As temperatures start to dip, the price of heating your home might start to rise.
According to Con Edison, one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies, the average residential gas heating bill from November 2021 through March 2022 will be about $341 per month – almost a 24% increase from last year.
The increase is primarily due to supply costs – meaning the cost of the natural gas itself – but the projected bill also reflects increases in the delivery charges.
Natural gas supplies are expected to remain tight this winter, Con Edison reports, and any disruption from interstate gas transmission providers could further constrain supplies.
"But that just goes to show us how important it is to make sure that we’re saving energy so that we can not only have lower bills, but we can do the good thing for the environment," said Alfonso Quiroz, a spokesman for Con Edison.
There are some simple tips that you can follow to save money on your energy bills no matter where you live.
First, set your thermostat at the lowest temperature at which you are comfortable and safe. Each degree lower decreases heating costs.
"Sometimes, you’re just going to have to put on a sweater if it gets a little chilly. There is no shame in that game," Quiroz said.
Second, make sure your heating vents are not blocked by furniture, carpeting or anything else that could obstruct the flow of heat.
"You want to let that heat in," Quiroz said. "One of the things that I often do in my apartment … during the wintertime is that all the curtains are open. That way, the sun can come in. I know that that may sound like a silly thing, but when you are able to do all of these little things, you will see a difference in your bills."
You can also swap out your window shades seasonally. Light-colored window coverings reflect the sun’s energy, while darker ones absorb it and release heat.
It is also advised that you have a qualified contractor clean and inspect your heating system.
Plus, you want to make sure to insulate hot-water pipes and warm-air ducts that pass through unheated areas. And, be sure to clean or replace filters for your hot-air furnace and heat pump.
It’s also essential to go around your home to look for anything that you aren’t using and start unplugging some of those devices that are an energy suck.
"It is important that you just go through your apartment or your home and try to conserve anywhere you can," Quiroz said.
Many utility companies offer incentives to help their customers upgrade to smart thermostats, home weatherizing and furnace tune-ups. Call your provider for available offers.