Be sure to shop around for the best prices on oil – and gas, if you live in an area that lets you choose your natural gas provider. Ask your utility or oil company about a budget billing plan to protect against sudden or unexpected price increases. Your provider takes the amount of energy you use during one year and divides it into equal monthly payments. At the end of the season, you pay any outstanding balance or your provider credits any overpayment to your next monthly bill.
A Few Tips to Be Aware Of:
1.When energy prices rise, so does advertising for a host of energy-saving products and services – including some that are just plain bogus!
The Commission recently settled charges against marketers who claimed their “liquid siding” product had a significant R-value and would yield dramatic reductions in consumers’ utility costs. Although good maintenance such as caulking and painting can reduce air leaks in older homes, you should be wary of coating or paint sellers that promise their product will perform like insulation or will significantly reduce utility bills.
2. Sellers offering other devices, gadgets, and energy-saving products also promise drastic reductions in home heating costs or extreme energy savings.
3. Be sure to read energy-saving claims carefully and, if possible, get independent information about product performance.
4. Avoid unsolicited door-to-door sales calls and high pressure sales pitches from contractors offering furnaces, windows, roofing, and other home improvement projects.
To make sure that a contractor is licensed and reputable: Ask friends and neighbors for referrals; ask the contractor for customer references; and check out potential contractors with the Better Business Bureau, state and local consumer protection officials, and your state licensing agency.