A higher than expected energy bill is not the kind of surprise you enjoy getting in the mail. It’s not just you—natural gas prices are on the rise nationwide. Try these 10 changes to lower your bill.
1. Stay on top of maintenance. Perform regular maintenance on your furnace and water heater to avoid issues that could be driving your bill up. Leaks, dirty filters, and other needed repairs make your system less efficient and require more energy (read: dollar bills) to run smoothly.
2. Turn down the water heater. Lower the temperature on your water heater to the perfect Goldilocks setting—not too cold, not too hot. Many residential water heaters are set as high as 140 degrees, but most people don’t need water that hot, so why pay to keep it that way? Ideal bath water temperature is between 90-105 degrees.
3. Try alternate energy sources. Research other sources of energy in your area that may be more economical than natural gas, such as solar panels or electric heat pumps. Startup costs for new systems can be high, so crunch the numbers before you make the switch to see if the investment is worth the payoff.
4. Insulate your home. If your home isn’t properly insulated, you’re paying to heat air that’s not staying inside. Install fresh caulk or weather stripping on windows and doors where you can feel a draft and heat is escaping. Insulating your water heater helps, too. Even keeping windows covered with blinds or curtains traps heat inside on cold days.
5. Check your vents. Make sure all your vents are open, and rearrange bulky furniture or appliances blocking vents for maximum airflow. Proper airflow through vents reduces stress on your heating system, so less energy is required to operate it efficiently.
6. Turn down the thermostat. Lowering the thermostat by a few degrees can save you as much as 5-10% on your natural gas or electric bill. Start with small adjustments and see what works for you.
7. Wear warmer clothes. If you lower your thermostat and still feel chilly, layering clothes and blankets is an easy solution. With a cozy sweater or warm pants, you may not even notice a change—except in your wallet.
8. Buy a smart thermostat. A smart thermostat can make a serious impact on your monthly gas or electric bill. Smart thermostats automatically adjust heating and cooling temperature settings based on your preferences, turning temps down when you’re away and raising them for comfort when you return.
9. Keep your system closed. Keep windows and doors shut while your heating system is running to avoid wasting hot air. Use wood-burning fireplaces sparingly, too, because much of the heat leaves through the chimney and creates a vacuum that draws cold air in through cracks in your insulation.
10. Sign up for the budget plan. Some gas and electric companies offer a “budget” plan that equalizes customer payments based on typical use. So instead of $200 monthly payments half the year and $35 payments the rest of the time, for instance, you pay $120 every month and know what to expect.
Even small changes can add up quickly when it comes to lowering your monthly bill. Pick 1-2 habits to tweak starting out and see the savings snowball over time.
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