6 Ways to Get Lower Utility Bills this Winter11/10/2014The cold season brings tons of fun activities and events, but it can also take a toll on your pocketbook. From holiday lights to maintaining a warm home throughout harsh weather, many Asheville families experience high energy expenses. Luckily, there are easy ways to reduce your expenses and achieve lower utility bills. Our team at 1st Choice Service Group Inc in Asheville created a list of ways you can save. Try them out and enjoy 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 required 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 can do full loads. This will save you money on water heating, water usage and on heat required for the dryer. You don’t want to do more laundry than actually needed, 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 areas where your home is losing energy through leaks, drafts, or products and appliances that use more energy. The assessment can show you how to save the most, including long- and short-term energy-saving options. 4. Properly seal your leaks. From your air 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 on doors and windows. Contact 1st Choice Service Group Inc to find out more about sealing your air ducts. 5. Use LED holiday lights. One of the easiest 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 last up to 40 holiday seasons in Asheville. 6. Install a high-efficiency furnace. If you need to upgrade your furnace, think about purchasing an energy efficient furnace. Some systems can save hundreds of dollars a year on annual heating bills over older furnaces. Or, if you’re not quite ready for a replacement, remember to schedule a maintenance visit for your current furnace. 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 1st Choice Service Group Inc in Asheville a call at 828-551-2913.