This could be the most expensive winter yet for homeowners

·3 min read
Snow on a roof with a chimney.
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  • The price of natural gas has surged more than 180% over the past 12 months.

  • Homeowners can expect a 30% increase in the cost of natural gas this winter, experts say.

  • Harsh winter weather also increases demand that suppliers may not be able to keep up with.

Home heating prices are expected to rise this year as parts of the world face an increasing energy crisis.

Americans have been paying more to fill their cars with gas since 2014, and the same problem is expected to hit homeowners this winter as the cost of natural gas continues to increase.

Homeowners can expect a 30% increase in the cost of their natural gas bill this winter, the National Energy Assistance Directors Association told Insider. The average residential gas bill is expected to increase from $572 to $859, while heating oil could climb from $1,272 to $1,900. About 61 million households use natural gas to heat their homes, according to a recent report from the US Energy Information Administration.

"If we have a colder winter, prices could go much higher because of increased demand," Mark Wolfe, NEADA's executive director, told Insider. "The impact on low-income households will be significant."

The price of natural gas, which heats about 48% of American homes, has surged more than 180% over the past 12 months, CNN reported. Wolfe says any increase in the cost of natural oil prices will have a "significant impact" on a ​​struggling household's ability to pay their energy bills.

Last year, 29% of families surveyed by the US Census Bureau said they had to reduce spending on other essential items like groceries, medication, and other utilities.

Weather can also have a large impact on the cost of oil. Winter storms can increase home heating oil prices, as people typically use more at the same time that winter storms interrupt delivery systems, according to the EIA. Harsh winter weather also increases demand that suppliers may not be able to keep up with, ultimately causing the price of home heating oil to rise.

In February, Texas was hit with a devastating winter storm that left millions without power, water, and heat. Some Texas residents were hit with bills up to $5,000 after the mass outage because their bill was tied to the wholesale market. The price increase came as natural-gas plants, Texas' main sources of electricity, went offline in the freezing temperatures. At the same time, the cold weather also meant that overall energy consumption in the state went up as residents of the state turned up their heaters to stay warm.

This winter, the Natural Gas Supply Association expects prices of home heating to increase citing a multitude of factors like demand, production, and storage in the oil and gas industry's supply chain, according to a recent press release.

The US Department of Energy recommends setting the thermostat for the lowest temperature that still allows you to remain comfortable, this is typically around 68 degrees during the day and 58 degrees at night to save about 10-15% off of your bill.

Cleaning and replacing your furnace's filters will also help lower the cost of your monthly bill because it helps it run more efficiently, the Department of Energy says. During winter, keeping the shades open on south-facing windows during the day to allow the sunlight in and closed at night to keep in the heat. Blocking any potential drafts from doors and windows will also help keep costs down by reducing the strain on your furnace.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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