During the winter months, it’s tempting to crank the heat and hibernate, but doing this can make electric or gas bills soar. Luckily, there are several simple ways to conserve energy and keep costs down when it’s cold outside. Additionally, Massachusetts offers fuel assistance programs to qualified households to help people stay warm without blowing their budget.
Commonly known as “fuel assistance,” the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides eligible households with home energy conservation services as well as fixed payment assistance for a household’s primary source of heat. Eligibility is based on household size and the gross annual income of every household member 18 years of age or older. Homeowners and renters and must apply in person at the fuel assistance agency in their area; applications are accepted from November 1st to April 30th every year.
The Heating Emergency Assistance Retrofit Task Weatherization Assistance Program (HEARTWAP) provides emergency heating system repair and replacement services to the primary heating system of low-income homeowners. Secondary or back-up systems are not eligible for HEARTWAP services. Households that are eligible for LIHEAP are also eligible for HEARTWAP services.
Also by following some simple tips residents can conserve energy, make their homes easier to heat, and save money.
- Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows that leak air.
- Make sure all heating vents are open and unblocked by furniture or other items. This will ensure that the air is evenly distributed throughout one’s home.
- Close the damper on your fireplace. A chimney functions as a large open window that draws warm air out of the room and creates a draft.
- Install a programmable thermostat to help lower utility bills and manage heating systems.
- Wear warm clothing, set your thermostat to 68°F or lower, and set the thermostat on your water heater to 120°F to save energy.
- Clean or replace filters on furnaces every other month.
- Keep the draperies and shades on windows open during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home and close them at night to keep the heat in.
- Having your oil-fired heating system serviced annually and your gas-fired heating system serviced every three years is good practice.
Additionally, Mass Save provides a wide range of financial incentives for replacing or upgrading lighting and appliances, or heating and cooling systems. Homeowners can apply for an interest-free loan of up to $25,000 to assist with the installation of qualified energy efficient improvements in their homes through the HEAT Loan Program. These improvements include attic, wall, and basement insulation, installing high efficiency heating systems and central air conditioning.
To qualify for the loan, homeowners must own a one- to four-family residence, obtain a Mass Save Home Energy Assessment, and install qualified energy efficiency measures recommended by a Mass Save representative.
What are your energy savings tips? Share your ideas by tweeting them to @MassGov or leave them in the comments below.
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Tags: cold temperatures, conserve energy, energy, energy efficient, energy saving, fuel assistance program, HEARTWAP, heat, heat conservation, HEAT loan program, LIHEAP, Mass Save Home Energy Assessment, money, save money, Saving, winter
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