According to a recently released National Energy Assistance Directors Association (NEADA) report, home heating costs (across all fuel types) are projected to increase by more than 17%+ this year.
About 90% of the costs to heat (and cool) a home are economically tied to natural gas – either directly or indirectly, as natural gas is used to generate electricity. Natural gas prices have spiked to a fourteen-year high –
The increase has to do with complex economic metrics, like production slowdowns due to the pandemic, supply chain issues, etc. 2022’s overwhelmingly warm summer didn’t help when Americans cranked the A/C to beat the heat, driving prices higher even before winter arrived.
Tips to Help Reduce Heating and Utility Bills this Winter
With prices rising, it pays more than ever to proactively find ways to reduce utility and heating bills as the temperature drops.
1. Maximize Insulation
One of the most effective techniques to save money on heating costs is to avoid paying for heat that escapes needlessly. The attic is often the place where warm air escapes. Because insulation has the potential to dramatically lower energy bills, it eventually pays for itself. For tips, check out the Department of Energy’s step-by-step insulation tips and instructions.
2. Adjust Thermostat to Meet Daily Needs
Many families have busy lives, with children at school and parents working or attending to family needs. You can, however, lower your heating and utility bills by adjusting the thermostat down a few when no one is home- but remember to keep the home warm enough for family pets. You can put your heating objectives on autopilot with a programmable thermostat for a relatively small investment.
3. Adjust Water Heater Temperature
Lowering the maximum temperature of the home’s water heater can help to reduce utility bills because hot water is used for showering, washing clothes, and washing dishes. The default temperature for a water heater is 140 degrees Fahrenheit, which may waste more than $50/year. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, lowering the water heater temp to 120 degrees works for most and saves money.
4. Block Drafts From Doors
Exterior doors are often another culprit for heat loss during the cold winter, which unnecessarily drives heating bills higher. Even the slightest crack between the door and frame can let hot air out or push cold, frigid air inside the home. A rolled-up towel by the door works, but there are many creative and effective draft blockers for doors of all sizes.
5. Clean/Check Air Filters & Air Ducts
Dirty or worn-out air filters make your heating system work harder – adding to energy costs and maybe reducing the life of your HVAC system. Air filters are constructed from different materials, so determine which is best for your situation. Have the heating ducts and vents cleaned/serviced yearly because, over time, the airflow can be blocked by a buildup of dust and dirt.
6. Use Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs
According to Energy.gov, about 10% of a home’s electric bill can be sourced to powering lights. As you need to replace light bulbs, it is prudent to replace them with LEDs (ENERGY STAR Light Emitting Diodes), some of which last a decade.
7. Reduce the Times You Dine Out
Pro-Tip – Double Savings Alert - It is well-known that one saves on food bills by eating at home rather than dining out. However, in the winter, in addition to creating a warm, inviting aroma in your home, and saving on food costs, the heat emanating from your kitchen will help warm the surrounding areas in your home.