House warmers' workshop: Part 4
Help with the high cost of heating
By BECKY BATCHA
Like the mayor, most of our households are facing a fearsome budget gap. Already stretched to the limit, we’ll soon be turning our pockets inside out to shake loose some money for the winter heating bills.
The miserable economy has one silver lining: The latest projections from the U.S. government, announced last week, say that home-heating oil will average a not-completely ruinous $2.75 a gallon — down 56 cents a gallon from last year.
So the average house in the mid-Atlantic, burning the average 900 gallons over the course of the winter, will only be paying about $2,475.
Natural-gas prices are expected to be up just 2 percent nationally, as opposed to the 18 percent increase the government had been anticipating earlier. Assuming normal winter temperatures, the cost to heat the average Philly house is projected to be $1,970.
Again, good-ish news.
But again, gulp.
For this installment of House Warmers’ Workshop, we’ve searched for novel ways, which go above and beyond the standard belt-tightening, to help offset those four-figure outlays.
The savings total $826.05 and don’t call for any real sacrifice, unless you really hate chicken soup.
Still coming up short? Consider enrolling in a budget plan to stretch your winter fuel payments over 12 months. To your right, we crunch the numbers on those.
For low-income families, there are bigger grants from Pennsylvania’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program this year to help make ends meet, along with more generous eligibility criteria. See our “LIHEAP Update” box for the details, and see our list off other programs to help you stay warm.*