How to stop energy costs from rising while working remotely and managing frigid temperatures

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It's been a very chilly February, with temperatures hovering below freezing and sometimes dipping below zero

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Cooler temperatures can often lead to an increase in energy use as more and more people are heating their homes.

It’s been a very chilly February, with temperatures hovering below freezing and sometimes dipping below zero has had many people trying to keep warm.

While you’re unable to control the weather, there are some tips to keep your home warm without paying the price.

“In addition to more energy in the winter to heat their homes, customers who are spending more time working from home and in their homes during this pandemic are using more power than usual,” said Lauren Siburkis, spokesperson for First Energy.

More power can mean higher utility bills. According to the Department of Energy, your home’s heating and cooling account for up to 48% of your home’s energy consumption, so if you’re looking for a place to cut the cost, look to adjust your thermostat.

“You can, generally, save about 3% on your heating bill for every one degree you lower your thermostat,” Siburkis said.

Try lowering your thermostat to around 68 degrees when you’re at home. Siburkis also recommends turning it down when you leave or go to bed.

“If that means throwing on an extra layer of clothes or putting a blanket around you to warm up, that will really help you lower your energy costs,” she said. “There is no use in heating an empty home or heating your home when you’re already covered in blankets when you are asleep.”

Make sure to walk around your home and seal any doors, windows or cracks that may be letting cool air in.

“Those leaks require your furnace to work harder to heat your home, which in turn, uses more energy and can increase your bill,” Siburkis said.

Although the temperatures have been bitter, Siburkis says they haven’t noticed any trends in customers’ bills, as it varies from home to home.

Due to the pandemic, Siburkis says some customers are still struggling to make ends meet and pay their energy bills. She says it’s important to reach out to service providers, as many are working with their customers to establish payment plans.

First Energy offers more tips to lower your energy costs on their website.

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