Fresno experts offer tips for bringing utility bills down this winter

Brittany Jacob Image
Thursday, November 17, 2022
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Action News spoke with energy and hardware experts who shared simple steps you can take so you don't break the bank this season.

FRESNO (KFSN) -- With temperatures dropping, you may be concerned about heating bills rising.

Action News spoke with energy and hardware experts who shared simple steps you can take so you don't break the bank this season.

For some, cold weather means bundling up in blankets at home, but for others, it's time to crank up the heat.

One way to reduce your heating bill is knowing how to detect and prevent heat loss in a house.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration officials say those who use natural gas to heat their homes will end up spending 28% more this winter compared to last year.

PG&E spokesperson Denny Boyles said the war in Ukraine is one of the main factors that increased the commodity's price worldwide, but there are ways for customers to minimize how much they spend.

"A big driver of energy cost in any house is going to be if you are leaking the conditioned air, whether it's heated or cooled out into the environment," Boyles said. "So look under doors, make sure you don't have leaks around your windows"

Boyles said another tip is to reverse your ceiling fans to the clockwise direction and run them on a low speed to push warm air down.

At Fresno Ag Hardware in Northeast Fresno, Ian Williams says the staff is there to help teach people how to maintain their homes during these cold months.

He advises on how one can lower their bills and better insulate their house.

"We always joke that this is the University of Fresno Ag Hardware, so we have a lot of customers come in not knowing a thing and leaving here empowered and ready to tackle any project," Williams said.

Williams said there are some cost-effective ways to keep your house warm.

He says window seals help to make sure cold weather isn't getting through.

Door shoes help close the gap between the bottom of the door and the floor of the house. Williams says throwing on a door shoe on the bottom can help reduce that cold weather getting in.

Also for the door, a KERF weather stripping gives you protection through all three sides.

Space heaters also help keep small rooms warm, just be sure to follow safety instructions.

PG&E also has discount programs that help eligible customers pay their energy bills.

Fresno residents have the highest enrollment in the state.

"Contact us if you are struggling to pay your energy cost, we have a variety of programs that we can use to help you," Boyle said.

PG&E offers free home gas safety checks to make sure the pilot light is lit and that the gas appliances are operating appropriately.

PG&E also offers the following tips to safely reduce the cost of keeping warm:

  • Lower thermostat: Setting the thermostat to 68 degrees (health permitting) during the cooler months can save up to 15% on energy bills. Save about 2% on your heating bill for each degree the thermostat is lowered (if the turndown lasts a good part of the day or night).
  • Control water temperature: Set your water heater thermostat at 120F or lower. This way you'll reduce the amount of energy it takes to produce and maintain your hot water by not overheating it.
  • Stop drafts in their tracks: Save up to 10% on annual energy costs by reducing drafts and saving energy by sealing holes around pipes, wiring, vents or recessed lights with foam or caulk.
  • Keep warm air moving: Reverse your fan in winter to produce a gentle updraft, forcing warm air near the celling down into the living space.
  • Don't close vents in unused rooms: Closed registers force the same amount of air through other ducts. This builds pressure in the system and makes the HVAC work harder to distribute air where needed.
  • Invest in energy-saving products: Install a programmable thermostat to save about $180 annually in energy costs.

For more tips on saving energy this winter, visit www.pge.com/winter.