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Home Heating Expert Offers Advice On How Homeowners Can Cut Into High Prices For Oil And Natural Gas This Winter

ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Home heating oil and natural gas prices are steadily climbing, and experts are warning homeowners that big winter bills could soon be on the way, even doubling in some cases.

So what's a homeowner to do? CBS2's Jennifer McLogan got some advice from an expert on Tuesday.

A chill is in the air and many families are thinking of how best to stay comfy and cozy.

The Knights of Rockville Centre just got a new Wi-Fi thermostat that Stephanie Knight can now control on her smartphone.

"We upgraded and we got a condensing boiler. I've definitely noticed that the gas bills are lower," she said.

But natural gas prices are rising dramatically.

"Last year, it was about $730 in the Northeast to heat a home with natural gas. This year, it could be well over $1,000," said Mark Wolfe of the National Energy Assistance Association.

National Grid, PSEG Long Island and LIPA all say they will work to hedge costs to protect customers, but that it's too soon to predict how volatile natural gas prices will be this winter.

"What homeowners should do is they should have their boiler inspected by a licensed plumber. They should have it cleaned out," said Brendon Perini of C&L Plumbing in Lynbrook.

Perini said energy audit appointments are filling up and supply stores are jammed. He said adding insulation to homes built prior to 1960, even solely in the attic, can save an average of $200 a year.

"Insulation has gone a long way recently, where they are doing the spray foam insulation on certain homes," he said.

He said other tips include patching leaks to the outside, removing window air conditioners, shutting the fireplace damper, reversing ceiling fans, and changing furnace filters.

"This is a tankless hot water heater. It's gas. So one of the things that has been happening on Long Island, is to switch it from oil to gas. It's less expensive," Perini said.

He added since the remnants of Hurricane Ida hit the area, "People want to get their boilers up off floor, and now they have the combination boilers, where they are wall hung and they are more efficient."

But perhaps the easiest advice is centuries' old -- bundle up, pull back the curtains and let the sunshine in.

Experts say despite the rising cost of natural gas, home heating oil will be twice as expensive this winter in our area, so it's time to patch the leaks.

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