As Energy Prices Climb, Here’s How to Heat Your Home Efficiently This Winter

Woman sitting next to a fire reading her phone

As cooler temperatures settle in, you might be ready to crank up the heat, but keeping your home warm in the dead of winter often means a higher energy bill. The good news: There are steps you can take this season to avoid the potential cost spike during the winter months.

Why natural gas prices go up in winter

Most furnaces are powered by natural gas, which is why most homeowners – and businesses – increase their natural gas consumption in the winter.

When temperatures drop, people often experience an increase in the rate they pay per unit of natural gas consumed. That’s because you’re not the only one using more natural gas in the winter. Almost everyone’s consumption increases when it’s colder and, when winter weather takes an unexpected turn, that increase in demand can drive up price.

And you’ve likely noticed that natural gas prices have increased significantly in the last couple years. In fact, prices jumped from less than $2 per MMBtu (1 million British Thermal Units, a thermal unit of measurement for natural gas) in early 2020 to nearly $9 per MMBtu in August 2022. (For more information about why the energy market has been so volatile, leading to a rise in price, check out this video.)

2022 and 2023 winter forecast

Depending on where you live, this winter could be much colder than last year.

This is the third straight winter that La Niña conditions will act as a driver of temperatures in the U.S., but we won’t necessarily experience the same weather as we have in years past. Residents of the Northeast can expect a cold December and a very cold January, followed by a mild February, while the Great Lakes and the region Southern Plains will be colder than normal, according to extended forecasts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Farmers’ Almanac. Some areas of the U.S. may see record-breaking cold temperatures of 40 degrees below zero.

5 easy ways to keep your home warm this winter

There are a few things you can do to save money on your heating bill this winter:

  1. Ensure your home is properly insulated. Drafts let cold air enter your home – and require your furnace to run more often.
  2. Install weather stripping around doors. If your doors are older or don’t close flush with the jamb, you could be losing quite a bit of heat.
  3. Consider putting up plastic window coverings. These DIY kits can really cut down on the amount of cold air that creeps in around your windows.
  4. Have your furnace inspected. It might not be running as efficiently as it could, and that could be costing you money.
  5. Get a smart thermostat. These devices allow you to program when your furnace warms your home instead of just running it 24/7.

This to-do list should help you protect your budget by shaving a few dollars off your winter heating bills.

Interested in more? Learn how the changing seasons can affect the price of natural gas.

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