The United States is usually grouped into regions, with the Midwest, Northeast and Pacific Northwest bearing the brunt of the winter season. When it comes to our friendly neighbors to the north, Canadian homeowners face even colder winters than most Americans. Heating needs and costs vary greatly depending on the region, but homeowners across the country are taking individual steps to prevent heat loss and ensure that their heating bills don't skyrocket this winter.
Midwestern and Great Lakes region homeowners often contend with cold winters. Even in the southern stretches of the Midwest, such as the state of Missouri, homeowners face January lows around 20 degrees Fahrenheit, according to World Atlas. As a result, residents in the Midwest can expect higher heating bills this winter: According to the Chicago Sun-Times, homeowners should expect to pay 12 to 18 percent more than last year.
Homeowners in the Northeast and New England regions are also expected to see their heating bills climb. Lower natural gas prices may offset this trend somewhat, but customers with oil-based systems should feel the heat – so to speak – of higher prices once the chilly weather arrives. The region is expected to face a colder climate this winter than last year, which was notorious for its mild temperatures.
"I have already gotten all the numbers for this winter and it isn’t going to be fun for a lot of people," Roger Litman of North Shore Fuel told Massachusetts news source the Winthrop Transcript. "We are expecting more snow than last year because we had none. Last year was 20 to 25 percent warmer than normal and that’s not going to happen again."
Although rising heat costs will probably affect many residents in the Pacific Northwest, they may find some relief. In contrast to the other northern regions of the U.S., this area may not experience a drastic temperature difference from last year. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted that the region will experience just a few degrees' difference from winter 2011-12, according to Our Amazing Planet. Meanwhile, the Farmer's Almanac predicted that temperatures would actually rise a few degrees.
Canadian homeowners, as well as some American homeowners, have been seeing some financial relief due to the influx of natural gas into the energy market. Natural gas is quickly becoming "a major heating source for Canadians," according to the Financial Press. Nonetheless, Canadian experts predict a slight rise in heating costs due to colder temperatures, rising demand and the controversial nature of natural gas extraction practices. Ontario-based energy analyst John Kiemele told the Financial Press that he predicts a 5 to 6 percent rise in heating costs from last year.