How to Save on Home Heating Costs as Natural Gas Increases

A natural gas furnace is the most cost-effective way to heat your home, especially if you live in a cold climate. However, Reuters says the price of natural gas is anticipated to rise significantly during the winter heating season. Find out why the price of natural gas is going up and how to save on gas heating bills this year.

Why Is Natural Gas Going Up?

Each year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) releases a winter fuel outlook. Energy costs have already gotten more expensive globally, according to Reuters. This is because the demand for energy is now greater than the available supply.

How Higher Natural Gas Prices Will Impact You

Higher natural gas prices will affect you as you switch on your heating system and get utility bills. Here’s about how much it will impact the average household during the six-month winter heating season, in contrast to 2020.

    • Average heating bill for 2020 season: $573, or about $95.50 monthly.
    • Average heating bill for 2021 season: $746, or about $124.33 monthly. That’s about a 30% increase from the previous year.

4 Tips for Saving on Heating Costs

Compared to other fuel sources, a natural gas heating system is still the cheapest and most efficient way to heat your home. And there are several things you can do to keep your heating costs down this winter. Here’s how you can save on your gas heating bill.

1. Request a Furnace Tune-Up

Schedule furnace maintenance from an HVAC professional before the heating season starts. You’ll get less expensive than repairing your heating system later on in the year.

This service includes:

    • Testing and cleaning gas burners for correct operation.
    • Examining the heat exchanger for cracks to avoid deadly carbon monoxide leaks.
    • Tracking warm air flow and blower operation to ensure peak performance.
    • Inspecting the gas valve to ensure fuel supply pressure is right.
    • Checking electrical parts for damage.
    • Taking a look at your thermostat to ensure it’s working right.

Having your HVAC system serviced each year helps control energy use, reduces the chance of breakdowns and may even make your heating system last longer. Plus, many manufacturers require it to keep your valuable warranty applicable. This warranty shields you if a significant component, such as the heat exchanger, breaks on your home’s heating system during a specific period.

We know you’re busy and that it’s easy to forget about scheduling your furnace tune-ups. That’s why we provide membership programs created to make your life better while helping you save money.

With our best-value Maintenance+™, you’ll receive regular preventive maintenance plus:

    • Energy savings up to 30%**
    • Guaranteed 24/7/365 priority service
    • No trip or overtime charges—ever
    • 15% discount on repairs and air purification products
    • 100% guarantee on repairs for one year*
    • Lifetime thermostat warranty
    • Home Health Report Card and 29-point visual check on each visit

2. Get a Smart Thermostat

HVAC professionals recommend replacing your programmable thermostat with one that’s “smart” to save money on your energy bill. This means it uses Wi-Fi, so you can regulate your HVAC system from your smartphone or tablet from bed when you wake up, or just about anywhere in the world. You’ll receive real-time updates on how much energy you’re consuming.

The best smart thermostats for central heating have:

    • Wi-Fi capability with an app to manage it from a smartphone or computer.
    • A color screen that displays the current temperature and humidity levels at home, as well as outside weather forecasts so you can adapt accordingly.
    • Eco mode settings that instantly set the thermostat to save you more money.
    • Smart programming that creates an energy-efficient heating schedule based on your temperature preferences.

Your energy company probably has valuable rebates for installing a smart thermostat, since they’re ENERGY STAR® qualified. These rebates may cover a portion or even the full cost of the thermostat, so check with your natural gas supplier before you buy one.

3. Select Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings

Your smart thermostat will take care of creating an efficient schedule that potentially lowers your heating bill, but you’ll need to set it for a few days so it can learn your temperature preferences. We recommend using these winter thermostat settings from the U.S. Department of Energy and ENERGY STAR.

When You’re at Home

Your thermostat should be set to 68 degrees for the greatest energy savings. If this feels too cold, these ways to save can help keep your home feeling more comfortable and your heating bill in check:

    • Use window treatments that block heat loss, like as honeycomb shades, plantation shutters or window blankets, which are thick quilts.
    • Open south-facing window treatments during the daytime to let in natural heat from the sun. Keep your windows covered at night to seal out cold air.
    • Cover drafty windows with plastic sheeting to stop air leaks. Consider getting energy-saving windows in the future, such as double pane with insulating gas or triple pane.
    • Set ceiling fans to reverse so they can disperse warm air that gathers near the ceiling.
    • Have an HVAC professional seal heating ducts. This is often done through putting metallic tape on gaps and helps you keep more hot air from your heating system.
    • Add weather stripping on windows and doors. Weather stripping is very good at preventing cold air drafts and keeping warm air where it belongs.
    • Make sure heating vents are unrestricted. Closing vents in rooms you don’t use is a bad idea since it can affect air balance and make your furnace work harder. Also, try not to block vents as this affects how heating systems distribute warm air.
    • Consider adding extra ceiling insulation, since your home loses a lot of hot air through the attic.
    • Book an energy audit through your natural gas company. This service is usually free and offers valuable advice on how to save money and lower your heating bill. It may help you identify how much insulation you need to add, find air leaks and more.

