Tag and tame your home’s natural gas guzzlers

BY Allconnect | Thu Oct 08, 2015

Save on natural gas billsNatural gas use in the United States shows no signs of slowing down. According to the U.S. Energy Information Association, natural gas consumption has steadily increased nationwide over the past five years, in part due to a growing number of consumers preferring the resource over electricity and propane to heat their homes. Utilizing excess natural gas, however, produces the same result as letting your electronics run all day and night.

Thankfully, dodging an overinflated gas bill is no trouble if you have a clear idea of where natural gas waste is occurring and how to stop it. A proactive attitude in the present will help protect your home from additional issues as winter closes in and the temperature drops. Take a look at the following strategies for addressing energy waste if you anticipate a monstrous natural gas bill waiting around the corner.

Take time to identify your primary offenders
The first step in minimizing natural gas waste in your home is to track down your biggest natural gas guzzlers. If your home has a gas furnace, than the leading source of natural gas consumption is a bit obvious. Ensure that your furnace receives timely and consistent maintenance, as a malfunctioning appliance is likely to consume natural gas more rapidly.

appliances consume
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Following the furnace, your home’s gas water heater is likely the leading consumer of natural gas in your home. You can adjust the temperature of your water heater directly, and lowering the dial by a few degrees will lead to gas savings without any noticeable performance loss.

Don’t overlook the impact your dryer has on the monthly gas bill. Forgetting small maintenance chores like clearing the lint trap or separating laundry into light and heavy loads will help to keep your dryer running as efficiently as possible. As a result of utilizing these suggestions, natural gas consumption can be kept to a minimum.

Eliminate energy waste wherever you can
Once your appliances have been taken care of, it’s time to focus on additional points of inefficiency throughout the household. You’ll suffer excessive gas costs if maintenance issues are allowed to go unresolved. That’s because gaps in your home’s thermal perimeter, like those caused by insufficient caulking or damage to door and window frames, allow heated air to travel to the outside. This undesirable heat loss forces your furnace to work overtime, pumping warm air into your home to replace the heat that is quickly seeping out of the home. Getting your home’s heater to run at peak efficiency is extremely difficult while these leaks remain unsealed.

The California Energy Commission recommended that homeowners focus their sealing efforts on entryways, near vents and pipes that travel through walls and around electrical outlets. No breach in your home’s wall is too small to overlook. A comprehensive caulking job is also a very cost-effective way to make a real impact on the natural gas bill.

Play with your thermostat to chill your bill
Homeowners can save even more money if they’re willing to wear an extra layer around the house. In fact, the cost of heating drops by up to 5 percent every time the thermostat is turned down by a degree. Start at 68 degrees and assess how your family holds up after the change. Turn the temperature down even lower if your family seems to be acclimating with no issue or willing to put on another flannel.

Those with an automated thermostat can save even more cash by programming the home to heat and cool according to the family’s schedule. Setting the system to let the home cool while residents are out and warm up again just before your family arrives home will allow you to minimize natural gas consumption even further.

Utility meters can be used to track your savings.

Keep the heat flowing by changing filters
Don’t neglect the little things that could jack up your heating costs. A bit of routine preventative maintenance around the house will stop small instances of heat waste from turning into major money sinks. HVAC vent filters are a perfect example of a task that can often be taken for granted, to the detriment of the homeowner.

Once these filters are caked in debris, the flow of air in and out of the home’s heating system is limited. Even worse, heating systems are more likely to be exposed to efficiency-crippling dirt and dust. HVAC filters should be changed every few months according to the performance posted on the label. You can limit the need to change the vent and take fewer trips to the store by investing in a more expensive filter that is designed to last an extended period of time. As long as the filters are changed consistently, your heater shouldn’t suffer a drop-off in efficiency.

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