Three Ways to Save on Energy Costs this Winter

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Cooler weather has arrived and for most of us we will turn on our furnaces for the first time.

Channel 13 wants to help you save some money this winter season, so we tracked down an expert to give you some advice to protect your pocket book.

Dave Williamson works with Polk County in Housing Services Department. His team travels throughout the county to evaluate homes on how they can be more energy efficient.

Williamson’s teams specializes on improving the living conditions of some the lower income families in Polk County. You can contact his office at the link here to see if you qualify. He works closely with MidAmerican Energy and says they offer a program that will help people increase the efficiency of their homes too.

Here are some small tips from Williamson that could save you big money this winter.

What are the most common issues you see when you do inspections on homes?

“Furnace filters that need to be changed to promote the efficiency of the furnace. Weatherstripping is big too.  We do a lot of really technical things that would be too much for people. I would recommend contacting a private contractor or MidAmerican to check your home. Also, if you qualify through the county we can come out and perform an evaluation,” said Williamson.

What is one small thing homeowners can do to save on energy cost?

“A good way to save is to is to set your thermostat at a couple degrees than you normally would. You might have to wear a sweater or bundle up with a blanket but it could save you quite a bit. If you set it just two degrees cooler it could save you over six percent on your bill. If you are comfortable with setting it seven degrees cooler it could be a savings of 25 percent.  A programmable thermostat would help you in the sense of when you’re sleeping you can set a lower temperature,” said Williamson.

How big of a difference can switching to compact fluorescent lightbulbs make?
“Just from my own personally experience, I changed the ones in my own home and my electric bill dropped $18-a-month. Those bulbs are going to be double the cost of incandescent bulbs but you’ll save that money is a short amount of time. In less than a year those light bulbs would be paid for,” said Williamson.

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