As noted in the recent Money Advisor section of the New York Times, “home heating bills are expected to be significantly higher this winter, but there’s still time to take steps to make your living space more energy-efficient and hold down costs.” Author Ann Carns penned the feature article “Tips for Holding Down Your Winter Heating Bills” and included energy experts at the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® program and even Richard Trethewey, heating and plumbing contractor and a regular on the home renovation show “This Old House.” Many offered suggestions on improving insulation, especially in the attic, weatherstripping for air leaks, using a programmable thermostat, and of course, having an energy audit conducted on the home. The article noted how some may need a replacement heating system, especially for the nearly half of American households that heat mainly with natural gas. It is estimated they will spend on average 29 percent more on heat this winter, according to a forecast from the federal Energy Information Administration. Households using heating oil and propane will face double-digit increases, while electricity costs are expected to rise 6 percent, on average. Those costs could vary if temperatures are much higher or lower than expected. RESNET Executive Director Steve Baden noted options of how to fund such a replacement. “You may be able to pay for the upgrade via an “energy-efficient mortgage” by wrapping the cost into a refinancing of your home. Borrowers can often get more favorable financing terms because lenders take into account the value of the utility savings. Details are available from Energy Star and Fannie Mae.” To read more of the piece, visit Tips for Holding Down Your Winter Heating Bills.