Watch out for higher heating bills this winter

Snowy day at home
Photo: Kelly L/Pexels
5 ways to keep your home cozy all winter long

(StatePoint) - According to a government agency in the U.S. Federal Statistical System, heating bills for homes that use natural gas could be significantly higher this winter – perhaps by as much as 50%.

“We expect that households across the United States will spend more on energy this winter compared with the past several winters because of these higher energy prices and because we assume a slightly colder winter than last year in much of the United States,” the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in their report last month.

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, price models predict this winter could be the most expensive one since 2008-09 for homes heated with natural gas. With natural gas prices expected to skyrocket by 30%, some users could expect to pay an average of $746 this winter, while those who get heat from electric sources could pay up to $1,268.

Why are prices going up?

The reason for the anticipated spike in energy prices is that fuel demand has shot up from recent lows faster than producers have increased supply. Energy prices dropped considerably last winter due to the sharp drop in demand thanks to the pandemic. The agency points out that prices have since rebounded and in some cases have reached multi-year highs thanks to both the increase in demand and the ongoing economic recovery.

The other factor affecting prices is the weather. Based on recent climate trends, colder temperatures are expected, which will not only boosts the energy your home needs to stay comfortable but quickly raises demand for those resources as well. Dwellers will be stuck burning more fuel to keep warm as well as paying more for it.

Weatherizing your home or apartment to ensure it stays comfortable during the long winter season is a great way to help control possible increased costs on your utility bills. Here are five easy ways to keep your home cozy all winter long.

1. Maximize Heating Options
Unpredictable weather can cause outages, so it’s best to prepare with alternative ways to heat your home. A log fireplace is wonderful, but for those without one, it may be best to invest in a gas heating alternative, like an individual heater or small generator.

2. Temperature Control
Bringing those utility bills down means keeping the warm air inside. Shifts in temperature can cause wood to expand or contract, creating small cracks or leaks which need to be filled. Duck Brand Foam Weatherstrip Seals form the perfect barrier from drafts with self-adhesive foam strips to ensure utility bills remain low with minimum effort and maximum savings. These heavy-duty strips also provide protection year-round by blocking dust, pollen and insects.

3. Swap Your Furnace Filter
Trapped dust and dirt in your furnace filter can cause low airflow and limit your furnace’s ability to properly function when you need it most. This can unnecessarily raise the temperature and cause your energy bills to skyrocket. A simple filter change on your furnace and even air conditioning units as often as once a month can help maintain excellent airflow.

4. Create a Barrier in the Garage
While many homeowners concentrate on preventing drafts by their front door; they often forget about the largest opening in their house – the garage. Protect against snow, water and cool winter air from entering your garage with a Duck Brand Garage Bottom Seal. This heavy-duty, waterproof rubber seal won’t freeze or crack, and creates a tight, protective border all year long.

5. Cover Exterior Access Locations
Built-in pet doors and mail slots often go overlooked. Lower your energy bill by covering those spaces and opt for alternative options when taking out your pets and receiving mail.

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Staying prepared for any shift in weather is always something homeowners should prioritize. With some quick tricks and the right products on hand, weatherizing your home doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive to keep you and your family warm.