In recent weeks, the issue of home heating has come to national attention, as despite the looming fiscal deficit, many lawmakers are advocating for more heating assistance for cash-strapped homeowners. However, one part of the issue that hasn't received much coverage is the fact that home heating costs can differ widely, even on a small scale.
For instance, on February 15, Reuters detailed the plight of citizens in Tiverton, a coastal Rhode Island town where some residents are having an easier time with their heating costs than others.
Half of the town, which is about 30 minutes southeast of Providence, is enjoying lower heating costs, because their residences are heated by natural gas. By comparison, the cost of home heating on the south side of town is almost twice as much, simply because they are located beyond the gas pipeline, and have to pay for heating oil to keep their homes warm.
"There are a few [homes] left near the gas grid that are on oil, but only a few," Paul Dupont, a supervisor at a propane company that delivers to residents in Tiverton, told the news source. "There have been a lot of conversions – natural gas is beating heating oil by a long shot."
However, replacing an old heating oil tank with a natural gas burner can be expensive – up to $10,000 in some cases. As a result, homeowners who still rely on oil heat may want to do their best to invest in low-cost solutions that can help them mitigate their bills.
For example, by purchasing an electric heater for less than $100, residents could more effectively heat the areas of the house they frequent, thereby reducing their oil use.