Sep
21

The Gas South Winter Survival Guide

It may be hot now, but those cold winter months are right around the corner. If you’re worried about staying warm and keeping money in your pocket, we’re here to help!

We’ve put together a few tips and tricks to help throughout the cold winter months. You may be surprised by how a few simple changes can add up to big savings on your natural gas bill and keep you nice and toasty!

So, before the big chill comes, apply some of our Winter Survival Guide tips and show winter you mean business.

Bring the heat
This one is a given, but we’ll say it anyway: the best way to show winter who’s boss is to turn on the heat with a killer natural gas service provider. May we recommend Gas South’s fixed and variable rate plans? We hear they’ve got it going on.

Rate Plans: VARIABLE OR FIXED — Which One is Best for You?

What’s the difference?
Variable rate plans fluctuate every month according to market conditions. That means what you pay per therm this month could be more, less, or the same as the previous month. Fixed rates, on the other hand, are locked and remain unchanged throughout the term of your contract — usually 6, 12, 18 or 24 months.

Why go variable?

  • You plan to stay less than six months in your current residence.
  • You prefer not to commit to a contract.

Why go fixed?

  • You can save money. Fixed rates are generally lower than Variable rates.
  • A consistent rate helps you better manage your household budget.

Install a Programmable Thermostat
If you don’t have one yet, get one ASAP. They allow you to program temperature settings by time and day, meaning you can set the temperature lower during the hours you’re out at work or on vacation, and have it automatically raise before you return, so you’re walking into a nice and warm home. These beauties can save up to 15% on energy costs — a big return for a small investment.

Set Your Thermostat to 68º
Keeping comfortable and saving energy is important — and setting your thermostat to 68 degrees achieves both in cold weather. For every degree you lower your thermostat below 70, you’ll save an easy 5% on your heating costs. So, just a 2-degree decrease, from 70 to 68 degrees, rounds up to a nice 10% cut in your energy expenses.

With that said, DON’T turn the heat off while you’re away. It takes more energy to bring your home back to a comfortable temperature, and your pipes could burst if the temperature drops below freezing. Instead, simply lower your thermostat down a few degrees to save.

Increase Ceiling Insulation
Looking for a quick 5-25% reduction in heating loss? You can find it right above your head. If your ceiling isn’t properly insulated, it’s letting warm air out and costing you serious change as your thermostat works constantly to keep the temperature up. For best results, consider increasing your insulation to R-38.

Flip Your Fan Switch
If your ceiling fan has a reverse switch, you’ll want to flip that when you turn your heat on, making your fan’s blades spin clockwise. This causes the fan to produce an updraft, forcing the hot air that rises to your ceiling down and into the rest of the room.

Seal Ducts and Plug Door and Window Leaks
Another often overlooked energy-waster is leaking ductwork, which can account for more than 25-30% of heating costs in some homes! Check the tightness of ducts and be sure to plug any visible open spots with insulation material. While you’re at it, check your doors and windows — they could be responsible for wasting 10% of your energy costs. It’s worth fixing this by installing weather-stripping or caulk around leaky doors and windows.

There you have it – a winter survival guide that leaves you warm and stress-free financially. If you need help getting your natural gas up and running this winter, drop us a line!

Feb
11

Two-Step Winter Survival Guide

Nobody likes spending more on bills when seasons change. So let’s do something about it this winter – take the Winter Survival Guide challenge. Following the two steps could help you save hundreds of dollars over time, if not more.GS_Daylight_Saving_Time_3-01-1024x1024Step One: Are you on a Variable or Fixed Rate for natural gas?

Check your Gas South bill to see which rate plan you’re on – Variable or Fixed. Now, let’s determine which rate is best for you.

What’s the Difference?

  • Variable Rates do as the name implies – fluctuate every month. What you pay this month could be more than the previous month, because Variable Rate prices are set by demand in the natural gas market.
  • Fixed Rates remain unchanged throughout the term of your contract with Gas South – 6, 12 or 18 months.

Why Choose Fixed?

  • Using 2014 rate prices, Fixed Rate customers saved 38% on natural gas compared to those on a Variable Rate – an average of more than $300 annually!
  • A consistent rate helps you to better manage your household budget.

Why Choose Variable?

  • A Variable Rate should be considered if you are only planning to stay at your current residence for less than six months.
  • If you don’t like contracts, you would also want to choose a Variable Rate.

Money-Saving Tip: Already on a Fixed Rate plan? Make sure you check when your plan expires. If you don’t renew your Fixed Rate plan in time, you’ll be automatically placed on a Variable Rate which will likely lead to a spike in your gas bill.

Step Two: Energy-Saving Tips to do at Home

The less energy you use, the less you spend on bills – it’s that simple. So if you’ve taken step one, let’s keep moving in the right direction by applying the simple tips that are listed below, which can also have a major impact on your bill.

  • Set Your Thermostat to 68 Degrees! For every degree lowered in the 60-to-70-degree heating range, you’ll save 5% on your heating costs. So, just a 2 degree decrease, from 70 to 68 degrees, rounds up to a 10% cut in your energy expenses.
  • Seal Ducts! An often overlooked energy-waster is leaking ductwork, which can account for 25 to 30% of heating costs in some homes! If you’re comfortable doing a little DIY, check the tightness of ducts and be sure to plug any visible open spots with insulation material. You can also consider hiring a contractor to do it for you.
  • Increase Ceiling Insulation! Want a quick 5 to 25% reduction in heating loss? Look above you – if your ceiling is uninsulated or scantily done so, it’s costing you money. For best results, consider increasing your insulation to up to R-38.
  • Plug Door and Outlet Leaks! Check your doors and windows – they could be responsible for up to 10% of your energy costs being wasted. You can fix this by installing weather-stripping or caulk around leaky doors and windows.

For more energy-saving tips, check out Gas South’s guide: www.gas-south.com/PageContents/PDF/EnergySavingTips.pdf

Now that we’ve equipped you with the tools you need to save energy and money, you can rest easy during the coldest months of the year! Good luck and happy saving!