The efficiency, reliability, and comfort of natural gas make this fuel one of the most popular energy sources in the United States. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that 49% of American households rely on natural gas as their main heating source. And in cold or very cold regions of the country, that percentage is even higher — more than 60% of households in these areas use natural gas as their primary heating source.
Many Americans have higher natural gas bills than they would like, both in the winter and year round. So if you’d like to save money on your gas bill, and you’re wondering how to reduce natural gas consumption at home, you’re not alone. In this guide, we discuss some reasons your natural gas bill is too high and some ways to save money on your natural gas bill.
If your natural gas bill seems higher than it should be, several different factors could be sending it skyward.
If you’re running an old, inefficient boiler or heating system, it may be wasting much of the energy it produces. It may never have had top-notch efficiency to begin with, or it may have lost some capability with time and wear.
If your home has inadequate insulation, the hot air your natural gas heating system supplies will escape through cracks, doors, windows, and even the attic and garage. Addressing your home’s insulation can help bring your bill down.
The arrangement of the furniture and appliances in your home may block vents and restrict airflow. In this case, your natural gas heating system is likely working overtime because it’s much more difficult to heat your home to a comfortable temperature.
In the winter, as the temperatures dip, your gas bill is likely to rise as you use more fuel for heating. You can’t do much about the change in seasons, but weatherproofing your home can help keep your bill reasonable.
Household habits may contribute to your high gas bill — even habits you wouldn’t think could make much of a difference. Maybe you leave doors and windows open and let cool air into your home. Maybe you wear T-shirts around the house even when the weather is getting chilly, so you turn the thermostat up a little higher. Or maybe you wear lots of layers and fill your hamper faster than you would in milder seasons, so you do more laundry and use more gas. Even using your fireplace regularly can strain your heating system because the fireplace is inefficient and the heating system struggles to compensate.
If you’re seeing surprising gas bills, one possibility to consider is that your water heater might be set too high. Water heaters come with a range of settings, and the higher ones tend to consume excessive energy and drive up the bill.
Your high heating bill may have less to do with your home and heating system and more to do with your energy company’s pricing. Some energy supply companies may be charging higher prices through the use of variable rates. Make sure doesn’t happen to you by requesting “Worry-Free Renewal” from Shipley Energy.
It’s also possible that prices are up because demands on the local supply of natural gas mean there is not enough to go around. This issue may be due to inadequate pipeline infrastructure or increased demand for natural gas in your area. Either way, it is likely to drive up prices by increasing competition for the needed gas.
Fortunately, when you’re thinking about how to save on your natural gas bill, you can try several different options. Below are some of our best tips for how to lower your gas bill in the winter and all year long:
When you’re considering how to save natural gas at home, maintenance of your existing systems should be at the top of your list. An aging natural gas furnace or water heater is likely to become less energy-efficient as time passes. But you can help keep it running efficiently by getting furnace inspections and regular maintenance. Replacing leaky or worn-out parts as needed helps keep your system from losing energy and running up your gas bill.
Invest in the proper insulation for your home to keep heat trapped inside and reduce your energy bills. Sealing your windows and doors with caulk or weatherstripping is an excellent first step. Even keeping your windows covered with curtains or blinds when it’s cold outside can help keep the warm air securely in your home and reduce your energy consumption. Consider insulating your water heater as well as your windows and doors — and you can buy an attic tent to keep hot air from escaping through your attic.
The warm air your natural gas heating system produces should be able to flow freely throughout your home. Make sure all necessary vents are open, and assess the layout of your home to ensure no bulky furniture or appliances are blocking the vents. If air cannot flow freely, the heating system will expend precious energy trying to warm a home that stubbornly refuses to warm up. But proper airflow reduces stress on your heating system and helps lower energy expenditures.
Especially in the winter, when gas bills soar, lowering the thermostat by even a couple degrees can make a difference in your bill, helping you save as much as 5 to 10%. If lowering the heat would make your home uncomfortable in the evenings, try reducing the temperature only at night, or during the day if family members are at work. If you’re having trouble getting your gas payments to a manageable level, take a look at your thermostat settings and see what adjustments you can make.
Along the same lines, consider investing in a smart thermostat for your home. You can program a smart thermostat to adjust the heat to your particular schedule, so you won’t be heating your house even when no one’s home or everyone’s snuggled in bed. This way, you’ll never forget to turn down the heat at night, and you’ll probably see significant savings on your gas bill.
