CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Winter is coming, and so are higher energy costs. As colder weather sets in, the cost to heat your home is expected to rise across the board, with natural gas, electric and fuel oils all expected to be more expensive than last year.
“Probably expensive home heating bills, that’s likely how it’s going to play out,” said Aaron Wheeler, from Wheeler Heating & Cooling.
Across the board, heating costs are expected to be noticeably higher than they were last winter. A forecast from the U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts a 28% rise in natural gas, 27% for heating oil and 10% for electricity.
While natural gas is expected to see the largest spike, each fuel will likely be more expensive, a reality that’s already being felt in New York State.
According to NYSERDA, as of last week, kerosene costed $6.28 a gallon, heating oil $5.42 and propane $3.50. Those numbers for kerosene and heating oil mark a 63.9% and 55.3% rise respectively.
With this trend, experts are reminding homeowners of some of the steps they can take to try and keep their bills down.
“The most important thing, in addition to doing annual maintenance, is to stay on top of your filter changes if you have a forced hot air system. Installing a programmable thermostat can help reduce bills as well,” Wheeler said.
And if you have a fuel oil system, “Have it cleaned. The soot that builds up in the heat exchangers and on the boiler sections are actually, it’s a phenomenal insulator, and it does drive up the cost of heating your house,” he said.
You can also get a no cost energy assessment through NYSERDA.
“A contractor will take a look at your home and give you ideas about what you can do to make the home more energy efficient, investments that you can make in maybe sealing and insulating your home,” said Courtney Moriarta, the Director of the Single-Family Residential Team for NYSERDA.
With heating costs on the rise, more people could turn to wood burning stoves and fireplaces to provide additional heat.
With that possibility, local fire authorities are reminding everyone to clean out their chimneys and stove pipes to reduce the risk of fire.
Energy experts also encourage homeowners to make sure their windows are sealed to help prevent heat from leaving the home.