HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Pa. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Pa. Public Utility Commission spoke today to encourage Pennsylvanians to winterize their homes and give tips on how to save on utility bills.

Get daily news, weather, breaking news and alerts straight to your inbox! Sign up for the abc27 newsletters here

“Taking the time now to prepare for the weather ahead is important. Making simple changes to your home can help you to stay warm, save money, and save energy,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell.

The average Pennsylvanian family consumes more than 10,000 kWh of electricity annually, which means they spend more than $2,000 a year on energy bills. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, half of that energy consumed is for space heating.

The DEP encourages Pennsylvanians to consider the following tips before colder weather hits Pa. this winter season:

  • Set back the thermostat; each degree lowered can save up to 3 percent on heating
  • Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators regularly and make sure they are not blocked by furniture, carpeting, or drapes
  • Weather-strip windows and exterior doors where you can feel leakage. Check the bottom of the door to see if there’s a gap. Install insulating drapes or curtains for windows that still feel drafty after weatherizing
  • Use the sunlight to heat your home by opening the curtains on south-facing windows during sunny days and close all curtains at night
  • Check the door to the attic to make sure it seals well and closes tightly; some manufacturers make insulated attic covers
  • Do not heat unused spaces, other than as needed to prevent freezing of pipes. Close vents in unused rooms
  • If you have a wood stove, be sure to clean the flue vent and inside of the stove regularly
  • If you have a fireplace, reduce heat loss from the fireplace by keeping the damper closed; when open, warm air goes up the chimney. Install tempered glass and a heat-air exchange system that blows warmed air back into the room

According to the DEP, the most cost-effective way to save energy is to air seal and insulate. For more information on home winterization, visit DEP’s website by clicking here or watch the livestream recording above.