6 Ways to Get Lower Utility Bills this Winter11/10/2014The winter season brings a bunch of fun activities and events, but it can also impact your pocketbook. From holiday lights to maintaining a warm home during harsh weather, many Orange County 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 Ocean Air Conditioning in Orange County put together a list of ways you can save. Try them out and see lower utility bills this winter season. 1. Adjust your thermostat. Change your thermostat to lower heating output when you’re asleep or not home. Three to five percent more energy is used 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. Put off doing laundry until you have enough for full loads. This will help you save on water heating, water usage and on heat needed for the dryer. You don’t want to do more laundry than actually needed, right? And, remember: clearing out 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 places 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 possibilities. 4. Properly seal your leaks. From your heating and cooling ducts to attics, walls and windows, there are plenty of areas in your home that may be allowing cold air in. Simply tape heavy plastic over the windows, and add caulk or weatherstripping to seal leaks around doors and windows. Contact Ocean Air Conditioning to hear more about sealing your air ducts. 5. Use LED holiday lights. One of the simplest ways to achieve lower utility bills is to switch out your less efficient holiday lights for LED lights. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, these energy efficient lights use less energy than incandescent bulbs and can work for nearly 40 holiday seasons in Orange County. 6. Install a high-efficiency furnace. If you need a new furnace, look into an energy efficient furnace. Some systems can save up to $800 every year on annual heating bills compared to older furnaces. Or, if you’ve made a replacement recently, remember to schedule a maintenance visit for your current furnace. A simple 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 Ocean Air Conditioning in Orange County a call at 949-525-9119.