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15 tips on dealing with rising heating bills

Along with rising gas prices, this winter's heating

Along with rising gas prices, this winter's heating costs won't be cheap. Here are some tips to help lower your heating bills this year. Credit: Newsday / Steve Pfost

Inflation stings.

U.S. consumer prices surged 6.2% in October, the highest rate in more than 30 years.

Arguably, rising prices hurt even more when the money is going up the chimney for heating rather than toward a tangible good like a cozy sofa.

Energy prices are leading the inflation parade. That means Long Islanders face hundreds of dollars in additional natural gas, heating oil, electricity and propane heating costs this winter.

How much more depends on a lot of factors.

47% How much the average price of heating oil on Long Island increased compared to last year

More than 40% of Long Island homes use heating oil. The average price of heating oil on Long Island as of the week of Nov. 8 was $3.77 a gallon, based on a survey of dealers by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

That's a whopping 47% increase compared to last year's $2.56.

Doing some back-of-the-envelope math: If a Long Island household uses 200 gallons per month in December, January and February, they would pay $2,262 this year compared to $1,536 in 2020, based on the NYSERDA figures.

The story is similar with other fuels.

26% The average increase natural gas customers on Long Island can expect

Natural gas customers, who account for about 50% of residential customers on Long Island, can expect an average increase of $215, or 26%, to $1,051 for the heating season, according to National Grid.

The 4.3% of Long Island households that heat with electric systems also can expect rates to trend higher.

32% How much the average price of propane rose since last year

Propane, used by a tiny percentage of homes on the East End, came in at $3.99 a gallon, 32% higher than in the 2020 week, according to NYSERDA.

All that is not to say there's nothing that a heating customer can do.

What follows are some of the many ways to slash heating bills.

Some of the ideas require serious investments of time, effort or money. Others are as simple as finding the long johns in your dresser.

In the end, each Long Islander will have to do their own cost-benefit analysis, but inaction could be costly.

Low-hanging fruit 1. Thermostat logic

2. Get an energy 'audit'

3. Insulation's double payback

4. Get back ... to the workplace

5. Get fleeced

6. It's the humidity

7. Routine maintenance

8. Be an Energy Star

9. Evade the draft

10. Oil or nothing

11. Use the fireplace sparingly

Get the checkbook 12. Double pane to end the pain

13. Heat pumps

Atmospheric intervention 14. Hope for La Nina

Hedging your bets 15. Conservation vs. speculation

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