EAST LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – Americans are bracing for a huge increase in home heating bills.

According to the National Energy Assistance Directors Association, there will be 17.2% jump in average home heating costs this winter compared to last year. A 42% jump is projected in the cost of household electricity compared to the winter just before the pandemic.

That’s why some people are switching to solar energy. 22News spoke to one local resident about her plans for the colder months ahead.

“Well I have solar panels on the roof of the house so I have that and I’m gonna change the filter in the furnace and I’ve got to put weather stripping on one of the doors,” said Lorraine Stevko of Hampden.

Dave Dionne, Assistant Manager at Rocky’s Ace Hardware in East Longmeadow, told 22News that making sure your house is properly insulated will reduce energy prices.

“A lot of people put plastic sheeting over windows, it’s basically a shrink film that will help keep drafts out,” Dionne explained. He added, “A lot of people also put weather striping which is basically a foaming or rubber around the windows just helps keep any drafts from coming into the house, keep heat from getting out.”

Dionne noted proper lighting can also bring bills down. “If you’re trying to save money on an energy bill the easiest thing too is just making sure you’re using LED lightbulbs as opposed to old fashioned candescents which actually are going away, Massachusetts has outlawed most of those.”

There are also energy assistance options available to help reduce costs. For more information, click here.