Here’s How to Keep Winter Utility Bills Down as Energy Costs Rise

Americans can expect energy prices to boom this winter, leaving many folks out in the cold.

Energy costs are on a forward march this winter, as home heating costs will rise by 28% in 2022-23, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

That should steam U.S. consumers who are already confronting high inflation and high-interest rates for in-demand commodities like food, gas, and automobiles.

“For the time being, nearly everyone in the United States can expect to pay significantly more on their heating and energy bills this winter, which we can partly attribute to the sweltering summer we just had,” said Kindred Homes chief marketing officer Carol Horton.

In order to power air conditioning this summer as Americans sought solace from the third-hottest summer on record, electric providers burned through a sizable amount of their natural gas reserves, Horton said. “Combine that with the lasting effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has put pressure on global energy supplies,” she added.

Additionally, the high demand for natural gas has further boosted prices.

“Natural gas has been in demand since earlier this year, which has caused prices to go up and as we get into the colder months, the demand for it only grows,” said consumer analyst Rebecca Gramuglia.

How to Cope With Rising Home Heating Costs

While consumers can’t control big-picture issues like energy capacity and natural gas demand, they can control the amount of cash they spend on monthly energy bills.

Start that process with these home heating bill-saving tips from energy industry experts.

Lower the temperature in your home. Adjusting the temperature setting on your home’s thermostat by just a couple of degrees can impact the bottom line of your heating bill, allowing you to save at a time when it would usually be rising.

“The U.S. Department of Energy has even reported that a home can conserve up to 10% of its energy usage by adapting to its thermostat being 10 to 15 degrees cooler for eight hours a day,” said Hippo home insights expert Courtney Klosterman. “While eight hours sounds like a long time, try this out when no one is home or at night when you are able to keep doors closed and members of your household can stay toasty warm under thick blankets.”

Get a smart thermostat. Smart thermometers are quickly becoming a game-changer when it comes to being able to have a positive, direct effect on your home’s energy bills as well as its energy usage.

“Do your research on the different brands and models because depending on the needs of your home, you can customize your experience,” Klosterman said. “Some smart thermostats learn your habits and preferences, others require you to set a schedule that automatically adjusts to the most energy-efficient temperature setting for your home at any given time.”

Leverage Mother Nature. Take advantage of free heat by letting the sun in your home.

“Use the sun in your favor and open your curtains and blinds during the daytime so you can take advantage of the sun’s natural ability to heat your home,” Klosterman added. “Letting in the sunlight during the day can translate to more heat which can help you keep the heater off, and keep your bills from going up.”

At night, close your curtains. “Just as windows can let in the sunlight, they can also be a source of heat loss,” Klosterman said. “Depending on their age or condition, and because they don’t benefit from the insulation that your walls do, they may let a draft in.”

Adjust your heater. You can also lower the temperature of your hot water heater.

“Water heaters are frequently factory-set to 170 degrees. Lowering it to 120 degrees will provide you with a hot shower while saving you money,” Horton said. “Long term, invest in better insulation and seal up any openings in your home to keep the heat in. Installing new insulation is a more expensive option, but if you own your home and intend to stay there for a long time, it may be worth the extra money.”

Get an energy audit of your home. You can easily find a qualified contractor to perform an energy audit, which starts at $100. The contractor can evaluate your home’s energy usage and identify weak points that exist to reduce the guesswork of where to target home improvements.

“The Energy Star website will list qualified contractors in your area and these audits are now eligible for a tax credit through the Inflation Reduction Act,” said energy technology company Elevation CEO Greg Fasullo.

Check for perks and discounts. It’s also easy to fund rebate programs available from your utility company.

“Varying by state, utility companies will generally have incentives to make home improvements that will conserve energy,” Fasullo told TheStreet. “Use the rebate finder to start your research.”

Don’t forget to address the “bones “of the house. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates homeowners can save an average of 15% on their heating and cooling costs by upgrading their insulation alone. 

“It’s one of the first upgrades homeowners should consider when looking to make their homes more energy efficient,” Fasullo noted.

Related Posts

Union Capital Financial Group Ltd, registered in the British Virgin Islands, does not provide investment services inside the United States. The company only provides consulting, advisory and educational services.