The rising cost of home heating intensifies

As the month of September plods ahead, winter may still seem like a distant memory or a distant trouble, but like every year the days will continue to shorten, the temperatures will continue to drop, and every family in the Capital District will be faced with the proposition of turning on their heat.

In a continuing trend, many will be considering the financial aspect of keeping warm this winter. Though the details vary a bit depending on whom you ask, it is agreed that all manner of home heating fuels have increased in price since last year, and will continue to do so into the winter months.

The most recent numbers from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority show a more than 50 percent increase in the cost of heating oil from this time last year in the Capital District, with an average price of $3.97 per gallon (still a dime better than the state average).

Propane's cost rose 35 percent over the past 12 months locally. Kerosene went up over 51 percent to $4.43 per gallon. Although natural gas has not seen such a dramatic change, it is still costly at a May 2008 price of $1.876 per thermal unit.

About 8.1 million of the 107 million homes in the United States use heating oil as their main source of heat, and more than 80 percent of those homes are grouped in the Northeast.

The forecast is causing many residing in colder climes to rethink their heating options for the winter, and that is driving up the sales of alternative methods for heating the home.

We've definitely seen an increase in people looking towards wood stoves and pellet stoves, said Tom DePalma, administrator of CR Gas, Logs and Fireplaces in Voorheesville. "This year, in particular, people are seeing the value."

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