It could be costing more to heat Region 8 homes

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The yellow and red leaf colors of late autumn are reminders that cold evenings are just around the corner.

For many, the furnaces will be firing up once overnight lows reach the lower thirties.

Centerpoint Energy Spokesperson Alicia Dixon says natural gas prices have been rather stable throughout the year, but are starting to rise with increasing demand.

"Centerpoint energy customers should expect to pay, if they use the exact same amount of gas this winter as they did last winter, about five percent more than last winter."

Prices tend to drop during the summer season when heat is not needed, and then spike back up during winter.

But Dixon adds there are many ways to save money, and one is lowering the thermostat.

"The furnace is the largest natural gas-consuming appliance in the house. So just lowering that a few degrees, sixty-eight degrees when your home and even lower, sixty-five degrees if you're going to be away for a few hours."

And there are even more ways to cut your heating bill without breaking the bank.

"Changing that air filter monthly. A good reminder is to change it every time you get your natural gas bill. Because a clogged or dirty air filter is going to cause your air filter to work harder. And that's going to increase operating costs."

Dixon advises customers to open the shades or blinds during the day to let the sun naturally heat the house through the windows.

Copyright 2011 KAIT. All rights reserved.