The No. 1 Reason Your Winter Utility Bill Is High This Year and How To Lower It Now
Most Americans will look back on the last year as a time when their utility bills were astronomically expensive -- among other expenses. In a GOBankingRates poll of 1,003 Americans, nearly 78% saw a rise in their household utility bills in 2022.
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GOBankingRates spoke to Jacqui Kearns, chief wellbeing officer at Affinity Federal Credit Union, to learn why utility bills have become so expensive. As costs are anticipated to keep rising year-over-year, find out which quick fixes can make for more cost-effective utility statements.
The Main Reason Utility Bills Have Increased
Throughout 2022, domestic production, overseas conflict and weather interruptions disrupted the U.S. supply chain. General supply and demand, Kearns said, created price increases.
The pain of these statements, many of which hit a record peak this summer, can be expected to continue into the 2023 winter months. Utility bills for heating, and use of natural gas, oil or propane, are estimated to be significantly higher year-over-year. Kearns uses the example of how in New Jersey, a major energy provider estimates a 25% rise in costs year-over-year.
Fortunately, there are some quick fixes one can utilize to trim utility costs.
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Kearns said most energy providers are happy to give customers advice on how and where they can budget the cost of energy over an annual payment plan. In addition, many companies will provide financial assistance or a referral to a service that can help you put together a budget that works best for you.
See If You Qualify for Energy Credits
You might qualify for local or federal emergency or energy credits depending on your state of residence.
Help is available. "Check your state's website," Kearns recommends. "In most cases by calling 211 you will be connected to resources that can help with the immediate fuel or energy needs."
Seek Out a Free Energy Audit
Kearns said your utility company or local HVAC provider can assess where your home might be vulnerable to the weather through a free energy audit. They can provide recommendations or services for weatherproofing to mitigate these issues.
What if you rent? Kearns recommends reaching out to your property manager. They can enlist these services on your behalf.
Mind the Dial
It may not sound like a good idea to keep the room temperature a bit cooler as we head into the winter months, but just a few degrees can make a big impact in your monthly heating costs.
The ideal temperature for a room at night, according to the Cleveland Clinic, is between 60 to 67 degrees. Kearns said while this might sound cooler than the average room temperature of 72, the degree difference does add up.
Enlist Mother Nature's Help
Small touches from planet earth can be a big help in cutting utility bill costs in the winter months.
Kearns recommends identifying which rooms in your home are southern facing. Doing so will allow residents to gain warmth during the day by simply not drawing open the blinds or drapes. This, combined with great weatherproofing, can offer a natural source of heat and light during the daylight hours.
Don't forget to bundle and buy, too. Stock up on home goods like thermal drapes, draft stoppers and blankets that can help with the warmth factor during the especially cold days and nights.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: The No. 1 Reason Your Winter Utility Bill Is High This Year and How To Lower It Now