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How you can save on your heating bill in the long-term

Tax credits and more efficient devices are making it easier to save on heating bills in the long-term.

MILAN, Ill. — Nationally, natural gas prices are trending down and could stay low through 2024, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Generally speaking, this could lead to lower average heating bill costs this season, when combined with the amount of unseasonably warm days in this winter season.

"Natural gas is the primary source of heating here in the Midwest," Geoff Greenwood, spokesperson for MidAmerican Energy said. "It's different elsewhere, it's different in the Northeast, where it's maybe home heating oil, different in the South, where it tends to be electricity but here in the Midwest, natural gas is king."

However with bitterly cold weather here on Tuesday, Jan. 31, local heating experts give their advice on how to save money.

For those that can make the investment, Josh O'Dell, owner of O'Dell's Heating and Air suggested installing a heat pump.

A heat pump replaces your air conditioning unit, still cooling your house in the summer but also heating your home in the winter.

"Your heat pump actually is an air conditioner that runs in reverse," O'Dell explained. "If you ever go outside in the summer, and you put your hand over the top of an air conditioner, you'll notice that that air is warm. The heat pump reverses the flow of refrigerant, sending that warm refrigerant inside to the coil that sits above your furnace. It uses that warm refrigerant, from the pressure of the compressor to heat the house."

O'Dell said that heat pumps are not only more efficient and well-built than before, but they can operate at lower temperatures as well.

A federal tax credit for heat pumps is also available, which could credit up to $2,000 on a new heat pump installation.

O'Dell also suggested a look at home insulation, especially for older homes, and to look for areas where outside air could get through.

"There may be lots of gaps around your outlets and windows that can be easily sealed up, you could have drafty doors, and there's a lot of potential for insulation in your basement as well," O'Dell said. "Keep that air that's in the basement from from being wafted up and out of the attic."

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