Winter weather is still a few weeks away, but with home heating prices so high, many of us are already shivering – for a different reason.

“I have my concerns about heating the house,” homeowner Brenda Martin said.

Martin already takes steps to save money on heat. Even though her husband or two kids might complain – the heat doesn’t go on in her home until November.

“I try not to turn on the heat until the weather gets real cold,” she said.

But even waiting a while to turn up the heat won’t save you from sky-high bills this winter. Whether you use oil, gas or electricity to stay warm – it’s going to cost you more. Lots more.

“I don’t think we’ve seen a situation this dire since the fuel crises of the 60’s and 70’s,” said Richard Eckman, from the Consumer Federation of America said.

Right now in Massachusetts, home heating oil is up a staggering 72% from last year, and natural gas is up an average of 53%.

And heating with electricity is going to cost you 31% percent more.

“It’s expensive,” Martin said.

But there are some heating hacks – simple ways to make your dollar do more.

  • Bake or cook during the day because *baking makes it better*

Using the oven will help heat your house.

“If i was home during the day, I would cook a lot more,” Brenda said.

  • Don’t be a damper

If you have a fireplace make sure the damper is closed when you aren’t using it. That’s an often overlooked way for heat to escape.

  • Light a candle and walk around your house.

The smoke trail can reveal drafts which are a sign there’s some kind of opening – maybe around a window – and heat is escaping.

You’ll want to seal that up.

“That’s a technique that i could certainly try,” Brenda said.

  • Let the sun shine in

Open your curtains or blinds when the sun is out.

It will heat the air inside your home and could save you as much as 12% on your heating bill

Brenda already does this one.

“I like to keep the shades up anyways.”

  • Forget the fan

The bathroom fan that is.

Instead of trying to send the warm, humid air from your shower out a vent – let it circulate through your house.

“I’ll try it,” Brenda said.

  • And of course: Ask for help.

This winter, more Massachusetts families are eligible for state fuel assitance than ever before.

Some families can now earn almost 100 thousand dollars and still qualify.

Click here to find out if you qualify for home heating help.

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