In early December 2007, Congress approved a new bill that would provide an additional $ 409 million to its Low Income Home Energy Assistance program, a program aimed at providing heating and cooling subsidies to those in financial need. Neverheless, many political pundits are questioning whether this amount is enough, and home heating costs are still on the rise this winter.
Coincidentally, heating bills are rising at a time when utility companies across the country are now broadening their payment options for their customers, and this includes allowing credit cards to be used to pay for utility bills. According to a recent article and poll published by a leading financial site, this may prove to be disastrous for many Americans, as the article notes that paying for living expenses with credit cards may be fine for those who can afford to pay off their balance every month, using a credit card to pay for an electric bill may not be a good idea for those who are sooner to carrying a high revolving balance.
While more than 2/3 of the above poll's participants stated that they would try to keep their energy bills low by turning down their thermostat or by using other sources of heat such as supplementary space heaters, Perry Sioshansi, president of Menlo Energy Economics, a San Francisco based energy consulting company, notes that Americans will need to make better, long-term changes when it comes to their energy consumption habits. In fact, Sioshansi notes, "We all need to make those decisions when we buy appliances, when we're replacing appliances. insulation for the walls … these are permanent things that improve the utilization of energy. "
Because home heating costs can account for more than half of a household's energy bill, even seemingly small changes may result in substantial energy savings over the course of a season. In fact, many homeowners may not realize that simple adjustments to one's thermostat will reduce winter heating needs by approximately 15% – a return many families may find well worth the small sacrifice in comfort, and an energy-saving method that will hopefully reduce the need to find different ways to pay for inflated heating costs.
Regardless of what type of heating system you have, a small reduction in your household's temperature can make a huge difference in your fuel use. For every 1 degree Fahrenheit reduction you make, you can save 3 percent in total energy use – savings that will surely be welcomed during the winter season.
In addition, you may not realize that your home may have uneven heating patterns. If this is the case, an energy expert may be able to help adjust your system to address uneven temperatures. If these adjustments prove to be insufficient or if you still need additional heat in your home but do not wish to utilize your central heating system, a portable space heater can also be used to reduce the overall temperature in cold spots.
Source by Jeanie Wong