10 Easy Ways to Use Less Natural Gas

Does your natural gas bill seem to increase year after year? If so, you're not alone. The truth is that the natural gas prices offered by large utility companies are increasing throughout the country. Luckily, there are a number of simple yet effective ways to permanently lower your monthly natural gas bill. Continue reading to learn 10 easy ways to use less natural gas and save money!

1. Switch to a Low-Cost Natural Gas Supplier
All homeowners should try to do two things when it comes to natural gas: use less of it and pay less for it. A great way to save money on natural gas is to switch to an independent natural gas supplier offering lower natural gas rates. If you live in a state with a deregulated utility industry, you can now bypass the overpriced rates of your local utility company and choose a more affordable and flexible independent natural gas supplier. Simply compare natural gas rates in your town and then request a transfer in service to the best natural gas supplier serving your area. Transferring service is fast, simple, and free, and locking in the best natural gas rates in your state could save you hundreds of dollars a year!

2. Lower the Thermostat
During chilly winter months, it's tempting to set your thermostat to a cozy 78 degrees; however, doing so would most likely produce a sky-high heating bill. One of the best ways to use less natural gas is to set your thermostat as low as you feel comfortable. In fact, every degree you lower your thermostat will save up to 3% on natural gas costs. So lowering your thermostat from 78 degrees to 70 degrees could reduce your heating expenses by nearly 25% per month!

3. Install a Programmable Thermostat
Another easy way to use less natural gas is to install a programmable thermostat. This device is handy because it automatically adjusts to a pre-set temperature during certain times of the day: it will turn the heat on during the hours you're typically at home, and turn the heat off (or to a much lower temperature) when you're at work or asleep and prefer for the heat not to run.

4. Adjust the Temperature of your Gas Hot Water Heater
Homeowners can also use less natural gas by turning down the temperature on their gas hot water heater. Although many hot water heaters have a default temperature of 140 degrees, experts recommend lowering it to 120 to 125 degrees to save money and reduce the risk of scalding. This is particularly true for homeowners with a tank water heater: keeping an 80 gallon tank heated to 140 degrees at all times can seriously increase your natural gas bill.

5. Seal Air Leaks
If your natural gas bill is sky high, month after month, there's a good chance your home has fallen victim to air leaks. If you notice cracks along your windows or doors, or even along the perimeter of your basement or crawlspace, you can use less natural gas and save a lot of money by sealing them. Oftentimes this is a "Do It Yourself" job that simply requires caulking and weather-stripping, as well as closing fireplace dampers and curtains or drapes. Preventing your costly heated interior air from escaping outside will not only lower your winter heating bills, it'll also reduce bone-chilling drafts during the winter.

6. Increase your Insulation R-Value
One of the best ways to use less natural gas and save money on heating bills is to ensure that your home is sufficiently insulated. Hire an insulation specialist to inspect and determine your home's insulation R-value. The higher the R-value, or resistance to heat flow, the more protected and warm your home will be. Don't forget to also wrap an insulation blanket around your tank hot water heater to keep it running efficiently.

7. Invest in an Energy-Efficient Furnace
If your furnace is more than 15 or 20 years old, it's probably time for a replacement. Energy-efficient furnaces run cleaner, quieter, and more efficient than older furnaces. By purchasing an energy-efficient furnace, you may even qualify for a nice tax break!

8. Clean Ducts, Vents, and Air Filters
It's no secret that a home heating system must work much harder when the air ducts, vents, and filters are dirty or blocked. Dust, debris, and blockages of any kind restrict air flow and also contribute to poor air quality in the home. To use less natural gas, save money, and breathe a little easier, have a professional thoroughly clean your home's air ducts and vents. Also be sure to replace air filters at least once every two months.

9. Reduce Natural Gas Usage While Cooking
Although a typical home's natural gas usage is primarily devoted to heating, many homeowners also use natural gas for cooking. There are several ways to use less natural gas in the kitchen: 1) maximize efficiency by using the correct pot size on a gas burner; 2) cover pots and pans with a lid while cooking; 3) keep gas burners clean; and 4) use your microwave in lieu of your gas stove or oven when possible.

10. Install a Low-Flow Shower Head
Low-flow shower heads can save homeowners money in two important ways. They will reduce water usage (resulting in a lower water bill), and they will help you use less natural gas (if you have a gas hot water heater). Low-flow shower heads are inexpensive and a great way to increase savings and use less natural gas each month.

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