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, particularly if you live in a cold climate. However, Reuters says the cost of natural gas is anticipated to rise significantly during the winter heating season. Find out why the price of natural gas is getting more expensive and how to save on gas heating bills this year.

Why Is Natural Gas Going Up?

Every year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) releases a winter fuel outlook. Energy costs have previously gotten more expensive around the world, according to Reuters. This is because the need for energy is now higher than the available supply.

How Higher Natural Gas Prices Will Affect You

Higher natural gas prices will impact you as you switch on your heating system and receive utility bills. Here’s about how much it will impact the average household during the six-month winter heating season, as compared 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 a few things you can do to keep your heating costs down this winter. Here’s how you can save on your gas heating bill.

1. Schedule a Furnace Tune-Up

Schedule furnace maintenance from an HVAC professional before the heating season begins. You’ll get greater] efficiency and it’s {cheaper than fixing your heating system later on in the year.

This service consists of:

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

Having your HVAC system maintained each year helps control energy use, decreases the likelihood of breakdowns and may even make your heating system last longer. Plus, most manufacturers require it to keep your valuable warranty valid. This warranty shields you if a significant part, such as the heat exchanger, breaks on your home’s heating system during a certain period.

We know you’re busy and that it’s easy to overlook booking your furnace tune-ups. That’s why we offer membership programs designed to make your life easier while helping you save money.

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

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

2. Install a Smart Thermostat

HVAC professionals advise updating your programmable thermostat with one that’s “smart” to save money on your energy bill. This means it connects to Wi-Fi, so you can control your HVAC system from your smartphone or tablet from bed in the morning, or just about anyplace in the world. You’ll receive real-time updates on how much energy you’re using.

The best smart thermostats for central heating have:

    • Wi-Fi capabilities with an app to control 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 adjust 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 likely has valuable rebates for installing a smart thermostat, since they’re ENERGY STAR® qualified. These rebates may cover a part 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 making an efficient schedule that potentially lowers your heating bill, but you’ll need to program it for a few days so it can pick up on your temperature preferences. We suggest following 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 maximum 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:

    • Choose 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 prevent air leaks. Consider getting energy-saving windows later on, such as double pane with insulating gas or triple pane.
    • Set ceiling fans to counterclockwise 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 retain 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 open. 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 impacts how heating systems distribute warm air.
    • Consider installing more 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 often free and offers valuable advice on how to save money and lower your heating bill. It may help you determine how much insulation you need to add, find air leaks and more.

While You’re Sleeping

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

Try testing your thermostat for about a week to find the ideal temperature. Begin with the temperature set at 67 degrees and decreasing it by a degree each evening. You may feel cold initially, but you’ll probably be surprised how comfy you can be at a cooler temperature. And how much it can impact your heating bill!

While You’re Away

If you don’t have any pets, you can set 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 return, instead of setting it back to 68. This won’t heat your home up quicker. It’ll just increase your heating bill and cause wear and tear on your furnace.

If you have pets, you can follow the Department of Energy’s advice 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

Replacing your old, inefficient heating system is one of the best 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.

Newer furnaces have an average AFUE of 95%, while old models only attain around 80%. Getting a new furnace that’s 15% more efficient can result in big savings on your heating bills over your furnace’s lifetime. While your precise utility bill reductions will vary based on area weather and your temperature preferences, these savings could help your primary heating source pay for itself in time through a cheaper natural gas bill.

When to Begin Considering Furnace Installation

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

    1. Age. Many furnaces run between 15-20 years with proper maintenance. If yours is near this age, you should begin planning for replacement to avoid being without heat when your furnace breaks down for good.
    1. Repair frequency and cost. If your furnace repair bills are greater than half the cost of a new system, we recommend buying a new one. This also is applicable if repairs are becoming more consistent.
    1. Reduced comfort and more expensive heating bills. As your furnace gets older, it needs more energy. You’ll notice this through your home being less comfortable and your heating bill being more expensive.
    1. Unusual noises. It’s normal for your furnace to make some noise as it turns on and off. But some sounds, particularly rattling, banging or screeching, are an obvious sign that something’s awry. Based on the severity of the issue, it may just be better to get a new furnace.
    1. Yellow burner flames. Your furnace’s burner flames should always be blue. Yellow flames mean your furnace is consuming more gas and may even be making carbon monoxide, which can be fatal in large doses. Furnaces seeping this deadly gas should be taken out right away.

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

For just one reasonable monthly fee, you’ll receive:

    • A new, high-efficiency furnace, as well as 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 every appointment
    • Annual preventive maintenance and energy savings up to 30%**

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

Although natural gas prices are on the rise, there are many ways to reduce your heating bill with our Expert assistance. To begin, contact us at 866-397-3787 for an appointment and we’ll take a look at what you can do to spend less 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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