41 percent of U.S. households that primarily use electricity to heat their homes will be spending about 6 percent more this year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

The cost of propane and gas has been increasing and there is an expected increase in nearly all energy prices for the entire country this winter.

Tom Rafferty, the member services manager at Verendrye, says that while many Minot residents use gas to heat their homes, Verendrye specializes in electric heat.

“For electricity in the winter, not everybody heats their home with electric, but a lot of our members do especially out in the rural areas,” said Rafferty.

He says there are various ways to retain heat in your home without running up your electricity bill.

“Make sure your furnace filter is clean or have a new one if it’s all plugged up,” said Rafferty. “Just curtains, have the curtains closed at night. That helps keep the cold from the windows and if it’s a sunny day, open them and let the sunshine in. That’ll heat up your living room or your bedroom.”

Winter usually leads to the use of heating devices, and with that, problems may arise.

“Definitely with the cold weather and things running harder, longer cycles,” said Larry Landsiedel, the owner of Landsiedel’s Heating & AC.

Landsiedel says the best way to keep your furnace working is to check your filters monthly.

“If you’re running on a limit, then the furnace will cycle and it’ll run longer and actually doesn’t heat as well.,” said Landsiedel.

He also says furnaces should be looked at every so often.

“If your furnace is say five to six years old, it wouldn’t hurt to get it inspected, looked at,” said Landsiedel. “Just make sure everything is running right.”

Rafferty also has another tip to keep your home warm at a lower cost.

“Try to minimize going in and out of the house,” said Rafferty. “I know I got kids and pets so it’s kinda hard, but every time you’re opening a door when it’s extremely cold, you’re just letting a bunch of cold air in.”

Rafferty says buying energy-efficient appliances will also help keep your electric bill down.