HOLLAND, N.Y. (WKBW) — Home heating prices are expected to increase by more than 50% this year.
If you need help heating your home this winter, Erie County is already accepting applications for HEAP - the home energy assistance program. If you have questions about who is eligible or how to apply, you can call the HEAP hotline: 716-858-7644.
And there are steps you can take right now to winterize your home, as winter storms last year caused more than a billion dollars in damage. AAA says to:
- Check your furnace, boiler or chimney; it's good to have your heating system checked at least once a year.
- Inspect and insulate pipes for cracks and leaks.
- Know the location of your main water shutoff valve, to prevent bursts.
- Clean out your gutters so melting snow can flow freely.
- Trim any trees and remove dead branches to protect your family and your property.
Service manager of countryside stove and chimney, Dave Arcara, said now might be the time to think about how to offset that cost.
“There are things out there that do help offset furnaces,” Arcara said. “So, it won’t be running as hard all the time.”
A study done by Penn State says in a typical year, natural gas can cost almost twice as much to heat your home than wood; this could be the most expensive winter for natural gas heated households in more than a decade.
“Efficient wood fireplaces, pellet stoves, they are offsetting that,” Arcara said.
But like many things this year, when it comes to heating, you’ll have to act fast to make sure you can get the supplies and services you need this winter.
“That should be done early in the spring, early summer,” Arcara said.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said more than half of homes in the U.S. heat with natural gas. Arcara said if you haven’t already started buying wood, there could be a price increase there too, but he said this year’s demand for wood isn’t a shock.
“Wood units, there is an increase in that, but I’ve seen that last year too, during the pandemic,” Arcara said.
Arcara said the sooner the better to install new units in your home or stock up on supplies.
“It’s late,” Arcara said. “The problem is people wait until the last second and then they call and say okay let’s call and get it done next week. That’s tough.”