Inflation is here and it’s not pulling any punches. From gas to groceries, everything is more expensive in 2021. And there’s no reason to believe that trend will reverse anytime soon.
As we head into the winter season in the coming weeks, the White House says you should expect your heating bills to be a lot higher than they were in 2020. According to the projections, home heating costs could go up 30 percent or more.
Brace For Higher Heating Costs
According to SoFi, the White House recently issued a warning about winter heating bills. Between skyrocketing energy prices around the globe and dwindling supply, the Energy Information Administration says that parts of the United States will see their energy bills this winter increase by an average of 30 percent.
The government agency’s report also shared some calculations about how the weather could impact your heating bills. For example, if the upcoming winter ends up being 10 percent colder than average, heating bills could rise by 50 percent.
On the flip side—if this winter is 10 percent warmer than usual—your heating bill will still go up. According to the report, a warmer than average winter will still result in heating prices rising by about 22 percent.
If you do the math, households using natural gas to heat their home this winter are expected to pay an average of $746 in heating bills between the beginning of October and the end of March. During that same period last year, the average was $573.
The Numbers Are Based On Natural Gas Futures
The forecasted rise in heating costs from the researchers at the Energy Information Administration is based on natural gas futures. The agency also based its projections on the likelihood that this winter will be colder than last year for most Americans.
Natural gas futures recently hit a seven-year high in the market thanks to a climate that features a lack of inventory mixed with record demand.
Amid the pandemic, the number of utility disconnections went up due to unpaid bills. When you add rising energy costs to the equation, it could cause that trend of disconnections to continue this winter.
It’s Time To Make A Plan
Before the weather turns cold, there are steps that you can take to prepare for rising heating costs this winter. If you don’t want to pay 30 to 50 percent more to stay warm, there are things you can do to avoid busting your budget.
Buy An Energy-Efficient Space Heater
Heating the entire house can get expensive, and it can be wasteful. To save some cash on your monthly heating bill, set your thermostat down a few degrees and buy an energy-efficient space heater for the rooms that you spend the most time in. We love this option from Dreo Space.
Invest In A Smart And/Or Programmable Thermostat
If your home still has an old-fashioned thermostat, you could be throwing hundreds of dollars away every year on unnecessarily high energy bills.
Investing in a programmable thermostat that will turn on when you’re home and turn off when you’re not is a wise choice. According to the government’s Energy Star program, people can save approximately $200 per year when they use a programmable thermostat. We’re a fan of this super affordable and easy to install option from Honeywell.
You could go even further and purchase a smart thermostat. There are a lot of great affordable options online, and your utility company might even give you a rebate if you buy one.
Smart thermostats are fantastic energy and money savers because they can sense minor temperature changes from basic activities like cooking dinner. They can also learn your daily routine and adjust based on whether or not your home. When you’re gone, you can change the settings with an app on your phone. This option from Sensi is highly-rated, and even works with Alexa.
Another good idea for lowering heating bills is HVAC system maintenance and making sure it’s installed correctly. If it’s not, that could be costing you money.
Making home improvements—like weatherstripping and caulking windows and doors—can also cut heating costs.
Having good insulation in your attic will also decrease your monthly energy bill, but not just for this winter. We’re talking about many years to come. Good insulation has benefits year-round because it keeps the cold air outside during the winter and inside during the summer. There are some upfront costs to having your attic insulated. but the long-term savings are definitely worth it.
Enroll In Budget Billing
This option doesn’t necessarily save you money on your monthly heating bill. However, it can definitely help you stay on budget throughout the winter months. If you use electricity instead of gas, enrolling in budget billing with your utility company can help you avoid a $400 monthly heating bill when February rolls around.
The way budget billing works is pretty simple. Your utility company will add up your bills from the previous year and calculate an average monthly payment that’s the same every month. At the end of the year, the company will balance your account.
If you used more electricity than you paid for during the previous year, then you’ll get a bill for the difference. If you used less, then you’ll receive a refund. The utility company will also recalibrate each year based on usage from the previous 12 months to make sure your monthly budget billing total is as accurate as possible.