Here are some resources and tips on how to get help with heating costs.
Winter is just around the corner and for many families that are low income or on fixed incomes, the idea of having to come up with heating costs for the winter can be stressful. There's a lot of information out there on how to heat your home for less with all kinds of weatherization tips and tricks, but I don't see very many articles out there on how to find help with heating costs in the winter. If you are worried about how you will pay for heat this winter, whether you pay for electricity, natural gas, propane or wood, here are some resources and ideas on how to get help with heating costs.
How to Get Help with Heating Costs
Check with your power company – Many power companies now offer their own programs to help with heating costs. Our local one actually helps assist with one time payments (every 2 years) and just this year held an energy fair that gave away weatherization kits and signed people up for help with the costs for the season. If yours doesn't offer this, they most likely know where you can go to get the help and point you in the right direction.
Contact your state's LIHEAP (Low-Income High Energy Assistance Program) – The LIHEAP (sometimes called LIEAP) program is available in all states and helps with weatherization of rented or owned properties. It also provides assistance with heating bills for the winter with one time payments for the season as well as discounts throughout the year if you qualify. Check out this list of energy assistance programs by state to find out how to apply.
If you need help paying for heating oil try the Citizen's Energy Commission – Joe-4-Oil is a program that helps pay for heating oil for those that cannot afford it. It operates in 16 states including Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington DC, and Wisconsin. For more information on how to apply, check out the Joe-4-Oil oil assistance page.
If you don't qualify for free oil, consider getting it with a bulk purchase to save money – Heating oil buying networks allow members to purchase oil in bulk sort of the same way Costco works. Members can save around 20 cents a gallon. Find out more information on joining a heating oil buying network here.
Follow your power company on social media or sign up for emails – My heating/power company sends out emails and posts on social media information all season long with weatherization tips, where to go for free help with paying for the cost of heating and even giveaways.
Chop your own wood to save the most money on wood heated options – If you use a wood stove to get most of your heat, chop your own wood if you can. If this isn't possible, you may still benefit from these great tips on saving money on firewood from The Balance.