Save on Gas Bills

Natural Gas or Propane or Heating Oil

If you are like me, I am sure you would like to save on gas bills. My home is heated with a propane furnace, which is currently 3 times the price of natural gas. So, what are the best ways to reduce your energy usage and save on gas bills? Personally, I have or plan to implement many of these suggestions so I don't see the dreaded $1000 heating bill this winter.

Other pages you may be interested in

Understanding your Gas Bill - how to read your gas bill and I explain the charges on your bills.
Where does gas come from? - COMING SOON

There are 3 main gas uses in a typical home. We will look at ways to reduce all three to save on gas bills:

  • Heating
  • Hot Water Heater
  • Gas Appliances

Save on gas bills by reducing heating energy

Depending on where your home is located, heating your home is likely the largest energy cost for you (if it is not heating, it is likely cooling). So, it makes sense to try to reduce your energy use here.

The chart below shows the top ideas for saving energy on home heating bills.

  1. Upgrade your Furnace. If you have an old furnace it will likely be approximately 65-75% efficient. This means that for every dollar you spend on natural gas for heating you will lose $0.25-$0.35 out the vent stack. New high efficiency furnaces can be as much as 95% efficient. For those of you spending $1000 on heating, a new furnace could save you $250-$350 per month during the heating season.

    Of course buying a new furnace is not cheap. You will have to weigh the price of a new furnace into your payback calculations and determine if the savings are enough to make this purchase. Personally, I would look at some of the inexpensive ways to save on gas bills before looking to replace a furnace.

  2. Clean or Replace your Furnace Filters. You should clean or replace your filters every 2 months or so for two reasons. First, the filter is there to keep your air clean so you want to have this work as effectively as possible. Second, a dirty filter lets less air through and makes your furnace work harder and longer. The longer your furnace runs, the more energy you will use.
  3. Stop Air Leakage. For all you folks out there with old homes, this one is likely an issue for you. If you have air leakage around windows, doors, and other openings to the outdoors you are essentially blowing hot air outside. One way to solve this is install or fix weather stripping around your windows and / or doors. You might also consider putting plastic over your old windows during the winter. This leads me to the next tip...
  4. Close Window Drapes, put Plastic on Windows. Even if your windows are air tight, they are still poor insulators compared the wall beside them. For every extra layer added (glass, plastic, drapes), the heat loss from your home will be less. For example, if your windows are single pane, they are not going to keep the heat in your home effectively. Two pane is better. Closing your drapes or putting plastic on the windows will also help you keep more heat in your home. You know it is working when you open the drapes on a cold morning and you feel the cool air behind the drapes.
  5. Lower your Home Temperature. Lowering your home temperature by 3 deg.C (5 deg.F) can save you as much as 20% on your yearly heating bill. Of course, you are not going to walk around your house with gloves and hats on. Set your thermostat to a reasonable temperature and maintain your comfort level but don't go over board and keep your home toasty warm. One other idea here is to block off areas of your home that you don't use periodically. Our bedrooms are upstairs - we only heat upstairs at night and only the downstairs during the day.
  6. Install a programmable Thermostat. A programmable thermostat will allow you to lower your home temperature during times you are not home and at night. Lowering your average home temperature by 3 deg.C can save you as much as 25% on your yearly heating bill (more than above, because night heating requirements are higher).

Save on gas bills: Hot Water Heater savings

This one might be a surprise for you, but for the average household, 12-18% of energy use is for hot water heating.

The chart below shows the top ideas for saving energy on hot water heating.

  1. Install low flow shower head. Water can be expensive and heating the water is almost always expensive. I pay approximately $0.03 per gallon for water (I get it trucked in so it is fairly expensive) and approximately $0.02 per gallon to heat the water to shower temperature.

    I use a 1.5 GPM showerhead, so a 5 minute shower uses 7.5 gallons (depending on pressure). This is about $0.37 per 5 minute shower.

    Switching to a 1.5 GPM showerhead from a 3 GPM showerhead will save you approximately $0.37 per 5 minute shower. For a family this could lead to approximately $810 per year savings ($2.22 for 30 minutes per day x 365 days). This is one of the best energy tips for the home.

  2. Use Cold Water in the Clothes Washer.Using cold water should save you approximately $0.25 per load depending on natural gas prices. This equates to approximately $100 savings per year. ($0.25 x 8 loads per week x 52 weeks)
  3. Lower the Tank Temperature.Turn the temperature down to the lowest level you find acceptable (if your shower is cold turn it back up). The energy saved here is the amount of energy you lose while you are not using the hot water. Your hot water tank it insulated but it still loses energy. Of course, if you have a tankless water heater, this will not be an issue.
  4. Upgrade to an Efficient Water Heater.Older water heaters are likely 65-75% efficient. A high efficiency water heater will be 85-95% efficient. This equates to a 20% savings on your water heating and a 2-4% savings on your overall energy bill.
  5. Switch to a Tankless Water Heater.A tankless water heater does not store hot water in a tank. It heats up the water as you use it. You benefit from having an efficient water heater and you will not have the additional heat loss from a tank. One downside of the tankless water heater is that it can take longer to get hot water at a facet or shower and therefore likely will use more water.

Save on gas bills: Gas Appliances

Gas Appliance energy usage is not typically a large portion of your gas bills. The most common gas appliances are the stove and the clothes dryer.

The chart below shows the top ideas for saving energy on your gas appliances.

  1. Use the Clothes Line Outside.This is my top recommendation for reducing gas use by gas appliances. You save 100% of the energy (the clothes line is free!). You will save approximately $0.50 per load. So for those of you who do an average of 7 loads per week, you will save approximately $182 per year.
  2. Upgrade to Efficient Appliances.We will look at this one closer on the Appliances page. You should really do your research here as the savings are sometimes minimal compared to the cost of upgrading.

Other pages you may be interested in

Understanding your Gas Bill - how to read your gas bill and explanation of some of the charges.

Where does gas come from? - COMING SOON

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