How to turn up your heater and keep costs down

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DENVER -- Xcel Energy says most consumers in Colorado use natural gas to heat their homes. That price is fixed, but there are some things you can do to reduce your consumption and your bill.

Sean Dunn and his family live in Park Hill. They purchased their home about four years ago and it needed some upgrades. “The coldest room in the house happened to be the nursery,” Dunn said.

Dunn said making their home comfortable and more energy efficient, was an easy decision. “Just the house being warm and actually being comfortable in it, it’s just such a difference maker, especially with them,” he said, pointing to his two young children and his wife, Tricia.

There was a big difference on their bill too. Dunn says they’re saving about $60 each month. But, it came at a price. They replaced seven windows downstairs, 15 upstairs and replaced the furnace and the water heater. Dunn considers it a worthy investment. “This is something we’ll realize our entire duration of living here.”

Those are things that can drastically reduce your monthly bill, but there are some simple tips as well. Some of the obvious ones include sealing cracks and checking your window coverings.

Gabriel Romero with Xcel Energy said one of the easiest things to do is get a programmable thermostat. He said they’re fairly cheap and can save a lot. “If you’re away during the day during work, obviously you don’t need your heat cranked up all the way.”

If you’re like the Dunn’s and are home with the kids during the day, another thing you can do is add some insulation. Dunn explained how he did it.  “I got under the house and rolled the installation. It’s easy to put in. You just stick it between the joists and it has made a really, really big difference.”

Also, skip the portable heater, it actually uses a lot of energy. IREA spokesman Josh Liss said to use “an electric blanket. It keeps you warm but doesn’t draw the same amount of power as a space heater.”

What works for one home, or one budget may not work for someone else. IREA offers free home energy audits to help you determine what you need to save money.

Both Xcel and IREA offer budget billing which averages your annual energy consumption so you can have a consistent monthly bill.



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