Heating costs to rise this winter - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Heating costs to rise this winter

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September 27, 2007

Albany--Get ready to pay more money to heat your home. A new report shows that customers will likely pay record prices to keep warm this winter.  Whether you use electricity or natural gas to heat your homes, analysts predict customers will pay $94 more to keep warm this year.

With cooler temperatures on the way, business is picking up for Mark Holloway at Modern Gas.  "A lot of folks are starting to call to get their pilots lit for their heaters and their getting gas logs," says Mark Holloway.

And as the temperatures begin to drop, expect to your heating bill to rise. "The cost of energy world wide continues to go up," says Holloway.

According to the National Energy Assistance Directors' Association, the average U.S. household will pay $992 in heating costs this winter--that's a 10.5 percent increase from last winter.

"It's outrageous in my opinion," says Holloway.  More than half of U.S. homes are heated by natural gas, including many here in Albany. Analysts predict those customers will see their bill rise by $50.

"Some folks can burn 500 gallons of gas a month, which is $700 or $800 a month," says Holloway.

"Because of the war in Iraq and the storms every fall, over the last couple of years, the gas and oil prices have risen to huge amounts, and it has made heating costs very difficult," says Lorie Farkas with Water, Gas, and Light in Albany.  She says conservation is key, and you can start by having your heater serviced before the cold weather kicks in.

 "The best money you can spend is to have your heater or air conditioner serviced right before the season starts, so twice a year to pay someone to come out, to make sure everything is in good working order," says Farkas.

Customers using electricity to heat their homes will likely see an seven percent increase in their heating bill, that's why Farkas say changing your heating units air filter is vital.

"It's real important to clean those filters because where dust and dirt is, you're paying for that energy but not getting the benefit of it," says Farkas.

Holloway also has a few suggestions for keeping your energy bill down this winter. "We need to think about conservation with energy efficient windows and doors, insulation and that type of thing," says Holloway.

And if you use propane to heat your home, fill your tanks now. "A lot of times the fuel prices may be less expensive than this month of October than they may be finding in December, January, February," says Holloway.

For those of you who need help lowering your energy bill, Water, Gas, and Light offers a free energy audit service to its customers. For more information, you can contact 883-8330.

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