Winter Energy Saving Tips

None of us want to think about winter just quite yet, but it’s just around the corner. The time has come to start thinking about winter heating costs. Here are a few tips to save money this winter and still stay toasty and warm.

  • A humidifier can help control heating costs because the moist air will feel warmer, allowing the thermostat to be set at a lower temperature.
  • Use draperies, blinds, curtains or shutters on all windows to slow the loss of heat through the glass. Keep window coverings open on sunny days to let in the sun’s warmth.
  • Rearrange furniture, placing it next to inside walls and away from windows. Avoid blocking heat registers with furniture, draperies or carpet.
  • Use kitchen, bath and other ventilating fans sparingly. In just one hour, these fans can exhaust a houseful of warm air.
  • Closets and cabinets on outside walls can leak a great deal of cold air, so make sure the doors fit snugly and keep them tightly closed.
  • When you’re not at home, turn the thermostat down 10 degrees. It can save you around 10% a year in heating costs if done for 8 hours a day.

Program to Help Low-Income North Dakotans with Heating Costs is Now Accepting Applications

Winters in North Dakota have a dramatic effect on home heating costs. The ND Department of Human Services is reminding low-income individuals and families that help is available through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Applications are now being accepted at county social services in North Dakota.

This program is federally funded and helps qualifying households in need of assistance pay a portion of  their home heating costs. This includes natural gas, electricity, propane, coal, fuel oil, wood, or kerosene. The program also covers the repairs of furnaces and weatherization services.

There are income and asset limits to qualify for the program. This ensures that the program helps those most in need. To qualify, a household can earn up to 60 percent of the state median income, which for a family of three, is about $43,430 per year before taxes.

Applications will be accepted at local county social services offices from October 1, 2014 through May 31, 2015. An application is available online at . The application as well as documentation to verify assets and income levels should be completed and returned to the social services office.

Last year, this program helped just over 13,000 households and paid an average of $1,320 in heating energy costs for each household. The program pays fuel vendors directly on behalf of the qualifying households. About two-thirds of the participating households include people who are elderly, have disabilities, or include children age five and younger.

The ND Department of Human Services contracts with the ND Department of Commerce for weatherization services to help lower heating costs. The weatherization services include home insulation, furnace repair, and other energy-saving improvements to help lower heating costs. The direct work is often carried about by community action agencies.

For more information, visit


Information thanks to LuWanna Lawrence and Heather Steffl from ND Department of Human Services.