Meteorologists predict a return to normal weather patterns this winter

Last year, homeowners had it relatively easy when it came to heating their houses for the winter. Parts of the country that are generally accustomed to icy streets and gigantic snow mounds throughout the season saw none the entire winter. The national weather service declared 2012 the warmest so far on record.

This year, meteorologists don't anticipate the mild weather will continue, as temperatures are already trending colder than they had the previous winter. Not only are consumers going to be pumping up the heat, but analysts are predicting that the cost for home heating oil will rise this season as the temperatures drop.

According a report released today by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, a government organization that monitors the industry, homeowners on average are expected to be spending roughly $400 more this year to heat their homes than they had last winter.

A survey conducted in Massachusetts by the state government found that the average price of home heating oil is up 26 cents compared to the same period 12 months ago, and the cost will likely trend upwards as the season progresses.

To prepare for the colder weather, experts recommend that homeowners seek energy efficient upgrades to their properties to combat exceedingly high utility costs. These improvements include replacing older windows and damaged insulation to prevent drafts in the home.

By contacting a home inspection contractor to conduct an energy audit, homeowners will have help identifying their properties weak spots and know where they can make the most meaningful improvements to their residence before the cold weather hits.