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Simple Measures Reduce Energy Bills

Posted: Aug 16, 2013 1:30 PM by Sam Hustis, KOMU 8 Reporter
Updated: Aug 16, 2013 10:36 PM

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COLUMBIA - A spokesperson for Columbia Water and Light says there are many ways consumers can reduce their monthly utility bill.

Connie Kacprowitz said the best place to start, for both renters and owners, is a free energy audit service offered by the city. "One of our staff members will look over the electric and water usage and come and make an on site visit."

Staff members are able to point out problem areas where air may be leaking, and help with ways to fix them, Kacprowitz said.

An air leak is one of the major problems that can cause a utility bill to skyrocket during months of either extreme high or low temperatures. One way to tell if a home is leaking air is the presence of mice or a large amount of bugs.

"It's a good idea to look for spider webs," Kacprowitz said. "If there are spider webs, they're going to build those webs where those bugs are coming in. That's a place you need to do some air sealing."

Consumers could also save money by knowing the ideal range for their thermostat settings in each season, Kacprowitz said.

In summer, she said, it's okay to change the temperature two or three degrees. During winter changing the temperature as much as 5 or 6 degrees when away from home can decrease the cost of an energy bill, she said.

"In the summertime a lot of it is humidity control, so you don't want to make those wide variations as much," Kacprowitz said. "In the wintertime you can go down a good 5 or 6 degrees when you're away from home."

"If you don't have a programmable thermostat, put your keys on top of your thermostat," Kacprowitz said. "That way you can remember to change the setting when you come and go, especially if you're going to be at work all day."

There are many other simple things people can do to keep their house cool during the warmer summer months.

  • Use heat-producing appliances during early morning or later in the evening
  • Close fireplace dampers
  • For gas fireplaces, keep pilot light off
  • Keep blinds closed
  • Check for cracks in the foundation of a home
  • Lock windows and doors for tighter air seal
  • Unplug appliances that are not in use

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