Whether you follow the Farmer’s Almanac, the Old Farmer’s Almanac or NOAA’s prediction for the 2021–2022 winter weather, heating your home will cost more. A recent report released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts we will spend more to heat our homes this winter. How much more depends on how you heat your home (oil, gas propane), but it’s expected to be at least a 30% increase.
Tips to be more energy-efficient:
- Do an energy audit – you can do this yourself by walking through your home. Look for gaps where the cold air can come in (like around outlets and switches, windows, and doors), make a list of what areas need addressing, then seal with caulk around the frames, window film, or outlet sealers.
- Service the furnace – A dirty furnace and filter makes your furnace work harder and less efficiently.
- Appliances – Run large appliances (washer, dryer, dishwasher) in the evening. Wash in cold water and a shorter cycle.
- Vacuum – Clean your dryer vent and the vent at the back or under your refrigerator. Like your furnace, these appliances work more efficiently when clean.
- Set-Back – Consider investing in a programmable thermostat. You can get one for around $20. Nothing fancy, but you can set your heat to a lower temperature while sleeping and a warmer temperature for when you wake up.
And check out energy.gov Energy Saver Guide for more information: https://www.energy.gov/sites/default/files/2017/10/f37/Energy_Saver_Guide-2017-en.pdf.
Where to get help:
- Weatherization Assistance – Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). For income-qualified Pennsylvania individuals and households. You will receive an onsite energy audit identifying areas of energy loss and cost-effective ways to remedy them.
- FREE Energy Audit (Checkup) – For income-qualified PECO customers. You can choose to have either an in-home or virtual audit, and you will receive a written report detailing ways to save energy.
- LIHEAP – A federally Funded program for income-qualified families and individuals for home heating and medically necessary cooling costs. The application period runs from October 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022. More info:
- Pennsylvania: LIHEAP – PAPUC
- New Jersey: LIHEAP and USF – DCAid
- Delaware: LIHEAP – DEAP
- Other resources:
- Pennsylvania (Delaware, Chester, Montgomery, Lancaster, and Lebanon Counties only): Weatherization Assistance – CAADC
- Pennsylvania (Delaware County only): Utility and Fuel (oil- heat) Assistance – CAADC
- Philadelphia only: USEF – provides direct home heating oil assistance for income-qualified Philadelphia residents
If you are struggling to pay your energy bills, call the supplier. Let them know you are having difficulty paying your bill and be able to explain why. Ask them what resources or programs are available. And don’t forget that Clarifi can direct you to available resources and repayment options.