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Home Heating Oil Blues

Created: On September 3, 2008 @ 6:11 pm In

Although we’re in the dog days of summer, I’m already planning ahead to make sure we’ll be able to pay our home heating oil bill. The [1] U.S. Department of Energy estimates that heating oil prices will be an average of $4.34 a gallon, compared with $3.31 a gallon last winter. That’s a 31% increase! I already experienced sticker shock last year when I opened my home heating oil bills, so I shudder to think what we’ll end up paying this year.

Some heating oil customers are signing up for plans to lock in the price of oil by prepaying for a certain amount. That means that whether the price of oil goes up or down, you’re locked into paying the price in the contract. Our oil company offered this type of plan, but because they didn’t accept credit cards for the payments I’m sure a lot of homeowners were left out in the cold, so to speak.

We’ve decided to just sock away as much cash as possible with the intent that it will go toward our winter heating bill. We’re also fortunate in that we have a wood burning stove that can help cut down on heating bills.

People who facing a large heating bill this winter can take some steps to keep their costs down:

  • Add insulation in the attic and basement to cut down on drafts
  • Use caulking or weather stripping around windows, doors, and electrical outlets
  • Install a programmable thermostat to keep temperatures down while the house is empty
  • Turn down the thermostat at night and invest in some heavy quilts to stay warm.

About the Author

Francine L. Huff is a freelance journalist and the author of The 25-Day Money Makeover for Women. She has appeared on a variety of TV and radio shows.

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[1] U.S. Department of Energy: http://www.eia.doe.gov/steo