It's costing us all a lot more to heat our homes this winter. Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows nearly half of U.S. Households that heat their homes with natural gas on average are expected to spend 30% more than they did last Winter, and about 40% who heat with electricity will spend 6% more.
Inflation seems to be the culprit and higher energy prices have people searching for ways to lower their monthly bills.
"We have noticed an influx of people looking at what Focus on Energy does," said Ron Giordan, a spokesperson for the state-wide program that partners with 107 utility companies in Wisconsin including We Energies.
Focus on Energy offers discounted smart thermostats on their website and gives rebates to anyone purchasing new energy-efficient products. You can also sign up to receive free energy pack products with products like pipe insulation and an advanced power strip.
"Everyone thinks, 'Oh we send out light bulbs and stuff like that.' There's a lot more we do for people in their homes," Giordan added.
Data from 2020 shows people in Wisconsin are taking advantage of what the agency has to offer.
"It was more than a million residents that used Focus on Energy to help make their homes energy efficient," said Ron Giordan, a spokesperson with the organization.
Giordan says homeowners can also schedule an energy assessment at their house. A contractor will come out and find trouble spots that may be causing high energy bills.
In the meantime, here are four steps you can take to help manage your energy costs.
1.) Lower your thermostat
"Even just a few degrees can make a big difference. So, when you leave the house for the day, when you go to bed at night, throw an extra blanket on the bed, and you really won't even notice the difference," said Alison Trouy with We Energies.
2.) Change out your furnace filter
"Every thirty days, check it. If it's dirty, if you can see a lot of pet hair, or debris, dust, go ahead and change it," Trouy said.
3.) Seal cracks on your windows and doors
"You can use caulk or weather stripping on doors. You can also use plastic sheeting that you can use your blow dryer and cover your windows, and that's going to keep that drafty air from getting inside your house and keep the warm air inside," she said.
4.) Let the sunshine in
"Open your blinds and drapes you want to let mother nature warm your home during the day. That can make a big difference on a super sunny day."