WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WKBW) — National Fuel issued its winter heating season forecast Thursday, and the company is warning its customers to prepare for significantly higher heating bills this winter.
The reason for the bill increase is due to the rising costs of natural gas. National Fuel believes that due to current market prices, the average customer will pay a little over $1000 to heat their homes this winter.
National Fuel reports that winter heating bills have not seen prices this high since 2008-2009.
Around this time last year average bills were predicted to total $714, and the actual average totaled out to $684.
National Fuel makes several recommendations to customers in order to prepare for higher heating bills:
- Make sure home heating systems are operating efficiently and effectively to prevent wasted energy.
- Reduce air leaks by caulking or weatherstripping to seal leaks around floors, walls, ceilings etc.
- Set thermostats between 65 and 75 degrees during the winter
- Turn down thermostats automatically
- Change or clean furnace air filters once a month during the heating season
- Close vents and doors in unused rooms.
- Set your water heater to 120 degrees or medium temperature setting
- Insulate water heaters with insulation blankets
Outdated heating systems can increase energy costs. National Fuel offers a Conservation Incentive Program which encourages homeowners to have a HVAC professional come to your home for a tune up.
"Now is the time to have a professional come out," say Ian Donnelly, a project manager with T-Mark Plumbing. "Let's look at mechanical equipment and make sure they are optimized to generate the heat that your home needs."
Donnelly adds that it is easier for homeowners to get a contractor to your home in the fall as opposed to waiting closer to winter. "The last thing you want is the first time you are told that a piece of equipment needs to be replaced, or a significant repair, you don't want it to be 5 degrees out. Schedules get filled up as it relates to install timeline and availability and now you are in a desperate situation."
For more information, you can contact National Fuel at 800-365-3534, or at their utility website.