How To Get Over Utility Bill Sticker Shock

SPOKANE — Your most recent utility bill may have kept you up at night as when the temperatures drop your bill typically rises a lot. However there are some fairly easy ways to keep your utility bill manageable.

We all know to keep the thermostat down and turn the lights off, but there are some other ideas out there to lower your monthly utility bill, some come with no cost while others a hefty investment that could pay off in the long run.

“If you think about it the third biggest expense after mortgage and taxes … energy costs,” Chris Permann with Energy Doctors in Spokane said.

Chris Permann says when the temperature drops business picks up because so many people this time of year get sticker shock when they open their utility bill. Using a camera that picks up temperature variances he pinpoints where cold air might be leaking into your home.

“In order to improve the efficiency of your house, you have to know what’s wrong,” Permann said.

Chris’ camera can show you where your insulation might be a little thin, whether your windows are allowing cold air inside and he can point out the coolest spot in your home…

He admits some of the home improvements he suggests can be costly but can pay off big time in the long run.

“You could probably knock 10, 15-percent off of your bill just by buying good window coverings,” Permann said.

Christine McCabe with Avista says you don’t have to spend in order to save, although she says the savings may not add up as fast. Her first suggestion is to let your dishes air dry rather than let the dishwasher dry them for you.

She also suggests you use your microwave over your oven, and if you do use the oven. leave the oven door open when you’re done cooking to warm up the kitchen.

McCabe added that your freezer runs more efficiently when its full.

“If you have space in here take jugs of empty gallons of milk, put water in them and freeze them,” McCabe said.

In your living room, arrange your furniture so it’s away from the windows and any cold draft as well as away from the vents. Also if you’re willing to spend some money Christine recommends installing a programmable thermostat.

“You would see savings immediately if you’re the type of person who forgets to turn your heat up and down,” she said.

For just a few dollars Christine suggests you purchase items at your local hardware store that will seal up your doors and windows, though she does admit it may not save you a lot.

“It’s really hard to talk about the savings. It does bring you savings, but it brings you comfort to your home,” she said.