PORTLAND -- Falling temperatures and rising energy rates for electricity and natural gas may be pinching wallets during these tough economic times. But cutting those bills in half may be easier and less expensive than you think. In fact, it's as easy as pushing a button.
Making just five simple changes to your home could cut those bills in half, says Lizzie Rubado with Energy Trust.
Start with a digital thermostat.
"You just program it once when you install it for your different heating periods and it will turn the temperature up or down without even thinking about it," she said.
Sealing air leaks around doors and windows will minimize heat loss and bring down the bills as well.
Next, add insulation to attic and crawl spaces.
Change the furnace filter.
And last but not least, invest in a low-flow faucet with a built-in aerator.
"They're going to use less hot water, which means you're going to spend less on energy," Rubado said.
Spending less is what a lot of folks are trying to do.
"My gas bill was $400 monthly last winter so I'm trying to minimize that this year," Portland resident Cindy Curtis said.
Making these cost-saving changes is becoming much more affordable.
Many stores specializing in home improvement, like Home Depot, are offering big discounts or rebates on energy saving products.
Home Depot and others that are trying to pull in business during a down economy are tapping into the green market. They say it's a " win-win situation" because the sale helps stores' bottom lines while also helping consumers save money on energy bills.
Rubado says these are some of the easiest and least-expensive ways consumers can bring down energy costs this winter.