Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Baby it's Hot Outside

So, you think you've got enough heat. Too bad we can't bottle this extra warmth and save it for the winter because this winter is going to be a pricey one.

photo by Jeff Milner

According to "Residential heating oil prices are projected to rise 29% to $4.46 per gallon in the fourth quarter of 2008 from $3.16 per gallon during the same period last year, according to the Energy Information Administration. Those who use natural gas to heat their homes (a fair majority at 48% of U.S. households) shouldn't expect to fare much better. The EIA projects the average price of natural gas to rise 27% year over year (from $12.65 per thousand cubic feet in the fourth quarter of 2007 to $17.21 per thousand cubic feet in fourth quarter of 2008)."

You can lessen the burdern by taking steps now. Xcel offers Averaged Monthly Payments. They'll estimate your energy use for the year and divide it evenly. This is nice because it saves you from surprising bills. If you use more then they estimated you'll have to make it up at the end of the year. And if you use less you'll get a credit.

Many home inspection contractors are offering Energy Audits. Pricing often ranges based on the size of your house from $200 for a house under 2,000 sq. ft. to $400 for houses over 4,000 sq ft. Click here to review a sample energy inspection.

Don't wait until the Aspens begin to change color before making energy improvements to your home. Energy Inspectors report that they get a lot of calls right after school starts in the fall. By then they are heavily booked and may take a while to get to you. Plus, it's much easier to make changes during the summer when the weather is rather cooperative.

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