You open your gas bill as the weather cools and can’t believe your eyes. How can it be this expensive?
There are only three culprits: you, your home and the weather. While you may not be able to control Mother Nature, there are several ways you can lower your gas bill from the inside.
In the utility room
- If possible, upgrade your appliances to the most efficient models. For example, if you have a natural gas furnace that is more than 15 years old, it’s time for an update. A new ENERGY STAR furnace could save you up to 20 percent in operating costs. Additionally, water heating can account for up to 25 percent of your home’s energy use.
- Have a professional inspect your gas furnace every other year. They can make sure it’s running both safely and at maximum efficiency.
- Set the thermostat to 68 degrees during the day and 60 degrees before you go to bed. Each degree warmer increases energy use by three percent.
In the laundry room
- Wash and dry full loads. One larger load uses less energy than two smaller ones.
- Use a cold water cycle whenever possible.
- Dry loads back to back to make the most of the already-heated drum.
- Clean the lint filter after every load. A clogged filter weakens dryer performance.
- Invest in energy-efficient washer and dryer models.
In the kitchen
- Keep the oven door closed until it’s time to take food out. Opening the oven while cooking lets about 20 percent of the heat escape.
- Defrost frozen foods in the refrigerator to reduce cook time.
- Frost makes your appliances work harder, which wastes energy. If the ice buildup in your freezer exceeds a quarter-inch in thickness, it’s time to defrost.
- Only run the dishwasher with a full load.
- Invest in ENERGY STAR-rated appliances.
Around the whole house
- Seal cracks. Inexpensive caulk or expanding foam can help seal in warm (and cool) air. Common places where air escapes include windows, door frames, where pipes connect with your home and tops of basement walls where concrete meets the wooden frame.