TORONTO – With gas prices hitting new highs this weekend, Canadians are looking for low-cost ways to keep their home warm this fall and winter.

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Gas prices in Canada averaged $1.45 a liter this week, according to Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), with record prices already recorded in parts of Alberta, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador and the Greater Toronto Area.

Canadians are not only expected to feel the pain at the pump, as natural gas, the primary fuel for home heating, is also seeing significant growth.

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Just last week, British Columbia’s largest natural gas distributor FortisBC Energy Inc. increased its rates by about nine percent, while Enbridge Gas also said last week that residential customers would increase their rates by up to $44 per month. can hope. Location.

Dan McTeague, President Canadians for cheap energySaid that Canadians should budget an increase of $400 for the coming year.

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“The market price of natural gas this month will hit the highest level since February 2010,” he said in a recent phone interview. “We haven’t seen the full effect yet. The shoe didn’t drop”

“Natural gas prices are no laughing matter.”

However, there are some easy ways to help keep heating costs down this winter. Here are some tips to keep your home as warm as it cold nights without breaking the bank:

Inspect Your Furnace Filter

McTeague said a simple check on furnace filters can go a long way.

A cleaned or replaced furnace filter will help ensure that the hot air it produces ends up in your home. While each furnace is different, filters typically need to be replaced every six months, McTeague said.

“It seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised,” McTeague said.

“If you’re using your air conditioning in the summer and you’re running several days a week, you definitely need to replace the filter so that the furnace operates at a more optimal level.”

simple home improvement

While some drastic home renovations such as window replacements can go a long way toward reducing a home-heating bill, simple tricks such as plugging any holes that may be producing drafts can help as well. Can do.

NRCan said that simple changes such as turning the ceiling fan clockwise, opening your curtains in the morning and moving furniture to make sure baseboard heaters are not covered, can help.

NRCan also suggests Adding more insulation to the basement or attic, they say, “can make a big difference.”

thermostat monitoring

In its suggestions, NRCan also suggests keeping a watchful eye on the home thermostat, and recommends keeping it at 20 Cs during the day, but down to 17 C at night.

“To save energy and keep your home comfortable, it is optimal to lower your home temperature by two to three degrees Celsius,” the agency said.

If possible, negotiate with the energy company

McTeague said it would be worthwhile for Canadians to examine and see if they can hedge or lock in their energy prices for a longer period to protect themselves from a significant price jump this winter.

“You might want to look at the idea of ​​preparing yourself for what is inevitably going to be a more expensive season ahead,” he said.

“If you can hedge or lock in (rates) better for yourself. Today’s prices too, because I think the price is going to be much higher in winters. “

With files from the Canadian Press