How to Use Less Natural Gas and Save on Your Bill This Winter
When the cold wind starts to blow and winter draws near, you know it’s time to think about your gas bill. Heating your home in the winter can come at a steep price, especially if you haven’t taken steps to prepare your house for the cold. Answering a few simple questions about your home can help you make it more efficient for heating and may even save you some money on your natural gas bill.
Are your doors and windows sealed and weatherized?
According to the National Insulation Association in the UK, 20% of heat loss in homes escapes through doors and windows. Check your home’s windows and doors for small gaps where drafts can sneak in and warm air can leak out.
Install weather stripping to patch up places where you might experience heat loss. This lets your furnace do less work to keep your home warm while lowering the amount of natural gas your home requires.
Even with weather stripping around your window’s sill and edges, warm air has the potential to escape through the windowpanes. Put up curtains to add an extra layer of insulation and minimize heat loss.
How well is my home insulated?
Many times, older homes have less or lower quality insulation than newer homes (and sometimes none at all). Adding insulation to your home can significantly minimize heat loss and help make it more natural gas efficient to heat and cool.
Attics and basements are spots of increased heat loss for most homes, so checking and increasing the insulation in those locations is a good place to start your efforts in making your home natural gas efficient.
How old is my furnace? When was its last tune-up?
If the answer to the first question is above the 15-year mark, it may be time to consider an upgrade. Many of the new ENERGY STAR®-rated models are around 15% more efficient than older standard models.
If your furnace doesn’t need to be replaced, make sure you’re doing regular tune-ups and replacing the filter monthly. Keeping your furnace in top shape will not only optimize its efficiency but also ensure your furnace can hold up over many years of use.
To what temperature is my thermostat set?
While this may seem like an obvious question, strategically setting and programming your thermostat can help lower the amount of natural gas being used to heat your home during hours of inactivity. Keeping the temperature below 70 degrees and letting the temperature drop by several degrees when you’re out of the house or overnight will reduce natural gas consumption without compromising your comfort.
Make Your Home Natural Gas Efficient
Getting your home ready for the cold of winter begins with an assessment. After going through this checklist and improving your home’s efficiency, you can also explore the IGS’s options for fixed and variable natural gas plans to see what is right for your family and home.