NEWARK, N.J., Dec. 31, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Cold weather has arrived, and heating systems are working hard. Don't let the warm air escape from your home. With natural gas prices at historic lows, PSE&G's residential customers are paying 39 percent less for gas than in Jan. 2009. But there are simple ways to lower your bill even more.
Some ways to stay warm and manage your heating bill this winter:
- Lower your thermostat by just one degree, which may reduce your heating bill by up to 3 percent. Save even more by lowering your thermostat 2 degrees during the day and 5 to 10 degrees at bedtime, if health conditions permit.
- Check for sufficient water levels in the sight glass for hot water and steam heating systems to ensure maximum efficiency. Clean or replace the furnace filter on hot air heating systems.
- Close dampers in fireplaces you don't use.
- Wrap the outlet pipe with inexpensive flexible insulating tubing to reduce the time it takes for hot water to reach your shower. Set your hot water heater to no more than 120 degrees.
- Move furniture and drapes away from heating registers, radiators, and baseboard element covers. Open any register or baseboard dampers.
- Cover window air conditioners to reduce drafts. Install insulated or lined drapes on your windows.
- Use weather stripping or one-sided sticky tape to seal up cracks and prevent drafts in windows and doorframes. Caulk smaller gaps. Beneath doors, install draft guards available at hardware stores.
- Use a shrink film insulation kit on really drafty windows or make one yourself from plastic sheeting and double-faced tape.
- Seal wall switches and electrical outlets with small foam gaskets available from home improvement centers and hardware stores. Remove the cover plate, insert the gasket, and screw the cover plate back in place.
- If you have a door leading outside from your basement, hang a full-size sheet of plastic from the door frame to keep heat from escaping. Seal windows in the basement with plastic to create a barrier against the cold. (Make sure you allow enough air supply to keep your fuel-burning appliances safely.)
- Keep your garage door closed if the garage is attached to the house.
- If your budget permits, install (or have installed) a programmable thermostat that you can set to automatically lower room temperatures when rooms are not in use and also at bedtime if health conditions permit.
- Visit PSE&G's Home Energy Toolkit at www.pseg.com/toolkit. You can calculate the energy efficiency of your home and find out how to save energy and money on appliances and heating systems.
Other PSE&G Programs and Services Available:
- High usage of natural gas during cold spells may result in higher-than-normal bills. Customers can take advantage of the utility's Equal Payment Plan to manage the fluctuating cost. Residential customers can enroll by calling 1-888-275-PSEG (7734).
- Customers struggling to pay winter heating and electric bills may receive help from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), NJ SHARES or the TRUE Grant.
- The LIHEAP program is based on family size and last month's income and is geared to those who are lower income. Applications for LIHEAP are available at the PSE&G customer service centers listed on your bill. Information about LIHEAP can be found at www.pseg.com/help or by calling 800-510-3102 Monday through Saturday.
- NJ SHARES (1-866-NJSHARES) and the TRUE Grant (1-855-465-8783) both help moderate income households that are not eligible for LIHEAP. To apply online or for more information, visit www.pseg.com/help.