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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • Small changes can reduce heating bills

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  • Dials on gas meters across the country are spinning faster as colder weather heralds the transition from fall to winter.
    Kansas Gas Service is predicting a six percent increase in customer bills in the November to May time frame compared to last year and based on "normal" weather conditions.
    This means the average KGS customer will pay a little over $35 more this heating season.
    As the weather cools down, it takes more heat to keep houses and occupants warm.
    The more energy used, the higher the heating bill.
    Many older homes are not as energy efficient as they could be but there are some simple and inexpensive ways to help reduce those heating costs. Kansas Gas Service offers the following tips to help keep heating costs lower.
    • Clean or replace air filters. A dirty furnace filter can cause the system to run less efficiently. Clean or change filters once a month.
    • Seal and insulate ductwork. Air can often escape through leaks in your system's ductwork. Apply foil tape to seal leaks and insulate exposed ductwork in unheated areas of the home.
    • Weatherize your home. Weather-stripping and caulking windows and doors can prevent cold air from entering the home and warm air from escaping.
    • Adjust your thermostat. Most people are comfortable with a daytime temperature of 68 degrees. Using a programmable thermostat or turning down the temperature when you are away form home can help reduce energy consumption.
    • Call in a professional. Have a professional inspect your natural gas furnace every year to maintain peak operating efficiency.
    The U.S. Department of Energy offers a variety of savings tips to help keep homes warm and cozy.
    • Open curtains on south facing windows during the day to allow natural sunlight heat then close at night to reduce chill from cold windows.
    • Cover drafty windows with heavy-duty plastic sheeting.
    • Install tight fitting insulated drapes on windows.
    • Seal leaks around utility cut throughs for pipes, gaps around chimneys and recessed lighting.
    • For fireplaces: keep damper closed unless in use; clean flue regularly; open dampers on the bottom of firebox or open the nearest window slightly; if the fireplace is never used-plug and seal the chimney flue; install tempered glass doors and heat-exchange system that blows air back into the room; caulk around the fireplace hearth.
    Other energy saving options:
    • Turn water heater to 120 degrees.
    • Use LED lights for Christmas decorations.
    • Turn off lights and unplug electrical devices in rooms that are not in use.
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