Some homes’ water heaters are set as high as 140 degrees, but most people don’t need their water that hot. To help save money on your gas bill, check your water heater and see if you can turn the temperature down while still allowing for comfortable showers and warm water for dishes.
Along the same lines, be sure to keep doors and windows closed when your natural gas heating system is running. Opening windows and doors can be great for cooling off a hot house on summer evenings, but in the colder seasons, it will let valuable heat escape. Shut your windows and doors to ensure you make the best use of your gas heat and keep your energy bills low.
Especially in the winter, wearing extra layers helps keep your thermostat settings low and your gas bills reasonable. If you’re wearing a sweater or some cozy flannel pants, you may not even notice that you’ve turned the thermostat down a few degrees. And using extra blankets or down comforters can help keep you warm at night when your thermostat is in its energy-saving mode.
A warm, crackling, roaring fire in your hearth is a soothing experience in the winter — but much of the heat it generates goes straight up the chimney. And as that warm air escapes, the vacuum it leaves behind draws cold air in through any cracks or weak places in your insulation. A traditional wood-burning fireplace can cause your home to lose as much as 24,000 cubic feet of air in less than an hour. This effect can cause your heating system to work harder and cost you more money. Use your fireplace as a special treat, but let your more efficient natural gas system do most of the work of heating your home.
If you discover that other energy sources in your area are more economical than natural gas, you might decide to switch. For instance, you might install electric heat pumps that help you save money by using more electricity and less natural gas. Or you may find that you can install efficient, affordable solar panels that help you save as well.
When you’re thinking about how you could save money on your natural gas bill, one of the best ways is to lock in your rates. Natural gas prices tend to fluctuate over time in response to supply and demand. But locking in your prices could help you avoid drastic swings in energy costs. Consider locking in rates when they are lowest during the shoulder months of the year like April and September.
One way you could save money on your natural gas bill may be to change suppliers. If the prices from your current supplier seem inflated, that may be because gas prices in your area are high overall. But it’s always worth shopping around. You may find you can save substantial amounts on your utility bill by changing suppliers.
When you’re looking into switching to a different natural gas company, make Shipley Energy your trusted supplier. We go above and beyond for our customers in several essential ways:
Shipley Energy has been serving communities in Pennsylvania and Maryland for more than 85 years. So we have a wealth of experience to draw on in finding energy solutions for your home. When you partner with us, you’ll benefit from expert advice and practiced, quality workmanship for the natural gas systems in your home.
When you work with Shipley Energy, you have a range of home energy solutions to choose from. We can provide oil, propane, natural gas, and electric energy. So if you need a natural gas water heater but are also interested in heating oil, an electric heat pump, or a propane supply on the side, we can be your one-stop shop for all your residential fuel needs.
We understand that people want to be seen and treated as individuals, not merely as the next invoice on the list. We pride ourselves on our friendly, professional customer service and are always here to assist you when you have questions about your residential heating system. We promise to listen to you and work with you toward the solution that fits your needs, home, and budget.
We also offer the Shipley Energy Rewards program to thank our customers for their loyalty. Through the rewards program, you can earn 3% back with each Shipley Energy fuel product you use — whether that’s an oil heating system, a natural gas dryer, an electric heat pump, propane for cooking, or almost anything in between. If you have multiple Shipley Energy products, you get multiple sets of points. And you can redeem them for Shipley Energy products and services and fun prizes like gift cards in our online store.
Shipley Energy also offers flexible payment plans that help you get the home energy you need while staying comfortably within your budget. We can also provide tips on how to increase your systems’ energy efficiency so they save you money in the long run. And when you work with us, you can watch the market and then lock in rates when they are low. So even if market rates go up, you’ll continue paying the same low prices for your fuel.
When you’re choosing a natural gas supplier — or a supplier of any other fuel for your home — you want to be sure the fuel is safe and reliable. You want to know that if issues arise, someone will be able to help you right away. When you work with Shipley Energy, you’ll know you’re providing a comfortable, safe home for your family with our dependable energy systems and dedicated customer service.
To see all these benefits for yourself, and to save money on your next natural gas bill by switching to a reliable, affordable energy supplier, contact Shipley Energy. We have the energy solutions you need to keep your house running efficiently and save on your utility bills.