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

A natural gas furnace is the most cost-effective way to heat your home, especially if you live in a cold climate. However, Reuters says the price of natural gas is anticipated to rise significantly during the winter heating season. Learn 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 previously gone up globally, according to Reuters. This is because the demand for energy is now higher 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 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 last year. 

4 Secrets 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 several things you can do to keep your heating costs down this winter. Here’s how you can spend less on your gas heating bill. 

1. Request a Furnace Tune-Up 

Request furnace maintenance from an HVAC professional before the heating season begins. You’ll get more than repairing your heating system later on in the year. 

This service consists of: 

  • Evaluating and cleaning gas burners for correct operation. 
  • Examining the heat exchanger for cracks to avoid deadly carbon monoxide leaks. 
  • Tracking warm air flow and blower operation to ensure peak performance. 
  • Examining the gas valve to make sure fuel supply pressure is right. 
  • Checking electrical parts for damage. 
  • Taking a look at your thermostat to ensure 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, many manufacturers require it to keep your valuable warranty valid. This warranty shields you if a significant component, such as 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 products 
  • 100% guarantee on repairs for one year* 
  • Lifetime thermostat warranty 
  • Home Health Report Card and 29-point visual check on every visit 

2. Get a Smart Thermostat 

HVAC professionals advise replacing 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 when you wake up, or just about anyplace in the world. You’ll receive real-time updates on how much energy you’re consuming. 

The best smart thermostats for central heating have: 

  • Wi-Fi capabilities with an app to manage 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 adapt accordingly. 
  • Eco mode settings that instantly 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 has valuable rebates for adding a smart thermostat, since they’re ENERGY STAR® qualified. These rebates may cover a portion or even the complete cost of the thermostat, so check with your natural gas supplier before you purchase one. 

3. Select Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings 

Your smart thermostat will take care of creating an efficient schedule that likely reduces 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 cold, these ways to save can help keep your home feeling warmer and your heating bill in check: 

  • Choose window treatments that block heat loss, such 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 keep out cold air. 
  • Cover drafty windows with plastic sheeting to stop 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 great at stopping cold air drafts and keeping warm air where it should be. 
  • Make sure heating vents are open. Closing 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 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 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 Asleep 

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

Try testing your thermostat for about a week to choose the ideal temperature. Start with the temperature set at 67 degrees and lowering it by a degree each evening. You might feel chilly at first, but you’ll probably be amazed 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 cool as 50 degrees. This keeps your heating system operating 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 warm 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 use the Department of Energy’s recommendation to turn 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 every year. 

4. Get a New Furnace 

Updating your outdated, 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. Simply put, 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 big savings on your heating bills over your furnace’s life. While your exact utility bill reductions will vary based on area weather and your temperature preferences, these savings could help your primary heating source pay for itself over 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. Many furnaces last between 15-20 years with proper maintenance. If yours is near this age, you should begin preparation for replacement to prevent being without heat when your furnace breaks down for good. 
  1. Repair frequency and price. If your furnace repair bills are greater than half the price of a new system, we recommend buying a new one. This also is applicable if repairs are becoming more consistent. 
  1. Reduced comfort and pricey heating bills. As your furnace gets older, it consumes more energy. You’ll see this through your home being less cozy and your heating bill being more expensive. 
  1. Weird noises. It’s typical for your furnace to make some noise as it turns on and off. But some noises, specifically 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 mean your furnace is using more gas and may even be producing carbon monoxide, which can be dangerous in big doses. Furnaces seeping this hazardous gas should be taken out right away. 

We realize that furnace replacement is a big investment. It can also be a shock that you’re not fully prepared for. That’s why we have the Service Experts Advantage Program™. This stress-free subscription program is revolutionizing home comfort by including everything, with no big up-front cost or down payment needed. 

For just 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 added charge* 
  • 15% discount on air purification products 
  • Lifetime thermostat warranty 
  • Home Health™ Report Card and 29-point visual check on each 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 reduce your heating bill with our Expert assistance. To get started, contact 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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