BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — As the heat starts to kick on and the prices are on the rise National Fuel and local HVAC companies are encouraging you to prepare to heat your home without emptying your wallet this winter.
“We know for sure that winter heating season bills will be higher than last year, in fact customers probably will not have seen bills this high since 2006,” said Karen Merkel, spokesperson of National Fuel told News 4.
Merkel says the gas the company purchased to heat homes this winter, cost almost double of what it cost last year, and though the cost of your bill depends on how cold the winter is, it can also depend on how well you prepare for the season.
“The way we think about it, there’s certainly some things homeowners can do themselves, and then there’s certainly a point where you want to call the experts at T-Mark,” said Ian Donnelly, a HVAC Project Manager at T-Mark. “We have to think about it how the house is utilizing the heart that is being generated by the heating equipment. You have to think about how much of that heat is being lost potentially, so we want to keep as much as we possibly can inside of that house.”
He says there are multiple steps you can take at home to make sure you’re saving as much heat as you can.
First step, is to take a walk around your home feeling for cold air seeping through the cracks in the foundation or walls, and make sure to close up any windows where warm air can escape.
He also suggests consumers to make sure there’s no leaks in the pipes, and that lowering the thermostat when your family is not home, lowering the levels on a hot water tank, and even closing off parts of your home to heat — can all pay off in the end.
“There’s no reason to keep the house 70 degrees if nobody is there,” said Donnelly. “If you are using less gas then that obviously means you will be spending less money to heat the home, to keep the family nice and comfortable.”
He also recommends having a professional do a tune up every year in your equipment, not only to make sure your home is safe, but to make sure the hot air you pay for is being distributed properly.
“It’s super important that homeowners take the time to schedule a tune up,” said Donnelly. “A lot of times, the furnace, the boiler, it’s down in the basement. You don’t even think that it even exists, you don’t think about it at all until it doesn’t work.”
Donnelly says if you use the $25 rebate from National Fuel to get a tune up, it can cost you between $30 and $80. He says T-Mark has specials and deals throughout the year.
“Once they have gone through their home and made sure that they will not be wasting energy, which means keeping the warm air in and the cold air out — they should really start to look at other things like what payment assistance programs — both federal and state — they might be eligible for,” said Karen Merkel of National Fuel.
Merkel says National Fuel encourages their customers to enroll in the Budget Plan, which allows customers to pay a set fee throughout the year, to help stabilize their heating bill in the winter.
There are also multiple assistance programs that customers can apply for to get help with their heating costs, including The Home Energy System Program, which people can enroll for starting November 1st. For more information on these assistance programs click here.
For more tips and tricks on heating your home this Winter, see National Fuel’s list here.