National Grid announces annual winter heating forecast

SCHNECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Winter is just around the corner and that means so are your heating bills. National Grid released its predictions for the season’s bills Tuesday morning.

“One way you can be sure to save a little bit of money heating your home this season is to make sure to check your air filters before it starts to get cold. If they look like this it’s probably fine but if they’re dirty you’re going to want to change them,” Ron Metzger, Customer Service Meter Representative, said.

Changing your air filters is just one way you can bring down your bill.

“It lets the furnace run more efficiently. You’re going to heat and cool your house more quickly and it’s going to let your furnace last a little longer,” Metzger said.

The filters only cost a couple of dollars, but if you don’t replace them you might have to end up replacing the whole furnace which is a lot more expensive.

“You’re looking at probably $3,000 to $5,000 to replace one of these.”

“Making sure that you have your furnaces checked, making sure you’re looking at your air filters on a regular basis. Maybe stock up on some of those,” Renee Devine, Upstate New York Energy Efficiency Manager, said.

Just one of the ways National Grid says you can lower your heating bill this winter.

“Put on a sweater. Turn back your thermostat a little bit. Or buy an automatic thermostat that allows you to adjust your homes heating for when you’re not there or when you’re sleeping,” National Grid Regional Director Laurie Poltynski said.

The company predicts gas heat customers will see a decrease of $12 for the five month winter period and electric customers will see an increase of $10.

Overall, heating bills have been on the decline for the last decade.

“Winter bills are expected to be 49 percent lower than they were in 2004 and 2005 winter bills.”

Poltynski says it’s good to try and reduce your energy use before that first winter bill comes.

“I think it’s really important for customers to take some action rather than waiting for the bill to come at the end of the month and being surprised by their usage.”

If you keep doing that all the time, you could end up saving a lot of money.

“For every one degree you set your thermostat back, you can save one to three percent on your annual energy bill,” Devine said.

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