While You’re Asleep

The National Sleep Foundation says most people do best in a cool room. During the winter, that can range from 60-67 degrees, depending on your personal preferences.

Try experimenting with your thermostat for about a week to choose the right temperature. Begin with the temperature set at 67 degrees and decreasing it by a degree every night. You may feel cold at first, but you’ll probably be surprised how comfortable you can be at a lower temperature. And how much it can affect your heating bill!

While You’re Gone

If you don’t have any pets, you can turn down your thermostat as low as 50 degrees. This keeps your heating system running and your pipes from icing. But don’t be tempted to crank up your furnace when you get back, instead of switching it back to 68. This won’t warm your home up faster. It’ll just drive up your heating bill and result in wear and tear on your furnace.

If you have pets, you can follow the Department of Energy’s suggestion to set your thermostat back 7-10 degrees while you’re away. Doing this while you’re at work can save you up to 10% on heating bills each year.

4. Get a New Furnace

Updating your outdated, inefficient heating system is one of the smartest ways to save on heating bills. A furnace’s efficiency is measured in AFUE, or Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. In other words, this rating measures how efficiently your furnace uses fuel for heat.

Modern furnaces have an average AFUE of 95%, while older models only achieve around 80%. Buying a new furnace that’s 15% more efficient can lead to major savings on your heating bills over your furnace’s lifetime. While your precise utility bill savings will vary based on area weather and your temperature preferences, these savings could help your primary heating source pay for itself over time through a lower natural gas bill.

When to Start Thinking about Furnace Installation

Here are a few other indications that it’s time to begin thinking about furnace installation:

    1. Age. Most furnaces last between 15-20 years with adequate maintenance. If yours is close to this age, you should start preparation for replacement to prevent being without heat when your furnace goes out for good.
    1. Repair frequency and price. If your furnace repair bills are more than half the cost of a new system, we suggest getting a new one. This also is applicable if repairs are becoming more frequent.
    1. Decreased comfort and pricey heating bills. As your furnace gets older, it consumes more energy. You’ll see this through your home being less cozy and your heating bill being higher.
    1. Weird noises. It’s normal for your furnace to make some sound as it turns on and off. But some noises, specifically rattling, banging or screeching, are a clear sign that something’s wrong. Based on the severity of the problem, it may just be better to buy a new furnace.
    1. Yellow burner flames. Your furnace’s burner flames should always be blue. Yellow flames suggest your furnace is consuming more gas and may even be generating carbon monoxide, which can be dangerous in large doses. Furnaces leaking this deadly gas should be taken out right away.

We realize that furnace replacement is a major investment. It can also be a surprise that you’re not completely ready for. That’s why we offer the Service Experts Advantage Program™. This hassle-free subscription program is transforming home comfort by covering everything, with no large up-front cost or down payment needed.

For only one low monthly fee, you’ll receive:

    • A new, high-efficiency furnace, plus valuable manufacturer’s rebates
    • Expert installation at no extra cost
    • Guaranteed 24/7/365 priority service
    • No trip or overtime charges—ever
    • Repairs, labor, parts and air filters at no extra charge*
    • 15% discount on air purification products
    • Lifetime thermostat warranty
    • Home Health™ Report Card and 29-point visual check on each appointment
    • Annual preventive maintenance and energy savings up to 30%**

Save Money on Heating Costs with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing

Although natural gas prices are on the rise, there are many ways to lower your heating bill with our Expert assistance. To get started, call us at 866-397-3787 for an appointment and we’ll see what you can do to save money this winter!


*For HVAC Service Memberships, certain warranty exclusions and limitations apply. See your signed agreement for full terms and conditions. For the Advantage Program™, please see your signed Advantage Program Agreement for full details and exclusions. Lease with approved credit; visit ServiceExperts.com for details. **Potential savings may vary depending on age and condition of equipment, personal lifestyle, system settings, equipment maintenance, and installation of equipment and duct system.

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