Unless you are a polar bear, a cold house is no fun and when the temperature goes down, the thermostat goes up, keeping the home feeling comfortably warm.
However, rising costs are set to plunge even more consumers into what has been dubbed as ‘energy poverty’ this coming winter as they simply do not have the cash to pay for a warm house.
Some measures which those in dire financial difficulties turned to last winter included only heating one room in the house, as well as buying less food so they could spend the money saved on their energy bills.
Others have run up huge bills and have turned to credit to pay off the balance, using resources such as an online loan calculator to find finance they can afford.
However, none of these are good strategies for dealing with rising energy costs in the longer term. The good news is there are some alternative measures which can be taken to help tackle too-high bills.
First of all, finding out what appliances are gobbling up energy is an essential starting point.
There are devices on the market that can be bought for around $25, which monitor how much energy each appliance uses. Even better, in some states, these devices can be rented for free from local libraries.
Once the device has revealed which appliances are the main culprits for rising bills, it is far easier to come up with a plan to reduce costs.
One easy way to immediately lower the electricity bill is by unplugging items when not in use. The US Department of Energy estimates that around 75% of the electrical energy used by homes is from devices which are turned off, but not unplugged.
As an example, a video left plugged in when not in use will add around $30 each year to the electricity bill. Whilst this may not sound like very much, totting up all the wasted energy simply from electrical items left plugged in can end up with a very significant potential saving.
However, it is not just the increasing bills and the rising costs of energy that causes those in energy poverty real concern. The possibility of the boiler or other essential heating device breaking down often creates real worry when there are no funds available to fix it.
Many households instinctively turn to finance to try and scrape together the funds to pay for the repair or replacement and use a loan calculator to locate a suitable deal.
In some cases of financial hardship, there are alternatives that are far more preferable than getting deeper into unmanageable levels of debt, which is often the case even with the assistance of a loan calculator.
The majority of states operate a number of charitable programs that provide financial and practical assistance to the elderly, infirm and vulnerable, including those who are experiencing serious financial difficulty.
These initiatives are funded by a variety of means, some from businesses in the local community, some via fund-raising and some from the energy companies themselves.
Many of these programs are not widely known, but should come as welcome knowledge to those who fear the colder conditions. There is no need to live like a polar bear, no matter what the temperature outside is.