November 27, 2008

Prepare for higher winter fuel bills now

Submitted By Crystal Schaunaman, Sheridan County Extension Agent

Fuel prices are expected to be 25% higher than a year ago for people using fuel oil to heat their homes this winter and 17% higher for those using propane, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration. To reduce the impact of these significant increases, the North Dakota State University Extension Service is providing equipment and information to help residents assess areas in their home that may need attention to reduce heating costs and make their home more comfortable. The first step in reducing heating costs is to seal air leaks into and out of the home, energy experts say. County Extension offices have an infrared thermometer that homeowners can check out to quickly identify places with air leaks. The thermometer uses a laser beam to determine the temperature of whatever it contacts. NDSU Extension publication AE-1373, "Determining Insulation and Air Infiltration Levels Using an Infrared Thermometer," can help people learn how to use the thermometer to identify air leaks and get a rough estimate of insulation levels in walls. The publication also is online at

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