PUD offers help, tips on lowering winter heating bills

EVERETT — As temperatures drop heading into winter, heating bills go up — sometimes by twice as much as in the summer.

Snohomish County Public Utilities District has several incentive programs and tips to help ratepayers keep their bills down.

First, turn down your thermostat. The PUD recommends keeping it at 68 degrees when you are home and awake and 55 degrees at night or when you are away. The colder it is outside, the more energy it takes to heat a home, PUD spokesman Neil Neroutsos said.

There are many ways to help keep your home warm without turning up the thermostat. The PUD will pay for installing insulation, putting in more efficient windows and sealing any air leaks that let warm air escape from heating ducts.

The rebate for swapping a single-pane for a double-pane window is up to $6 per square foot of window. That would be $60 for a window measuring 3-feet, 8-inches by 2-feet, 8-inches, a standard size found in many American homes. The PUD will pay as much as $1,500 to install a more efficient heat pump.

To get a rebate for the work, electricity customers must use a PUD-approved contractor, who also handles the rebate paperwork. If you have questions, contact the PUD at 425-783-1000 (8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday). To learn more online, search for “weatherization” at www.snopud.com.

The district also makes it cheaper to switch out incandescent bulbs for more efficient ones. The PUD has partnered with several local stores to offer discounts on more efficient bulbs, shower heads and other items.

“If you switch 10 incandescent bulbs to 10 LED bulbs, you’ll save about $90 a year on your bill,” Neroutsos said. “That together with other improvements, like adding insulation — those things add up.”

To find out where to buy discounted bulbs, go to www.snopud.com/specialoffers.

The PUD even makes it cheaper to buy more efficient refrigerators and other appliances. Some of the offers end Dec. 31. Learn more online at www.snopud.com/appliances.

Another option for warding off big winter bills is to sign up for the district’s budget payment plan. Under the plan, bills are calculated by averaging a customer’s total usage over the past 12 months. After a year on the plan, if a customer paid too much or too little, that difference is spread over the next 12 monthly bills, Neroutsos said.

Dan Catchpole: 425-339-3454; dcatchpole@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @dcatchpole.

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