5 reasons why your gas bill is so high


gas bill
There are five main reasons why you’re paying more for energy each month - and they might surprise you.

As inflation and energy prices steadily increase, you may be worrying about your gas bill. This may especially be the case if you live in a cold climate, where your furnace has to work overtime to keep your home warm, driving up your energy consumption - and your costs.

There could be some reasons why your natural gas bill is rising that may surprise you - and some unexpected ways you can save.

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    5 reasons why your gas bill is so high

    There are many reasons as to why you may have a high gas bill; here we have listed the five most common factors that may be the cause of it. We will also tell you what you can do to lessen the impact of each.

    1. Rising fuel prices

    The price of natural gas has the biggest affect on your gas bill. 

    Throughout the country, most homes are heated by either natural gas or electricity. But even with an increase of homeowners using electricity to run their homes, natural gas is still the most common fuel used, with 55% of U.S. homes choosing this option.

    The natural gas prices are the highest they’ve been since 2014, and it looks like rising prices are here to stay. Even with the U.S. being the leading producer of natural gas in the world, the lower supplies are struggling to keep up with the rising demand.

    Skyrocketing natural gas prices will no doubt have an impact on what your gas bill looks like and with supply shortages expected to continue, these prices won’t be dropping anytime soon.

    What you can do 

    If you’re on a variable rate gas plan with your local utility, then your rates will change with the seasons. This usually means higher rates in the winter - exactly when your gas consumption is at its highest. 

    One way to fix this is to search for alternative gas suppliers and look for a long-term fixed rate plan. These plans can be typically between 6 and 36 months. As natural gas costs continue to rise, a fixed rate plan can be a smart fix.

    2. Insufficient insulation

    Your insulation works to keep the warm air in, and cold air out of your home. This means that the better insulated your home, the easier it will be for your heater to regulate temperature. In fact, the EPA estimates that you can save up to 15% on your gas bill by having sufficient insulation.

    If you live in an old house then there is a good chance that your insulation may be outdated or have leaks. Areas such as windows, attics, and ducts are most susceptible to heat leakage and should be a focus.

    What you can do 

    Improving your home’s insulation is actually one of the easiest ways to lower your gas bill. Installing additional insulation or caulking at joints can drastically decrease heat loss in a home. 

    You should also have your home's existing insulation inspected by a professional, as some areas may have been damaged or deteriorated over the years.

    Inspecting your home's insulation should come under a home energy audit. A home energy audit should be done annually and will help you to understand your home's energy costs, energy usage, comfort, and safety.

    Learn more: What is a home energy audit - and is it worth it?

    3. Outdated appliances

    Over time, an appliance's efficiency and performance will inevitably decline. This means that gas appliances will require more fuel and more energy to fulfill the same tasks. 

    The same applies for a home heating system. Therefore, an outdated heating system will require more energy to produce the same amount of heat than it would have earlier in its life. Bottom line - if you’re using an outdated heating system, the lower efficiencies will mean growing heating bills.

    Learn how to make your appliances more energy efficient (including the costs and benefits of switching to Energy Star appliances) in our in-depth guide.

    What you can do 

    This factor could be easily fixed by hiring a professional to inspect your appliances. You will then find out whether or not your appliances need some minor adjustments, or if you will need to invest in a new unit. 

    Whether or not your unit is faulty and inefficient, you should still be having regular inspections and maintenance done.

    4. Outdated thermostat

    Your thermostat is the control panel of your home's heating system and where you’re able to interact with your heater. An outdated thermostat could mean that your energy usage is higher than it needs to be. 

    Most home thermostats have a lifespan of 10 years, and outdated models could cause your heater to be activated at the wrong time and/or temperature. With that, your thermostat will be working harder than what is required. This is especially true if you don’t have a programmable thermostat.

    What you can do 

    Investing in a smart thermostat is an easy way to save money on your monthly bill and make your system more energy efficient. 

    A smart thermostat will learn a household’s patterns and can then adjust the temperature accordingly. This means that forgetting to turn down the heat when leaving your home will no longer be a problem. 

    Learn more: 5 best smart thermostats of 2021

    5. Changing seasons

    The fluctuation of your gas bill can be highly dictated by weather and changing seasons. During the colder months, your heating system is having to work much harder to regulate the temperature of your home. 

    This means that your heating system will have to be supplied with more gas to keep it running. The increase in natural gas usage will result in you having to pay more when you receive your monthly energy bills.

    What you can do 

    Unfortunately, other than the steps we’ve already outlined above, there isn’t much you can do about changing seasons. The best you can do is to stay on top of habits such as leaving doors and windows open or overusing your thermostat.

    Heating your home with solar

    With gas prices constantly increasing with no signs of dropping anytime soon, there’s really no better time to start heating your home with solar energy

    There are two main options that you can use to heat your home with solar: passive solar heating and active solar heating.

    Passive solar heating 

    Passive heating is where you use heating directly from the sun to heat your home. This way, no active mechanisms are used to gather or distribute the solar heat. 

    This is done by using specific aspects of your home to harness the energy of the sun and use it throughout your house. Aspects such as sun-facing windows, insulation, and shutters can all assist in lowering the heating costs for your home - in a passive way.

    Learn more: How passive solar home design saves you money on energy

    Active solar heating 

    Active solar heating is where solar energy is collected from the sun using a mechanical device, like solar panels. 

    Once you electrify your home, that energy is then able to be dispersed throughout the house to power your heating systems. So instead of relying on fluctuating natural gas and electricity prices, you’re able to draw on clean energy. 

    Active solar heating will give you the potential to eliminate your electric bill completely. To find out more about what you can save by going solar, visit our solar calculator.

    Find out how much a solar system will cost for your specific home

    Key takeaways

    • You should expect your gas bill to continue to rise with gas prices steadily increasing. Finding a fixed rate gas plan could be a worthy solution to keep price hikes at bay.
    • Factors such as outdated appliances, outdated thermostats, and insufficient insulation will also play a part in your gas bill rising.
    • Regularly performing a home energy audit can help you lower your gas bill and create a more energy-efficient home.
    • Electrifying and heating your home with solar is the best way to lower your utility bills while shrinking your carbon footprint.
     - Author of Solar Reviews

    Cameron Bates

    Blog Author

    Cameron is a business analyst and content specialist at SolarReviews.

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