According to the Energy Information Administration's (EIA) most recent short-term energy outlook, home heating costs are expected to rise again this winter. The projections are based on a typical heating season that spans from October to March.
Specifically, the EIA projects a dramatic 49 percent increase for heating oil, bringing the average cost per season to $2,858 per household, up from $1,468 only two years ago. For households utilizing propane, costs are expected to jump 26 percent, representing a cost of more than $2,116 this season. Natural gas prices are expected to increase by 43 percent, bringing the average cost up to $1,216 per household. An expected 9 percent increase for electricity would equate to approximately $929 in heating costs this winter.
With more than 45 million under-insulated homes in the U.S., according to a study conducted by Harvard University, a smart investment in insulation now can go a long way in combating rising heating costs in the future.
Here are some effective and environmentally responsible actions that homeowners can take to reduce the impact of home heating costs:
- Conduct a home energy audit. An auditor can pinpoint areas where your home loses valuable energy and can suggest ways to conserve heating fuel, hot water and electricity.
- Seal & Insulate. For the most cost-effective way to improve energy efficiency and comfort, ENERGY STAR(R) recommends sealing and insulating the shell of your home, including outer walls, ceilings, windows, doors and floors. You can begin by caulking and weather stripping around doors and windows.
- Make sure your attic has enough insulation. Measure the depth of insulation in your attic. If it measures less than 11 or 12 inches, depending on your region, you should add more insulation. InsulSafe(R) SP Premium Blowing Wool can be installed in your attic by a qualified contractor for an immediate impact on your energy use. It is non-combustible, made from recycled glass, and resists moisture to prevent mold growth.
- Improve efficiency throughout the home. Although 56 percent of the average home's energy costs go toward heating and cooling, homeowners can do a number of things on a daily basis to reduce overall home energy costs. Use compact florescent light bulbs, purchase ENERGY STAR appliances, and unplug chargers and electronics when not in use. Also, cleaning or replacing filters on furnaces once a month will improve performance and help reduce costs.
CertainTeed offers a full line of quality insulation products for both new and existing homes that meet the requirements of the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute and the Green Building Guidelines established through the National Association of Home Builders. CertainTeed insulation products can also help building professionals qualify toward credits for The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) through the U.S. Green Building Council.
For more information or to find a qualified contractor in your area, visit http://www.certainteed.com .