6 Ways to Get Lower Utility Bills this Winter11/10/2014The winter season brings tons of exciting activities and events, but it can also do a number on your budget. From holiday lights to maintaining a warm home in the middle of harsh weather, many Cedar Rapids families are left with high energy bills. Luckily, there are steps you can take to cut back your expenses and achieve lower utility bills. Our experts at Ilten's Incorporated in Cedar Rapids came up with a list of ways you can save. Try them out and experience lower utility bills this winter season. 1. Adjust your thermostat. Set your thermostat to lower heating output during hours when you’re asleep or not home. Three to five percent more energy is consumed when your furnace is set above 68 degrees, so try keeping your home at 68 degrees when you’re at home and awake, and reduce the temperature to 55-65 degrees at times when you’re away at work, out of town or sleeping to achieve lower utility bills. 2. Make sure you only wash when you have full loads. Hold on doing laundry until you can do full loads. This will save you money on water heating, water usage and on heat needed for the dryer. You don’t want to do more laundry than you have to anyway, right? And, keep in mind: cleaning the lint trap after every load can save you up to $34 a year, according to PG&E. 3. Conduct a home energy audit. A home energy audit can help you find the spots where your home is losing energy through leaks, drafts, or products and appliances that use more energy. The assessment can show you ways to save on energy expenses, including long- and short-term energy-saving options. 4. Properly seal your leaks. From your HVAC ducts to attics, walls and windows, there are a number of areas in your home that may be letting cold air seep through. Simply cover drafty windows with a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet, and add caulk or weatherstripping to seal leaks on doors and windows. Contact Ilten's Incorporated to find out more about sealing your air ducts. 5. Use LED holiday lights. One of the simplest ways to receive lower utility bills is to switch out your less efficient holiday lights for LED lights. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, LEDs use less energy than incandescent bulbs and can work for nearly 40 holiday seasons in Cedar Rapids. 6. Install a high-efficiency furnace. If you need to upgrade your furnace, think about purchasing an energy efficient furnace. Some systems can save up to $800 a year on annual heating bills versus older furnaces. Or, if it’s not quite time for a replacement, remember to schedule a routine maintenance visit for your current equipment. An easy tune-up can help you achieve lower utility bills by making it easier for the system to operate. For more information on how you can lower your utility bills this winter, give Ilten's Incorporated in Cedar Rapids a call at 319-363-0283.