NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — As Americans adjust the thermostat this winter, the degrees won’t be the only number ticking upward as monthly energy bill payments are also expected to increase.

The National Energy Assistance Directors Association (NEADA) predicts the average family will have to spend around 18% more for heating this year. NEADA Executive Director Mark Wolfe says that’s causing concern.

“So, the average family will be spending about $200 more this winter than they spent last year, and last year was also expensive,” Wolfe said.

Experts say factors like the war in Ukraine are driving prices up.

In addition, Wolfe advises families to make home repairs to keep heat in and to look for ways to use less.

  1. Get your furnace tuned up and replace the filters
  2. Turn the thermostat down 
  3. Apply caulk to any gaps around the house where heat could get out

“The more you can reduce the amount you use, the lower your bill will be,” Wolfe said.

Last week, the Biden administration announced that it is adding $4.5 billion to an energy assistance program for low-income families, that’s run by NEADA.

To apply for assistance, call 1-866-674-6327 or go to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program website for more information.