thermostatWhether you heat your home with electricity or gas, the bills can balloon out of control during colder weather months. Shelton-based electricity supplier, Discount Power, Inc. is offering tips for keeping heating costs under control, as well as prevent costly damage from pipes freezing or a fire caused by an alternative heat source.

“As an energy provider, we are committed to energy conservation and there are some simple steps you can take to use energy more efficiently, especially in the winter,” said Mike Ferreri, chief marketing officer. “Thinking through your habits as they relate to heating your home can have a dramatic impact on your bottom line.”

• Learn the precise temperature in your home. This can be accomplished by investing in an electric thermostat with a differential of eight degrees, maximum. Programmable thermostats cost as little as $20 and as much as $200 or more.

• Pipes will freeze if they are exposed and not insulated at 32 degrees. The biggest time for concern is when the temperature is less than 30 degrees for at least three days in a row. Wrap pipes nearest exterior walls and in crawl spaces with pipe insulation or with heating tape. Turn off outside faucet. Another way to prevent pipes from freezing is to open cabinet doors below sinks to allow heat from the home to circulate, plus keep your house temperature at 68 degrees or higher.

• Pull the curtains back and allow sunlight to enter the south side of your home during the afternoon. The sun’s power can help raise the temperature in your home naturally.

• Cover drafty windows with plastic or seal gaps with caulk and close insulated drapes for evenings. You pay a lot to heat your home, so the goal is to keep the warmth from seeping outside.

• Put rubber seals behind all outlets and switches. Few people remember these areas are an entryway for unwanted cold air.

• Put draft guards under each door exposed to outside including the garage, basement and hatchway.

• Insulate ceilings and spray insulation into walls if necessary.

• Change from incandescent bulbs to fluorescent, or LED for savings all year long.

“The key point here is that 80% of these recommendations are extremely simple to accomplish,” Ferreri said. “More importantly, by making some minor changes in your home, you can ultimately save big. Depending on your home, such steps could result in a potential 50% savings in your heating bill over the course of a winter season.”

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