When Are Home Heating Prices Expected to Go Down?
With winter weather hitting hard, homeowners in the U.S. are dealing with the problem of home heating costs. Recent years have seen a remarkable jump in energy costs, leaving many in search of answers and relief. Learn what affects home heating prices, the recent trends we’ve seen and tips to keep your utility bills in check.
Types of Home Heating Fuel
Many fuels are used to heat homes in the United States:
- Natural gas heats 48% of American homes.
- Heating oil serves 5% of homes.
- Propane fuels another 5%.
- Electricity warms 40% of U.S. homes. Fossil fuels are still the main source for creating electricity despite the surge in interest in renewable energy sources like wind and solar.
What Affects the Price of Fossil Fuels?
According to the above information, it’s evident that fossil fuels heat a vast majority of North American households. Supply and demand is the biggest factor creating price fluctuations. An increase in supply—triggered by higher production and storage rates—usually lowers prices, while a spike in demand—triggered by severe weather, a thriving economy and rising rates for alternative fuels—can cause prices to climb.
Exactly How Much Has the Price of Natural Gas Gone Up?
Domestic natural gas production outpaced consumption starting in 2017, resulting in a broad price decline through 2018. But, demand has surged recently across all sectors, causing natural gas prices to attain heights not seen in over a decade.
In 2022, the average wholesale cost of U.S. natural gas reached its highest point since 2008, hitting an average of $6.45 per million British thermal units (MMBtu). This surge represented a major leap of greater than 53% from the previous year, marking it as one of the biggest annual increases on record.
Numerous factors contributed to the volatile rise and uncertainty of natural gas prices last year. In early 2022, manufacturing hiccups caused by freeze-offs and a large draw from natural gas reserves nudged prices up. Robust liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to Europe and other regions, coupled with an increase in domestic demand due to cold weather, stretched the price range even further.
In the spring of 2022, prices soared past $9/MMBtu, only to fall by 40% following the fire and subsequent closure of the Freeport LNG export terminal. This incident sharply cut U.S. LNG exports and redirected more natural gas to storage. Unfortunately, as the summer heat eased, prices climbed yet again, hitting a high point in late August.
Moving into the fall, an increase in natural gas production and higher-than-average injections into storage saw prices drop down closer to the five-year average. However, as temperatures dropped, the demand for heating caused prices to rise once more.
When Will Fuel Rates Calm Down?
The changes in natural gas prices highlight the complicated interplay of factors influencing home heating costs. As we look ahead to the rest of the 2023-24 heating season, the market’s past behavior offers insights into future price patterns and the prospect of cost-saving options.
As of late 2023, prices have decreased from their previous highs due to robust production and reasonably moderate temperatures. Although demand continues to be steady, forecasters suggest prices around $3.44/MMBtu this winter, offering some respite for property owners as we move through the heating season.
Tricks to Trim Your Heating Bill
Regardless of how you heat your home or what prices are like, you can take several practical steps to boost energy efficiency and cut your heating bills. Here are a couple of suggestions:
- Seal drafty windows and doors with caulk and weatherstripping.
- Use curtains to your advantage, making sure to pull them open during the day for free light and heat and then pulling them back over the windows in the evenings to insulate your windows.
- Increase your attic insulation to stop heat from rising out of your home.
- Invest in a smart thermostat that learns your behavior and saves you money.
- Lower the temperature on your thermostat when you’re away so you aren’t heating an empty house.
- Wear warmer clothes inside your residence so you don’t need to crank up the thermostat.
- Make an appointment for seasonal furnace maintenance to keep your heating system in peak condition.
- Set up a whole-house humidifier. Moist air feels warmer than dry air, so you feel more comfy at a lower temperature.
Bring Comfort Home in the U.S. with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing
Nothing is more important to the Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing team than your comfort and happiness in your home. Our work can also help lower home heating costs, which is good news for your wallet. With ACE-certified technicians at the helm, you can expect fast, long-lasting solutions to all your comfort needs. The assurance of a 100% satisfaction guarantee means that if you’re not truly happy with our services, you can count on us to make things right.
As a company that prides itself on innovation, customer engagement and community support, you can trust Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing to make a positive difference in your life and sense of comfort. For more details of what you can expect with heating prices in the U.S. or personalized methods to help minimize your utility bills, contact the professionals at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. Call 866-397-3787 today to learn more.
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