The Heat Is On, but for How Long?

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Local agencies are already filling up with stateliners who hope they are eligible for heating help. The Low Income Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, has received almost $92 million.

Before long the snow will start to fall and that means our heating bills go up, but already this year the Salvation Army, an application site where people can apply for heating assistance, is packed with people.

Social Service Director Bryant Erickson said, "We're seeing more people come in this year that are already disconnected due to high energy costs."

LIHEAP helps eligible families pay the costs of heating and insulating their homes. Sept. 1 was when senior citizens and those with disabilities could start the application process. On Nov. 1, anyone else can see if they meet the requirements.

Erickson told 23 News, "I would suggest people find out what the qualifications are. Once you apply, the process takes time. Usually the first funds to go are those whose heat is completely turned off."

But now is the time when we can get a head start on two areas, our finances and our energy efficiency.

Julian Brian with Nicor said, "Hire a contractor to inspect the furnace, check for any windows and doors that needed to be filled in due to cracks.”

Other tips to winterize our home:

1. A programmable thermostat is recommended to regulate the temperatures overnight.

2. Check for a fully insulated attic.

It's never too early to find some simple ways to save so you're not at home in the freezing cold.