Updated 5 months ago

5 reasons why your gas bill is so high

Written by Cameron Bates , Edited by Zeeshan Hyder

5 reasons why your gas bill is so high

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As inflation and energy prices steadily increase, you may be worrying about the price of your gas bill. Some reasons why your natural gas bill is rising may surprise you. What’s more surprising is some of the unexpected ways you can save.

How much can you save on your energy bills with solar panels?

Key takeaways

  • Gas bills are dictated by the price of gas and the amount of energy you use.

  • Factors such as outdated appliances, outdated thermostats, and insufficient insulation will play a part in your gas bill rising.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 your home to heat it with solar is the best way to lower your utility bills.

5 reasons why your gas bill is so high

There are five main reasons why your gas bill is high. Some are totally out of your control, while others require you to change just a few habits.

1. Rising fuel prices

The cost of natural gas is the main driver of a high gas bill. 

Many homeowners don’t choose how their homes are heated. Most U.S. homes are retrofitted with gas heat, and upgrading to an alternative like a heat pump or electric heat is costly.

Throughout 2023, natural gas prices have fluctuated wildly due to increased demand and the disruptions caused by war. These global factors can lead to rising costs for everyday people trying to heat their houses or fill their cars with gas.

How you can save:

It’s not up to you how natural gas is priced. However, you can actively turn your thermostat down to use less gas to heat your home. If you have a fireplace, consider using it to heat your living space while you’re home. 

We mentioned switching to alternate heat sources like a heat pump or converting to electric heat, which can be expensive. There are incentives in place that can help lower the costs of these upgrades, so check with the Department of Energy and your local government. 

2. Insufficient insulation

Your insulation keeps the warm air in and cold air out of your home. The better insulated your home, the easier it will be for your heater to regulate temperature. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates you can save up to 15% on your gas bill with 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.

How you can save:

Properly insulating your home is 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 gas appliances will require more fuel to do 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 that 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.

How you can save:

Having your HVAC or heating system inspected regularly by a professional can identify any problems the system is having and fix them before they start costing you money. Plus, regular maintenance can increase the lifespan of your heating system by keeping it in tip-top shape. 

If it’s time to get new gas appliances, find replacements with the Energy Star seal. Energy-efficient appliances will use less energy to get the same job done, thus lowering your gas bill. 

4. Outdated thermostat

Your thermostat is the control panel of your home's heating system. An outdated thermostat could mean that your energy usage is higher than it needs to be. 

Old models could cause your heater to activate at the wrong temperature, thus working harder than needed and overheating your home. If you have an older thermostat, you may have to turn it on and off manually, which can also lead to overheating a space. 

How you can save:

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 can learn a household’s patterns and adjust the temperature accordingly. Forgetting to turn down the heat when leaving your home will no longer be a problem!

If you’re not a fan of smart thermostats or your home isn’t compatible, you can get a programmable thermostat instead. Programmable thermostats don’t require internet access and don’t learn your habits, but you can set a schedule of when it turns your heat on and off. 

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 has to work much harder to regulate your home's temperature. 

During the summer, air conditioners are run by electricity, and gas is used only for gas stoves or to power cloth dryers.

How you can save: 

Unfortunately, you can’t do much because you need to heat your home in the winter!  But, you can take some energy conservation measures to change your habits for some savings. 

For example, keep your home cooler at night and opt for an extra blanket, or keep your blinds open on sunny afternoons to let the natural light warm your space.

Are electricity rates going up

Even if you don’t have a gas bill, you’ve probably seen your electricity bill climb. On average, you can expect electricity prices to increase by 2.36% per year on average. Each state varies, but you can pretty much always count on an increase. In fact, in 1997, the average cost of electricity per kWh was 8.43 cents, and it is now 15.12 cents per kWh. That's an increase of 45% percent!

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 when you use the heat from the sun to warm your home. No active mechanisms are used to gather or distribute the solar heat. 

Honestly, you can’t retrofit an old home with passive solar. It is best to build a home from scratch as a passive solar home, considering things like shading and the direction windows face in the design. 

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. However, solar panels generate electricity, so you can only use solar panels to power an electric heater. 

You can also invest in a solar water heater instead of a gas-powered one. With a solar water heater, you install heat collectors on your roof that heat the water flowing into your home. 

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

Written by Cameron Bates Content specialist

Cameron is a business analyst and content specialist at SolarReviews. He has a strong passion for sustainable energy and ensuring that American families are informed on the environmental and financial benefits of solar energy....

Learn more about Cameron Bates