HOME HEATING COSTS!
HOW TO TOLERATE ESCALATING HOME HEATING COSTS
QUESTION: Have recent forecasts of higher home heating
cost concerned you?
Recent news reports about rising oil prices may have you shivering, even though
fall just arrived. Whether you heat your home with oil, natural gas, or electricity,
we have some tips to help you save money and stay warm this winter.
- Check your attic, attic stairway, attached garage walls, and basement to
make sure insulation is to DOE-recommended levels for your area. When inspecting
and buying home insulation products, look for the R-value. The higher the R-value,
the greater the insulating power.
- Wrap your hot water heater in an insulating jacket.
- Schedule an annual tune-up for your heat pump, furnace, or boiler. Your utility
company may provide this service.
- Hire a professional to seal and insulate leaky ducts, and to ensure that
the airflow distribution system serving your heating equipment is operating at
- Clean or replace filters on forced-air furnaces, seal flues in fireplaces
you don't use, install drapes or some other covering on windows, and seal holes
around plumbing and heating pipes.
- Install a programmable thermostat that will automatically lower nighttime
- Check caulking and weather-stripping, and repair where necessary.
- Close your foundation vents in the winter if there is a crawl space under
- Close the doors to rooms that you do not use.
- Prune shrubs that may block airflow to your heat pump.
- Install ceiling fans. The air circulation promotes heating efficiency in
You may want to keep the following information in mind.
- When buying a new furnace, boiler, heat pump, water heater, or other home
appliance, consider a high-efficiency model. While energy efficient appliances
may cost more, they may save you money in the end. To compare models, check the
black and yellow Energy Guide labels — required by the FTC on most major
appliances. Labels contain information for product energy efficiency, and estimated
annual operating costs.
- Shop around for the best prices on oil — and gas, if you live in an
area that lets you choose your natural gas provider.
- Ask your utility or oil company about a budget billing plan to protect against
sudden or unexpected price increases. Your provider takes the amount of energy
you use during one year and divides it into equal monthly payments. At the end
of the season, you pay any outstanding balance or your provider credits any overpayment
to your next monthly bill.
- If you are on a fixed income and have trouble paying your utility bills,
contact your utility company. They, or your state or local government, may have
energy assistance plans to help you pay your heating bills.
When energy prices rise, so does advertising for a host of energy-saving products
and services — including some that are overpriced or just plain bogus.
Be wary of devices, gadgets, and energy-saving products that promise drastic
reductions in home heating costs or extreme energy savings. Read energy-saving
claims carefully and, if possible, get independent information about product
performance. Avoid unsolicited door-to-door sales calls and high-pressure sales
pitches from contractors offering furnaces, windows, roofing, and other home
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Information provided by this website is general and is not a substitute for professional
advice. Please consult your investment advisor and/or attorney before entering
into any transaction.