December 8, 2017 – As the winter months approach, Sen. Patty Ritchie of St. Lawrence County is reminding residents to apply for the Home Energy Assistance Program.
$327 million in funding is available to assist low-income New Yorkers with paying their energy bills this winter. Applicants can apply for NY HEAP assistance online.
“As winter approaches here in Central and Northern New York, many of us are preparing for the drop in temperatures—and an increase in our home heating bills,” said Ritchie. “The cold can take a toll on many of our most vulnerable—including senior citizens and those on low or fixed incomes—who find themselves struggling with the decision of whether to keep the heat on, or have the money to pay for other necessities.”
Sen. Ritchie offered some tips to help reduce heating costs and save heat:
1) Make the annual call for maintenance – Electric & oil heaters should be checked by a professional once a year. Also, check your filters. Dirty filters can run up a heating bill fast.
2) Turn down your thermostat – Even just a few degrees can lower your bill by as much as 10%. Lowering your water heater just a few degrees could also have a big impact.
3) The sun can provide free heat – Make sure to allow sunlight into your home through your windows. At night, when the sun goes down, cover those windows back up to keep the heat inside.
4) Ceiling fans can actually circulate heat – You can run your ceiling fan clockwise to keep warm air from rising. Use a low setting and it pushes air back down towards the floor.
5) Use more insulation – Studies have shown a lack of proper insulation is a reason heating bills are so high. Small fixes, such as weather stripping doors and windows could have a big impact on how much energy you use.
To learn more about energy assistance in your state, visit the LIHEAP Clearinghouse website.