DIY tips, assistance programs to help you save on home heating

Posted January 17, 2013 at 11:36 am

As the cold weather firmly takes hold in most parts of the country, you might notice a steep spike in your utility bills as your heating system works to keep your house warm.

If you’re trying to keep your heating bill in check, there are some assistance programs and DIY-tips available from USA.gov that might help.

See if you qualify for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Families who meet the qualification standards are eligible for assistance with their heating bills. You must apply for LIHEAP benefits through your state. Some states also offer assistance to help you weatherize your home. If you need additional help applying for LIHEAP benefits, you can call 1-866-674-6327.

If your heating system is in need of improvements, you might qualify for the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). This program helps low-income families lower their utility bills by making their homes more energy efficient. The weatherization program also provides a safety check to major energy systems to ensure everyone who lives in the home stays safe. Each state has different eligibility requirements. Find out if you qualify, what forms and documentation you need and how to apply for assistance.

If you don’t qualify for LIHEAP or WAP, there are plenty of steps you can take on your own to weatherize your home and help keep your energy bills lower this winter.

*Air leaks in your house let warm air escape. A quick and easy way to save money is to seal all cracks and openings. Learn how you can caulk and weatherstrip areas of your home to prevent air leaks.

*Let natural light from the sun into your house during the day by opening your curtains. Sunlight will naturally help heat your home.

*Install a programmable thermostat or set your current thermostat about 10 to 15 degrees lower than normal for the hours when you won’t be in your home.

*Turn down the temperature on your water heater. Heating your water can make up 14 to 25 percent of your energy bill. By dropping the temperature, you’ll save money.

You can find more tips for saving money and energy at home in the Energy Savers Guide.