Heating prices expected to jump more than usual this winter

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FILE – Amber Cox shovels snow from the porch roof at her home in Auburn, Maine, on March 8, 2018. With prices surging worldwide for heating oil, natural gas and other fuels, the U.S. government said Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021 it expects households to see jumps of up to 54% for their heating bills compared to last winter. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal via AP)

(NewsNation) — Winter is approaching. And with record-high inflation doing a number on families’ wallets across the U.S., heating bills are expected to only add to the financial burden.

After a hot summer of people cranking their air conditioners, depleted natural gas stockpiles are one of the reasons heating prices are expected to soar, along with turbulent fuel prices, colder weather conditions and other economic factors.

“Forecasting months-long weather and energy trends is not an exact science, but it’s highly likely that global dynamics affecting energy commodities will lead to higher U.S. prices for heat this winter,” said EIA Administrator Joe DeCarolis.

Heating prices for U.S. consumers are expected to increase by up to 28% more than last year according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) 2022 Winter Fuels Outlook. Compared with last winter’s heating costs, EIA forecasts U.S. households will spend 28% more for natural gas, 27% more for heating oil, 10% more for electricity and 5% more for propane.

On average, U.S. households will spend even more if the weather ends up colder than expected.

When it comes to lowering heating costs, there are several ways of reducing the bill.

The Department of Energy recommends a “whole-house system” that treats the house as an interdependent energy system – insulation, air sealing, efficient appliances and other elements go into reducing costs and increasing comfort. You should check with your local government as you may be able to take advantage of subsidies.

If redesigning your home heating and cooling system isn’t an option, Energy.gov has several other recommendations:

  • Keep your thermostat as low as is comfortable and even lower while sleeping or before leaving the house
  • Clean/replace furnace air filters as recommended
  • Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators as needed and make sure they’re not blocked
  • Eliminate trapped air from hot-water radiators once or twice a season; if unsure about how to perform this task, contact a professional.
  • Place heat-resistant radiator reflectors between exterior walls and the radiators.
  • Turn off kitchen, bath and other exhaust fans within 20 minutes after you are done cooking or bathing; when replacing exhaust fans, consider installing high-efficiency, low-noise models.
  • During winter, keep the draperies and shades on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow the sunlight to enter your home and closed at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.

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