Dec 20, 2011 by Alagasco

Take control of your natural gas bill

As winter approaches, you’ll start using your heat, and your natural gas bill will increase.

There are three things that control the amount of your Natural Gas bill – usage, weatherization of your home, and weather. Although you can’t control the temperature outside, you can take control of your Natural Gas bill by making a few changes that will make a big difference.

1.       Usage

It’s quite simple – if you use more Natural Gas, your bill will increase. By keeping your thermostat turned down a few degrees during winter months, or off when you leave home for more than two hours, you can save as much as 10 percent on your gas bill. By installing a programmable thermostat, you can set it to automatically turn your unit off while you’re at work and turn back on before you get home. Depending on your family’s work or school schedule, you can see significant savings by sticking with those settings or adjusting them as appropriate. The key is to establish a program that automatically reduces heating and cooling in your home when you don’t need as much.

If you have a tank water heater, by insulating your water heater and lowering the temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or less you can reduce your bill 6 percent to 10 percent.

By converting to a tankless water heater and installing it near the point of use, you can save hundreds of gallons of water a year. And because tankless water heaters only heat water when you need it, it significantly reduces the stand-by energy loss from a traditional tank water heater. Tankless water heaters are 34 percent more energy efficient than the traditional tank unit. You will save water, energy and money. Check out our tankless water heater rebates.

How we use Energy in our home:

Space heating and water heating account for 43% of home energy usage.

 

2.       Weatherization

Weatherization of your home also plays a significant role in how much energy you use. In the winter months, a large portion of your Natural Gas bill comes from heating your home. Don’t let that warm air escape.

Simply caulking or weather-stripping your windows and doors can be a cost effective way to improve the energy efficiency of your home. Don’t forget the attic, basement, crawlspace and around electrical outlets.

Seal the leaks in your duct work. Sealing and insulating ducts can improve energy efficiency by 20 percent or more. Accessible ducts, such as those in attics, basements, crawlspaces and garages, can be sealed using a specialized sealant called duct mastic available at home improvement stores (duct tape is not recommended). If you need major duct repair, consult a local heating contractor.

Add more insulation to your home. In most homes, the easiest and most cost effective place to add insulation is in the attic. Inadequate insulation in your attic could be draining as much as 30 to 50 percent of your home’s heat.

Maintain your equipment. One of the simplest things you can do to ensure your heating equipment is operating efficiently is to regularly change your air filter. Check it every month, and replace it if it looks dirty. At a minimum, it should be changed every three months. A dirty filter wastes energy because it prevents air flow.

Another point to consider is the age of your appliances. If you have a Natural Gas furnace that’s more than 15 years old, it may be time to upgrade to a more efficient model. A new, high efficiency Natural Gas furnace could save you up to 20 percent in operating costs.

If your Natural Gas hot water heater is more than 10 years old, you may want to consider replacing it with a more efficient model. Water heating can account for 15 to 25 percent of a home’s energy use.

3.       Weather

While none of us can predict or control the weather, it’s important for us to remember how the weather outside impacts inside temperatures and your Natural Gas bill. The colder it is outside the more your furnace has to run to keep the temperature inside at your desired temperature.

Again, none of us can control how cold our winter will be, but we all do have some control on the amount of our Natural Gas bill.

We hope that you can apply some or all of these simple energy saving tips to start lowering your Natural Gas bill.

Alagasco

Alagasco, your natural gas partner, provides clean, energy efficient natural gas to approximately 437,000 homes, businesses and industries in central and north Alabama. To report a gas leak, a line break, or any other gas service emergency, please call 1-800-292-4008. For other inquiries about your account, service or billing, you can reach us via email or phone.

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