LYNCHBURG, Va. – The weather is changing and as temperatures start to drop, many of us will be turning on the heat (if you haven’t already). However, experts are warning it could cost you more than ever before.
When it comes to reaching for the thermostat, Joelle Yale tries to hold off.
“We turned on the heat for the first time last night,” she says. “It was just too chilly in the house.”
There’s only one thing she dreads more than the cool weather--the price she pays for heat.
“Not good to have to spend that extra money,” she adds. “We have an older, draftier house, so we’ll probably just have to deal with it.”
The Winter Fuels Outlook from the U.S. Energy Information Administration is bleak like the winter that may be approaching us.
The EIA says with prices surging worldwide for heating oil, natural gas, propane and electricity, you could see your heating bills jump as much as 54%, compared to last winter.
“You notice the gas prices going up for your car, so that means propane, oil, electric bill will follow,” Brandon Brown says.
Brown has run Brown’s Heating & Air in Lynchburg for more than a decade. He says natural gas is at the highest winter price since 2008, meaning people may pay an average of $746 for heat this winter.
That’s up 30% from last year. Brown says heating companies are also having to pay more and wait longer for parts, which impacts you.
“It also affects the homeowner’s maintenance,” he says. “Everyone has a system, whether it’s electric, gas or oil. If those prices go up, then the use of heating your house is going to go up.”
While the price of oil, gas and electric are out of your and Brown’s control, there are some things you can do to help. Now is the time to make sure things are running smoothly.
“If your system is dirty, it runs harder and it’s harder on your bill,” Brown says. “If we can get in there now when it’s mild, clean them, check the operation, fix anything we see before it gets really cold, we can prevent the bills from going up higher than anticipated.”