If you live in the Northeast, you could be in store for an expensive winter, according to data released today by the Energy Information Administration. The six million-plus households in that region that use heating oil will pay an average $2,493 during the upcoming season, which runs from October 1 to March 31. That's a year-over-year jump of eight percent and a 42 percent increase from the five-year average of $1,752 recorded between 2005 and 2010.
Propane-heated households in the Northeast could have it even worse, with the average winter-heating cost for that fuel projected to surge nine percent this season to $2,979. More modest increases are in store for households that use other types of heating fuel. If you have natural gas, for example, your winter heating bill should go up three percent to $744 (which is actually a $100 dollars below the 2005-2010 average). Electricity costs are projected to rise less than one percent to $956 dollars.
Even if the projections for your household are relatively benign, you'd do well to give your home a quick tune-up before the heating season gets under way in earnest. That includes checking the insulation level in your attic, having your furnace or boiler serviced by a trained professional, and inspecting the envelope of your home for air leaks, such as those that develop over time around windows and doors. For more details, as well as additional ways to save, check our latest energy report .