The EIA has released its annual natural gas forecast and things are looking good again this year in terms of overall gas prices. Essentially, EIA is predicting a little less than a five percent increase in consumption, based on a more typical winter. The actual price of natural gas is expected to be similar to that of last year. Last year’s unseasonably warm weather coupled with low gas prices helped MLGW customers to save about $110 on their winterheating bills. Even with an anticipated return to more traditional winter temperatures, natural gas prices are about half of what they were five years ago.
Now is a good time to prepare your home for the winter. If you are looking for some easy and free ways to save energy and money this winter, follow these steps:
- Set your thermostat at 68° or lower when you're home. Every degree below 68° can save four percent on your heating bills.
- Wear layered clothing and thick socks to keep warm, then set your thermostat even lower.
- At bedtime, lower your thermostat and add extra blankets.
- Lower or turn off thermostat when leaving your home for four hours or more.
- Close garage doors, cover foundation vents, and close off vents and doors to seldom-used rooms.
- Keep curtains and blinds closed at night and on cloudy days; open curtains on sunny days for warmth.
- Place rolled-up towels inside against bottom of exterior doors and window sills to block wintry drafts.
- Adjust your water heater temperature to 120° or "warm." It still provides hot water and avoids scalding. You can lower it when not in use, too.
Low cost efforts:
- Buy a programmable thermostat and program in lower temps when needed.
- Make sure central heating air filters are replaced every 30-90 days.
- Caulk cracks around windows and doors.
More costly, but savings can be much greater:
- Install storm windows and doors.
- Add more insulation in your attic.