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Natural Gas Costs to Increase This Winter

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According to ACCUWeather and the U.S. Energy Information Administration, this year’s winter is set to be colder and longer than past winters (especially if you live east of the Rocky Mountains). In fact, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the Northeast will be 17% colder than it was last year, although the colder temperatures may be slow to start.

With colder temperatures in the forecast, homeowners will be turning to their heaters on a more regular basis during the winter months. According to the EIA’s Energy and Winter Fuels Outlook, heating oil users will use the most energy (a 38% increase) while electricity users will use the least (a 5% increase) compared to last year. Propane users and natural gas users are predicted for similar increases, at 26% and 22% respectively.

Even though all types of homeowners will be using more energy this year, only natural gas users (about half of all Americans), will have to cope with higher prices. The cost of natural gas is predicted to be 11% higher than last winter, making it at its highest since the winter of 2010-2011.

In an article by npr.org, Jeff Brady says, “Your overall bill will depend on where you live. The agency reports that an entire winter’s worth of natural gas heating for the average home will be $635. In the Northeast it will be nearly $900 [because] pipeline bottlenecks have pushed up prices in the region.”

If you’re in need of a new natural gas heater, talk to one of our heating experts today. We can help you choose an energy efficient model to save you as much as possible this winter.


Heating Fuel: Oil vs. Gas vs. Electric

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When it comes to heating your home this winter, there are three main “fuels” used to do so – oil, natural gas, and electricity. If you’re in the market for a new home, you may be wondering what the differences are between the three. Here’s some insight from our heating repair experts:

Cost

If you’re hoping to close on a house before winter sets in, you’re probably wondering how much money you’re going to spend to keep your home warm. Different factors affect the cost of each fuel:

When it comes to natural gas, prices usually depend on supply and demand. Natural gas production, imports, and storage levels affect its price from the supply side and economic conditions, weather, and petroleum prices affect its price from the demand side. So if there’s an increase in supply, prices will go down, but if there’s an increase in demand, prices will go up.

Electricity costs depend on a few factors as well. One is the price of the fuel used to generate it (on your electric bill, you’ll find a “fuel surcharge”). Each month, the price of the fuel can change, and each change will affect the price of your electricity. You’ll also pay to keep the transmission lines running on a regular basis (which means in bad weather, electricity prices could go up due to downed lines).

Oil prices can vary as well and often depend on the cost of crude oil. Like natural gas, crude oil prices can change because of supply and/or demand, economic conditions, and weather. Where you live can also affect the cost of your oil. If you’re in an area that’s far from an oil supplier, you could see higher costs.

Combustion

If carbon monoxide is a major concern for you, it may sway your decision on heating fuel. Both oil and gas use combustion to produce energy, which releases carbon monoxide. If not protected against properly, large amounts of carbon monoxide can poison those in the house. Carbon monoxide is odorless, tasteless, and can cause symptoms that are easily confused with the flu. To protect your family from this potentially deadly substance, our heating repair experts recommend a low-level CO monitor, which can be easily installed during a maintenance visit.

Electricity, on the other hand, uses wires to produce energy, so there’s no carbon monoxide released.

Energy

When it comes to energy efficiency, the type of heating fuel you use plays a part, but the actual furnace can play an even bigger part. If you’re using a furnace that’s either old or not working properly, you won’t experience efficient heating nearly as much as you would with a highly efficient furnace from Oliver.

Maintenance is another important part of heater efficiency. By having a heating repair specialist inspect your heater on a regular basis, you can make sure your heater is in its best shape.


 

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