Best Ways to Save on Natural Gas
Looking to save energy and reduce your natural gas bills but don't know where to start? The U.S. Department of Energy has identified weatherstripping and caulking, followed by insulation improvements, as the most effective ways to save energy in a home.
By some estimates, closing air leaks through gaps and cracks can save 30 to 40 percent on home heating costs. Poor insulation makes walls cold and forces the furnace to work harder and use more energy. For the biggest savings, add insulation in the attic. In fact, if a home is properly sealed and insulated, other measures, such as installing a high efficiency furnace may not be the best investment.
Some additional key measures to conserve natural gas include:
- Maintain the heating system. Have your furnace inspected regularly by a qualified professional and change filters once per month.
- Install a programmable thermostat. These help to save energy by automatically turning down the heat in your home while you're away. They can save up to $100 per year in heating costs.
- Turn down the water heater. Set your water heater no higher than 120°F. This is warm enough to meet your household needs and every 10°F reduction can save up to 5 percent in water heating costs.
- Conserve hot water. Low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators can reduce hot water consumption. Take shorter showers and wash only full loads in dishwashers and clothes washers.
- Cook up energy savings. Simple things in the kitchen can save on natural gas bills. Use a smaller pan if possible and put a lid on it so the food cooks faster. Use the microwave to heat food whenever possible.
When replacing natural gas appliances and equipment, purchase models that are ENERGY STAR® certified for high energy performance.