(WXYZ) — Have you thought much about your winter heating bill? Nationally, heating costs could jump as much as 54% over the next few months, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
But, since about half the gas we use in Michigan is actually bought during the summer and stored, utility companies shouldn't have to hike up prices here due to market trends, as we've been told by the Michigan Public Service Commission.
DTE said global rates nearly doubled over the last few months, but not for their customers. In fact, DTE said customers can expect to see stable, or possibly even lower utility bills this winter. The company has been preparing to help keep prices low.
It's still good to be prepared, so Alicia Smith asked an expert for advice and found out eight inexpensive ways to save on your heating bill.
Marcel Cihelka is the owner of Advanced Heating and Cooling in Redford Township. He walked us through some different ways to save.
1. Change your furnace filter
Dirty air restricts airflow, which will hike heating costs. If left unchanged, the filter could lead to problems with the furnace itself — potentially costing you a hefty repair bill.
"When [the filter] starts becoming darker brown or gray, that usually is an indication that it's time for a change," Cihelka said.
2. Keep your thermostat at 70 degrees or less
Cihelka said having it higher than 70 will strain your furnace, making it work harder.
3. Service your heating system
Make an appointment with a technician to come out so you can catch any problems before winter.
4. Add insulation
This will make your home more energy-efficient. You'll save money year-round.
5. Install a smart thermostat
This will allow you to control your home's heating and A/C even when you're not around.
6. Use a humidifier
This will replace some of the lost moisture in your home's air, making it feel warmer. It will allow you to keep your thermostat on a lower setting.
7. Get an energy audit
8. Open window treatments when it's sunny
This will let mother nature heat your home.
Cihelka also said a good rule of thumb is getting your furnace serviced every one to three years, and changing your furnace filter at least 2-3 times per year.
If you have a particularly dusty environment or home renovation under way, you should probably change your filter once a month.