This story is part of, CNET's collection of practical advice for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.
You already know that keeping your house warm and cozy all winter long is. But do you know why exactly gas and heating bills tend to spike this time of year? And do you know about the tricks you can use to ?
We are here to tackle several frequently asked questions surrounding winter utilities. Plus, we'll breakdown some effective ways to lower your utility costs.
Why are winter utilities so costly?
Gas and electricity bills spike in the winter as people, especially in the colder climates, begin to heat their homes. Whether you are using natural gas, propane or electricity to warm your home or, you will increase energy usage and, in turn, increase your energy costs.
That's not to mention how inflation and world events have caused bills to jump higher than normal. Russia's invasion of Ukraine causedthis year. While gas prices have been dropping for months, it still isn't cheap -- and that includes the cost of natural gas.
Will utility bills rise this winter?
Utility companies and experts are predicting that bills for electricity, natural gas and oil will rise dramatically this winter. In fact, the average US household could pay 17% more this winter on heating, according to a forecast from the nonprofit National Energy Assistance Directors Association. Electric bills are also set to rise about 7.5% from 2021, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
Are there ways to get financial assistance on utilities?
Yes. Sometimes justmight not be enough to make utility bills affordable. The good news is that there are that can help ease the financial burden.
Many don't know that US states apply for and receive money from the federal government each year for the sole purpose of helping people pay their energy bills. Most programs are designed to allow low-income households to apply for assistance through their state office, but there are non-government sources of energy assistance that are not tied to income.
on how to apply to energy assistance programs.
Should I use a space heater?
to central heat. Space heaters aren't just handy appliances that add additional warmth to a room. They can actually cost less to run than a whole-home furnace.
If you run a space heater that is 1,500 watts to heat a standard room for 8 hours per day, you can expect to spend about $1.60 per day on average. That comes out to just under $50 per month. Comparatively, the average US home spends about $180 monthly on gas and electric bills.
While a space heater only warms a single room or area in your home, you can supplement central heat by heating one room at a time and moving the heater around as needed. If that seems impractical, you can still save money by opting to turn your thermostat down several degrees and use a space heater for extra warmth for a few hours.
However you decide to use your space heater, make sure to check out our space heater safety guide. Plus, here's our rundown on .
What temperature should I set my thermostat to this winter?
It's ideal to according to the US Department of Energy. For maximum savings, you should also designate eight hours per day during which you turn the temperature down by between 7 and 10 degrees. You can either do this while away at work or when you sleep and can cover up with blankets. By following this routine, you can by up to 10%.for most of the day during the winter,
What are some effective ways of lowering my bills this winter?
While utility bills are expensive in the winter and are expected to rise even more this year, there are several money-saving steps you can take -- and most require simple changes to your habits and lifestyle.
Since electric and heating costs are the same bill for many people, you can reduce your electric consumption to help cut costs. Another smart habit is to save where you can on your.
Here are several other ways you can save on utilities: