The National Department of Energy has announced that yet again, heating costs are scheduled to rise this winter.
Nationally, the average rise is estimated to be around 10%, while those living in Northeast America will see the largest increase, at 20%. For the average household, heating costs will run about $1,500 this winter, and in the Northeast, the costs will run around $3,000.
What can we do to get by during the winter with such high heating costs? The typical American family is scraping by trying to keep up with grocery prices, gas prices and income levels that are staying the same. How can a family cope?
There are a few things that you can do in an effort to reduce the effect this can have on yourself and your family.
Reduce heating bill: Tip #1: Seek government help.
There are many programs available to help subsidize heating costs. If you are a low income family, there is help with HEAP, the Heating Energy Assistance Program. HEAP will actually pay part of, or possibly all of, your heating bill.
For moderate incomes, PIPP may be an option, or Percentage of Income Payment Plan. This latter plan will keep your monthly payment the same each month, making it easier to budget the costs into your budget.
For more information on government programs available for heating assistance, visit www.eere.energy.gov
Reduce heating bill: Tip #2:. Check your water heater.
Water heaters, according to the Department of Energy, will take up about 25% of your heating bill. If you don’t already have an energy efficient water heater (look for the energy star symbol), consider purchasing one. If you cannot afford to purchase one, or believe you have a good one already, consider insulating it. An insulating hot water tank blanket costs around $20 – $25 and can save you hundreds of dollars.
You may also consider turning your water temperature down 10 degrees, which can also save you a significant amount of money in your heating costs.
Reduce heating bill: Tip #3: Check your windows,
So much of our heating and cooling goes right out the window. Literally. If you cannot afford to replace older windows, take the time to put a plastic covering window kit to seal the window.
Reduce heating bill: Tip #4: Run ceiling fans upstairs.
Hot air rises, and those will 2 story homes will often comment on how the upstairs of their home is much warmer in the winter months. In an effort to keep the warm air down, run ceiling fans in the upstairs rooms to keep the air circulating. Most ceiling fans have a reverse button to run the fan backwards for the winter months for this purpose.
Reduce heating bill: Tip #5 Keep the thermostat down.
Turn the thermostat way down for when you are not at home. Many people like to sleep in a little cooler temperatures, turn the thermostat down at night if you are one these people.
Dress warmly in the house, wearing a sweater if need be.
By taking more than one step to reduce your costs, you are likely to see some considerable savings in your heating bill this winter. Don’t forget the typical winter steps to take as well, such as changing the filter in your furnace, having your air ducts cleaned, chimney swept, etc. With a little effort, you can potentially save a lot of money.