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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, especially if you live in a cold climate. However, Reuters reports the price of natural gas is expected 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) produces a winter fuel outlook. Energy costs have already gone up around the world, according to Reuters. This is because the demand for energy is now greater than the available supply.

How More Expensive Natural Gas Prices Will Impact You

Higher natural gas prices will affect you as you turn on your heating system and get utility bills. Here’s about how much it will affect 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 Secrets for Saving on Heating Costs

In comparison 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 affordable 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 includes:

    • Evaluating and cleaning gas burners for proper operation.
    • Examining the heat exchanger for cracks to avoid dangerous carbon monoxide leaks.
    • Monitoring warm air flow and blower operation to ensure peak performance.
    • Inspecting the gas valve to ensure 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 manage 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 major component, 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 forget about scheduling your furnace tune-ups. That’s why we offer membership programs created to make your life easier 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 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 uses Wi-Fi, so you can control your HVAC system from your smartphone or tablet from bed when you wake up, 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 capability 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 makes an energy-efficient heating routine based on your temperature preferences.

Your energy company likely offers valuable rebates for installing a smart thermostat, since they’re ENERGY STAR® qualified. These rebates may cover a part or even the complete cost of the thermostat, so contact your natural gas supplier before you buy one.

3. Select Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings

Your smart thermostat will handle making an efficient schedule that likely reduces your heating bill, but you’ll need to set it for a few days so it can pick up on 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 the greatest energy savings. If this feels too cold, these ways to save can help keep your home feeling warmer and your heating bill under control:

    • 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 keep 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 gathers near the ceiling.
    • Have an HVAC professional seal heating ducts. This is often done through adding 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 open. 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 installing more ceiling insulation, since your home loses a lot of hot air through the attic.
    • Schedule an energy audit through your natural gas company. This service is often free and provides valuable advice on how to save money and lower your heating bill. It may help you determine how much insulation you need to add, locate air leaks and more.

While You’re Asleep

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

Try experimenting with your thermostat for about a week to choose the ideal temperature. Start with the temperature set at 67 degrees and decreasing it by a degree every night. You may feel cold initially, but you’ll likely be amazed how comfy 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 jack 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 set your thermostat back 7-10 degrees while you’re away. Doing this while you’re at the office 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 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 exact utility bill reductions will vary based on local 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 Start Considering Furnace Installation

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

    1. Age. Most furnaces run between 15-20 years with adequate maintenance. If yours is close to this age, you should begin planning for replacement to avoid being without heat when your furnace goes out for good.
    1. Repair frequency and cost. If your furnace repair bills are more than half the cost of a new system, we recommend getting a new one. This also applies if repairs are becoming more consistent.
    1. Reduced comfort and more expensive heating bills. As your furnace gets older, it uses more energy. You’ll see this through your home being less cozy and your heating bill being more expensive.
    1. Odd noises. It’s typical for your furnace to make some noise as it turns on and off. But some sounds, especially rattling, banging or screeching, are an obvious sign that something’s awry. 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 using more fuel and may even be producing carbon monoxide, which can be deadly in large doses. Furnaces seeping this life-threatening gas should be taken out right away.

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

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 every visit
    • Regular 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 going up, there are countless 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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