Save Energy, Stay Comfortable
The less energy you use, the less you spend on bills—it’s that simple. But using less energy doesn’t have to mean sacrificing comfort. With the tips below, you’ll not only save energy and money. You’ll stay comfy all year long.
Day-to-Day Ways to Save on Natural Gas
Set your thermostat to 68 degrees.
For every degree you lower your thermostat below 70, you’ll save between 1% and 3% on your heating costs. Just a 2-degree decrease, from 70 to 68 degrees, could cut as much as 6% on your heating costs.
With that said, don’t turn the heat off while you’re away. It takes more energy to bring your home back to a comfortable temperature, and your pipes could burst if the temperature drops below freezing. Instead, simply lower your thermostat down a few degrees.
Bonus tip: Making smart choices at the thermostat can help you save on your cooling bills, too. When it's hot outside, set your thermostat to 78 degrees or warmer with the fan switched to auto. For additional savings, raise your thermostat to 82 degrees or warmer when you're away. You can also invest in a smart thermostat to help you save on your heating and cooling bills—see more about this toward the end of this blog.
Wash full loads on eco-friendly settings.
Running laundry loads on a cold or warm water setting will help you save on hot water usage. And in the kitchen, use the "energy saver" switch on your dishwasher and set it on the low temperature setting when feasible.
By making sure you only run full loads, you’ll cut unnecessary usage —and you’ll see savings on your water and electric bills!
Wear the right clothes.
This is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to lower your gas bills during the winter. As we mentioned above—and in agreement with most energy efficiency websites—we recommend a maximum heating temperature setting of less than 70 degrees. If this feels a little chilly, wearing a light jacket, sweatshirt, long sleeve shirt or sweater can help keep you warm and cut natural gas usage.
Bonus tip: Seasonally appropriate clothes can help you save in warm months, too. Avoid cranking the AC (and running up your energy bill) by wearing lightweight summer clothes.
Open blinds and drapes during the day and close them at night.
During the day, let the sun shine in through your windows for added warmth. At night, make sure all windows are covered to prevent drafts and loss of heat through the glass.
Be mindful of wood-burning fireplaces.
It may be warm right by the crackling flames, but all the heat being exhausted up through the fireplace pulls cold air into the house elsewhere. Be sure to use a glass front for your fireplace and remember to keep the flue closed when the fireplace isn’t in use to help keep most of the heated air in your home from escaping up the chimney once the flames have gone out.
Try out meal prep.
Take advantage of an already-warm oven by cooking multiple things at once or in big batches. Whether you have a natural gas oven or electric, you’ll save money on your bill — and have a well-stocked fridge to boot.
Bonus tip: When you’re done cooking, you can make that oven heat go even further by leaving the oven door ajar and letting the heat vent into your kitchen.
Seasonal Adjustments to Save On Gas
Flip your fan switch.
If your ceiling fan has a reverse switch, you’ll want to flip that when you turn your heat on, making your fan’s blades spin clockwise. This causes the fan to produce an updraft, forcing the hot air that rises to your ceiling down and into the rest of the room.
Direct the heat to the rooms you use the most.
Speaking of ensuring each room reaches maximum heat, closing the doors and vents to unused rooms will help focus the home heating efforts to the important portions.
Move furniture away from vents.
Take a quick look around the house and double check that none of the vents are blocked. If they are, find a way to move your furniture, at least for the winter. This will make sure every room is reaching its maximum warming potential.
Maintain your heating system.
Keep the filter clean and hire a licensed contractor to inspect your unit on a regular basis. If your unit has been in use for 15 years or longer, consider getting an upgrade for improved efficiency.
One-time Upgrades Around the Home
Seal ducts and plug door and window leaks.
Check the tightness of air ducts and be sure to plug any visible open spots with insulation material. While you’re at it, check your doors and windows—they could be responsible for wasting 10% of your energy costs. Fix these leaks by installing weather-stripping or caulk around drafty doors and windows. Electrical outlets in exterior walls are also another common cause of heat loss in your home, as are the gaps around water pipes where they pass through walls. Make sure you inspect these areas of your home and seal up any cracks to further reduce heating costs.
Install a low-flow showerhead.
Traditional showerheads deliver between 5-8 gallons of water per minute (GPM). The current standard for low flow showerheads is 2.5 GPM at the same water pressure, so an investment of as little as $5 can cut the cost of a hot shower by 50%.
Bonus tip: Look for leaks in showers and faucets, too! A single faucet that drips just once every second wastes 8.6 gallons per day—almost 260 gallons per month—which can really add up on your water bill.
Increase ceiling insulation.
Looking for a quick 5-25% reduction in heating loss? You can find it right above your head. If your ceiling isn’t properly insulated, it’s letting warm air out and raising your heating costs as your thermostat works constantly to keep the temperature up. For best results, consider increasing your insulation to R-38.
Add layers to wood floors.
Uninsulated wood floors can account for up to 10% of a home’s heat loss. Carpets and rugs keep rooms warmer. Add a rug or roll of carpet to trap heat and protect your feet.
Switch to a programmable or smart thermostat.
Programmable thermostats allow you to set multiple time frames and temperatures to fit your lifestyle. We recommend smart thermostats, as they can save you 10 to 12 percent in heating costs—and up to 15 percent on cooling costs. That can add up to big savings at the end of the year.
Programming your thermostat enables you to lower the temperature when you’re at work or asleep to conserve energy and raise the temperature before you return home to maximize comfort.
Increase energy efficiency automatically.
Some thermostats—like the Nest Learning Thermostat, are considered learning thermostats, meaning they can sense even the smallest change in temperature and adjust accordingly. So, whether your oven is pushing extra heat into the room or the outdoor temperature unexpectedly dropped 10 degrees, your home temperature will automatically stay right where you want it.
Additionally, some thermostats come with a built-in occupancy sensor. After a week or so of manual adjustments, the system will begin to recognize your presence and adjust on its own. A smart thermostat will correct your home to the right temperature before you even realize the change.
Track your cost savings.
Some thermometers offer easy-to-read tracking system with insights to help you save even more on your heating costs. You can learn how your spending compares to other users and even be rewarded for using energy-efficient settings.)
Even More Ways to Lower Your Gas Bill
Switch to a fixed rate plan.
Variable rate plans fluctuate every month according to market conditions. That means what you pay per therm this month could be more, less, or the same as the previous month. Fixed rates, on the other hand, are locked and remain unchanged throughout the term of your contract — usually 6, 12, 18 or 24 months. Fixed rates are lower than variable rates and a consistent rate helps you better manage your gas budget. View our fixed rate plans.
Remember, when your fixed rate plan ends, you’ll automatically switch to a variable rate plan. That’s why at Gas South we make sure to give you plenty of notice when your contract is wrapping up, giving you the chance to lock in a new rate (and avoid a sudden spike in your bill).
Refer a friend.
For every friend you refer to Gas South, you’ll get $50 in bill credits. Plus, every person you refer will also receive $50 in bill credits, so everyone saves! Learn more about our referral program.