Natural gas and propane prices in 2015 were the lowest they had been in a decade. Propane production is increasing to meet an increased demand for propane from residential and commercial clients. This will help keep prices low for consumers. However, the winter of 2016 is predicted to be much colder in the northeast portion of the country, and a lot of snow is predicted for many parts of the United States. If you use propane or natural gas to heat your home, you need to start planning ahead for the winter so you aren't caught with astronomical heating bills that throw your budget completely off around the holidays.
Winterize Your Home
This cannot be stressed enough: winterize your home to keep heat in and cold out, and practice energy conservation. Most natural gas and propane suppliers, like Graves (John) Propane Of Arizona Inc., have lists of tips on their websites to help you, or you can do a quick online search for this information. Replace old or inefficient windows and doors, or seal up cracks if you can't afford replacements right away. Replace old furnaces, water heaters and other appliances; some energy providers offer rebates when you replace these items. Wrap water pipes to keep heat in and avoid freezing. Change your furnace filter often and keep the furnace set on the lowest comfortable temperature possible.
Most people use much less propane and natural gas in the summer months than the winter. As a result, most natural gas and propane suppliers offer some type of budget billing program, where a consumer is charged an average cost each month. At the end of the year, a reading is done and the consumer's account adjusted. This budget billing can help you plan for monthly heating costs and make sure you don't have a financial hardship during the coldest months of the year. Check with your propane or natural gas supplier for more details.
If you are having trouble making payments to your propane or natural gas supplier due to the higher costs of heating your home and staying warm during the winter, there may be other forms of help. Contact your natural gas or propane supplier for referrals to local agencies, city, county or state organizations that offer grants or assistance programs that will help you keep the heat on in your home during the coldest months. These programs may pay all or a portion of your heating costs to help you get through the hardest months of winter.