How to Save on Home Heating Costs as Natural Gas Goes Up

A natural gas furnace is the most efficient way to heat your home, particularly if you live in a cool climate. However, Reuters reports the price of natural gas is anticipated to rise dramatically 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) produces a winter fuel outlook. Energy costs have already gotten more expensive around the world, according to Reuters. This is because the demand for energy is now greater than the available supply.

How Higher Natural Gas Prices Will Affect You

Higher natural gas prices will affect you as you turn 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, 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 a few steps you can take to you can do to keep your heating costs affordable this winter. Here’s how you can spend less on your gas heating bill.

1. Schedule a Furnace Tune-Up

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

This service consists of:

    • Testing and cleaning gas burners for proper operation.
    • Checking 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 damage.
    • Checking your thermostat to ensure it’s working correctly.

Having your HVAC system maintained each year helps manage energy use, reduces the chance of breakdowns and may even make your heating system last longer. Plus, most manufacturers require it to keep your valuable warranty applicable. This warranty protects you if a major part, like 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 overlook scheduling your furnace tune-ups. That’s why we provide 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. Get a Smart Thermostat

HVAC professionals recommend updating 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 in the morning, or just about anyplace in the world. You’ll get 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 shows the current temperature and humidity levels at home, as well as outside weather forecasts so you can adapt accordingly.
    • Eco mode settings that automatically adjust the thermostat to save you more money.
    • Smart programming that creates an energy-efficient heating routine based on your temperature preferences.

Your energy company probably offers valuable rebates for adding a smart thermostat, since they’re ENERGY STAR® qualified. These rebates may cover a part or even the complete 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 handle creating an efficient schedule that potentially lowers your heating bill, but you’ll need to program it for a few days so it can learn your temperature preferences. We suggest 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 maximum energy savings. If this feels too chilly, these ways to save can help keep your home feeling warmer and your heating bill under control:

    • 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 day 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 upgrading to energy-saving windows in the future, such as double pane with insulating gas or triple pane.
    • Set ceiling fans to counterclockwise so they can disperse warm air that collects 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 great at blocking cold air drafts and keeping warm air where it belongs.
    • Make sure heating vents are unrestricted. Shutting off vents in rooms you don’t use is a bad idea since it can impact 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 leaks a lot of hot air through the attic.
    • Book an energy audit through your natural gas company. This service is usually free and provides valuable advice on how to save money and lower your heating bill. It may help you identify how much insulation you need to add, pinpoint air leaks and more.

While You’re Sleeping

The National Sleep Foundation says most people do 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 right temperature. Begin with the temperature set at 67 degrees and decreasing it by a degree every evening. You may feel chilly at first, but you’ll likely 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 turn down your thermostat as low as 50 degrees. This keeps your heating system running and your pipes from freezing. 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 quicker. It’ll just increase your heating bill and result in wear and tear on your furnace.

If you have pets, you can use the Department of Energy’s advice to turn your thermostat back 7-10 degrees while you’re gone. Doing this while you’re at work can save you up to 10% on heating bills every year.

4. Upgrade Your Furnace

Updating your old, inefficient heating system is one of the best ways to save on heating bills. A furnace’s efficiency is calculated 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%. Getting a new furnace that’s 15% more efficient can lead to major savings on your heating bills over your furnace’s lifetime. While your exact utility bill savings 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 lower natural gas bill.

When to Begin Thinking about Furnace Installation

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

    1. Age. Most furnaces last between 15-20 years with proper maintenance. If yours is close to this age, you should start planning for replacement to avoid being without heat when your furnace goes out for good.
    1. Repair frequency and price. If your furnace repair bills are greater than half the price of a new system, we recommend getting a new one. This also is applicable if repairs are becoming more consistent.
    1. Reduced comfort and pricey heating bills. As your furnace ages, it needs more energy. You’ll see this through your home being less cozy and your heating bill being more expensive.
    1. Odd noises. It’s normal for your furnace to make some noise 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 get 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 making carbon monoxide, which can be lethal in big doses. Furnaces seeping this deadly gas should be replaced immediately.

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

For only one reasonable 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 every appointment
    • Regular 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 going up, there are countless 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 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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