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CALMING HOME HEATING COSTS!
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CALMING 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.

Conduct An Energy Audit
  • 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 peak efficiency.
  • 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 temperatures.
  • Check caulking and weather-stripping, and repair where necessary.
  • Close your foundation vents in the winter if there is a crawl space under your home.
  • 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 the winter.

Additional Tips

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.
Do Not Get Burned

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 improvement projects.


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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.

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