Colorado Resources That Help Pay Heating Bills

Energy costs are rising across the country, but here in Colorado it can be especially difficult – and dangerous. Families with children, senior citizens, and individuals with special needs have more difficulty paying heating costs when there’s medicine and food to buy.

There are several organizations within Colorado that are dedicated to helping keep our homes warm, healthy, and safe by giving funds to people in need. Some of these organizations work on an emergency basis to help people pay the balance on their heating bills, and others work tirelessly to fund energy efficiency measures to lower heating costs.

Here are some of the most respected heating assistance organizations in Colorado, and how to receive their help when you need it.

Energy Outreach Colorado

Energy Outreach Colorado operates three different programs. Through the federally run Low-Income Energy Assistance Program, or LEAP, they help low-income Colorado residents pay their heating costs throughout the winter season – November 1 through April 30. Their second program is the Home Weatherization Program that assists low-income households make energy efficient upgrades; things like storm windows would fall under this category, and can be applied for between May 1 and October 31. Finally, Energy Outreach Colorado works with the Charitable Energy Network to provide funds to more than 90 emergency assistance sites throughout the state of Colorado.

LEAP – The first step to receiving help from Energy Outreach Colorado is to apply for LEAP between November 1 and April 30. You can read more about LEAP guidelines and print an application from their website at or you can call 1-866-HEAT HELP toll-free and have an application mailed to you.

Home Weatherization Program – This program helps make energy efficient upgrades to households that meet income guidelines. To provide the best service possible, Energy Outreach Colorado works with the Governor’s Office of Energy Management and Conservation, and Xcel Energy. Both renters and homeowners can receive help from this program, so you don’t have to own your own home in order to get help lowering your heating costs. English applications can be downloaded at$partners/E$P%20Standard%20App.doc and Spanish applications can be downloaded at$partners/E$P%20Standard%20App%20-%20Spanish.doc – the applications include mailing information.

Charitable Energy Network – If you’re seeking help between May 1 and October 31, or you don’t qualify for LEAP assistance, or have already received LEAP help and need help again, you can apply directly to Energy Outreach Colorado. To qualify for assistance, you have to provide proof of past-due balance on your heating costs. This is basically an emergency assistance resource. To begin applying to this program, you must visit and locate the agencies closest to you. Details and instructions are given from there. Some agencies are dedicated to assisting a particular client, so make sure that you read the “Qualifications” section carefully.

Money-Saving Tips – Reduce Your Heating Bill

Most of the programs available to Colorado residents, including LEAP, will make a one-time payment to help pay your heating bill, not to pay it completely. You can stretch those pennies a little bit further through the winter months by doing a few simple, free things:

1. Set your thermostat to 68 degrees – For every degree lower you set your thermostat in the 60-70 degree range, you’ll save 5 percent on your heating costs. Wear warmer clothing like long-sleeved shirts and socks, and set your thermostat lower during the day (about 67 degrees or so, health permitting). If there’s no one home during the day, for 5 hours at a time or more, go ahead and shut the heat off if you use electric heating.

2. Replace or clean furnace filters once a month – Dirty filters restrict air flow and will cost you a lot more on your heating bill. Keeping your furnace clean and properly adjusted reduces your heating bill another 5 percent.

3. Reduce your hot water temperature – Set your water heater to 120 degrees unless you have a dishwasher that requires a higher setting. By doing this simple thing, you’ll cut your bills back by up to 11 percent!

4. Let the sunshine in – Open the blinds and let the sun heat your home for free. Get them closed again just before sundown, and they will help insulate the heat built up through the day.

5. Rearrange your rooms – Move your furniture around so that you rest nearer to interior walls. Exterior walls (the ones facing the outdoors) and older windows are likely to be drafty, making you feel much colder.

6. Time your showers – Cut the amount of time you spend lingering in the hot water back by a few minutes, and you’ll see an immediate change in your heating costs. Showers account for about 2/3 of your water heating costs, so by cutting them in half you will reduce that bit of bill by 33 percent. You can also do this one better by installing low-flow showerheads that reduce the amount of water dumping out as you shower.

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