7 On Your Side tips to keep gas, electric bills low this winter

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A lot of things are getting more expensive in 2022, like groceries and -- no surprise -- medical care.

But energy costs are also on track to really light up your family's budget this year.

That's why 7 On Your Side has tips to tame your high gas and electric bill.

From simply closing the chimney flue when the fires not lit to looking for leaky drafts and sealing up cracks around walls, windows and doors -- the little things all add up.

For example, swapping out old incandescent light bulbs to more efficient LED bulbs.

"They cost a little more up front but they last longer," said consumer expert Andrea Woroch.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, nearly half of U.S. households heating their homes with natural gas will pay 30% more or about $746 on average this winter, while homes warmed with electricity will pay 6% more -- a shocking $1,268 for power this winter

"If you're living in an area where you need to run your air conditioning or your heat, then of course that's going to really impact your household budget," Woroch said.



She says working from home will also raise your usage a lot.

Unplug home office equipment, phone charges, printers, entertainment equipment, TVs and DVR boxes when not in use.

"Those things use energy at a high rate, even when they're not in use, and that accounts for 10% of your energy bill," Woroch said.

Use power strips or smart Wi-Fi enabled plugs and smart thermostats you can control from your phone.

"This will allow you to adjust temperatures when you're away from the home so you're not wasting energy," Woroch said.

Next do a basement to attic run -- start in the cellar, turning down the temperature a few degrees on your hot water heater can save money every month.

And upstairs, see if you can add a few inches to the insulation.

Also, take a look at your roof to stop heat from rising out. A well-insulated home should have snow on it, if it doesn't, it means the ice and snow has melted and you should add some insulation to the attic to keep the heat from going up and out.

ALSO READ | 7 On Your Side: How to get reimbursed for at-home COVID tests
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As of January 15, individuals with private health insurance or group health plan are able to have at-home COVID tests covered. Nina Pineda has more with 7 On Your Side.



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