At the start of the winter season as the temperature starts to drop, many people start to worry about a rising heating bill. Our customers often come to us at this time of year looking for advice on how to keep natural gas costs down. We are prepared every year to provide our customers with tips to do just that. Here are a handful of ways you can potentially cut your natural gas usage during the winter months.
1.) Invest in a programmable or smart thermostat. The majority of programmable thermostats allow you to set multiple time frames and temperatures to fit your lifestyle. We highly recommend smart thermostats, such as The Nest, as they can save you 10 to 12 percent in heating costs. See our top reasons to get a smart thermostat here. Programming your thermostat enables you to lower the temperature when are at work or asleep to conserve energy, and raise the temperature before you return home to maximize comfort.
2.) Avoid large swings in temperature. Avoid raising or lowering the temperature settings more than 5-8 degrees in a daily period to control your natural gas costs. The only exception should be when you are not at home for an extended period of time and you can set it at a lower temperature than normal. Large swings in temperature can cause your unit to work harder to heat your home, resulting in spikes in your heating bill.
3.) Change the filter in your furnace or air handler regularly. A dirty air filter causes your system to work harder to push the air throughout your home, causing increased energy usage. Most HVAC companies recommend inspecting, cleaning, or replacing the filter every month during the summer and winter seasons to ensure the system is running properly and to keep heating costs low.
4.) Keep windows and doors shut. Another easy way to cut heating costs is to make sure that all windows and doors remain closed. If you feel a draft near a door or window even when it is closed, check for leaks and seal them with weather stripping or caulk. Allowing the sun to come through sealed windows can help warm your home naturally, but once it is dark out, close blinds or drapes to further insulate your windows.
5.) Wear warm clothes. This is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to lower your gas bills during the winter. Most energy efficiency websites recommend a maximum heating temperature setting of less than 70 degrees. For those of you who feel cold at temperatures below 70 degrees, a light jacket, sweat shirt, long sleeve shirt, or sweater can help keep you warm without having to raise your thermostat temperature and therefore your natural gas usage.
Bonus Tip – Don’t Forget Water and Electric
Electrical outlets in exterior walls are an extremely common cause of heat loss in your home, as are the gaps around water pipes where they pass through walls. Make sure you inspect these areas of your home and seal up any cracks to further reduce heating costs.
Though heating bills are ultimately dependent on how cold the winter is, these tips should allow you to reduce your natural gas usage and cut your heating costs. What are some ways you try to save during the colder months?