Natural gas bills can consume a sizable amount of your income. According to the DTE Energy Company in Michigan, heating and cooling constitute the largest energy expense in most households. Water heating, which can account for about 15 to 20 percent of a household's energy use, is the second largest component of most home gas bills. By controlling your thermostat settings and hot water usage you can lower your gas bills significantly. Preventative steps such as furnace maintenance and vent cleaning also maximize energy efficiency and help you save money.
Lower your thermostat settings and dress warmer in the winter to save substantial amounts of money and energy. According to the Kansas Corporation Commission, a temperature setting of 20 C ( 68 F) is optimal for comfort and will also reduce your gas consumption. Keep warm by dressing in layers and wearing clothing made of wool or fleece. Because the floor is the coldest part of any home, wear slippers to keep your feet warm. Lower the thermostat a few more degrees at night and also when you leave home during the daytime.
Attend to drafts or leaks in your home due to missing insulation or damaged weather stripping on doors and windows. Make sure all doors and windows close completely. To minimize heat loss, avoid running exhaust fans longer than a few minutes. According to Yankee Gas Services Company, the largest natural gas distributor in Connecticut, exhaust fans can deplete a home of warm air in an hour or less. If the air inside your home is dry in the winter you can avoid running exhaust fans. By doing so, you will retain some much-needed heat and humidity indoors.
Use solar energy in the form of sunlight to warm your home. Open drapes during the brighter part of the day and close them at night. If you have unused rooms in your home, close the vents in those rooms. Keep doors closed so heat is not transferred to these rooms from the rest of the house.
Clean or replace furnace filters monthly during the winter season. Keep furniture, curtains and other items away from vents to allow unobstructed air flow.
Hot Water and Cooking
Use the cold water setting on your washing machine when washing clothes. According to BC Hydro, the third largest utility company in Canada, you can cut down on 90% of your washing machine's energy consumption by washing clothes in cold water rather than hot water. Use a cold water detergent for best results. Washing clothes in cold water prevents them from fading and results in lower wear and tear on fabrics. Avoid using hot water in the shower and when you wash dishes. In addition to saving money, this can also reduce the danger of scalds. Consider installing low-flow faucets and shower heads to save water and gas consumption during the heating process.
Use a small toaster oven or a microwave oven to cook or heat up small amounts of food. Such appliances use much less gas than a conventional oven and provide the same results. Conserve heat during the cooking process by keeping the oven door closed.
Check the color of the flame on your gas cooking range. If the flame is more yellow than blue, it signals an inefficient burning mechanism. Consult the manufacturer or the user manual to ensure proper gas usage.
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