggling to keep up with heating costs; eligibility is determined by gross annual income of each family member 18 years of age or older. Homeowners and renters can apply for the program at their localstate housing agency.

Additionally, the Heating System Repair & Replacement Program (HEARTWAP) administers replacement and repair services to low-income households.

By taking the time to make slight adjustments to your home and your habits, Massachusetts residents can save money on winter heating costs. Small tasks such as replacing light bulbs or cleaning furnaces add up and not only keep your home warm, but make it more energy-efficient. Set aside a time to make these minor changes now and you’ll be rewarded with a lower heating bill throughout the winter.

What are your tips for staying warm in the chilly winter months? Share them with us in the comments below or tweet us, @MassGov.

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