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 says the price of natural gas is expected to rise dramatically during the winter heating season. Find out why the price of natural gas is getting more expensive and how to save on gas heating bills this year. 

Why Is Natural Gas Getting More Expensive? 

Each year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) releases a winter fuel outlook. Energy costs have already gotten more expensive globally, according to Reuters. This is because the demand for energy is now higher than the available supply. 

How More Expensive Natural Gas Prices Will Affect You 

Higher natural gas prices will affect you as you turn on your heating system and receive utility bills. Here’s about how much it will impact the average household during the six-month winter heating season, in contrast 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 Tips 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 steps you can take to you can do to keep your heating costs affordable 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 includes: 

  • Testing and cleaning gas burners for proper operation. 
  • Checking the heat exchanger for cracks to avoid dangerous carbon monoxide leaks. 
  • Monitoring warm air flow and blower operation to ensure peak performance. 
  • Examining the gas valve to make sure fuel supply pressure is right. 
  • Inspecting electrical parts for damage. 
  • Checking your thermostat to make sure it’s working correctly. 

Having your HVAC system maintained each year helps control energy use, reduces the likelihood of breakdowns and may even make your heating system last longer. Plus, most manufacturers require it to keep your valuable warranty valid. This warranty protects you if a major part, like the heat exchanger, fails on your home’s heating system during a certain period. 

We know you’re busy and that it’s easy to forget about 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 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 every visit 

2. Get a Smart Thermostat 

HVAC professionals recommend 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 anywhere 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 capabilities with an app to control 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 adjust accordingly. 
  • Eco mode settings that automatically adjust the thermostat to save you more money. 
  • Smart programming that creates an energy-efficient heating schedule based on your temperature preferences. 

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

3. Choose Energy-Efficient Thermostat Settings 

Your smart thermostat will handle creating an efficient schedule that potentially reduces your heating bill, but you’ll need to program it for a few days so it can pick up on your temperature preferences. We recommend 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 chilly, these ways to save can help keep your home feeling warmer and your heating bill under control: 

  • Use 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, like double pane with insulating gas or triple pane. 
  • Set ceiling fans to counterclockwise so they can disperse warm air that collects 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 preventing cold air drafts and keeping warm air where it belongs. 
  • Make sure heating vents are open. Closing vents in rooms you don’t use is a bad idea since it can affect 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 leaks a lot of hot air through the attic. 
  • Schedule 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 Sleeping 

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 experimenting with your thermostat for about a week to find the right temperature. Start with the temperature set at 67 degrees and decreasing it by a degree each night. You might feel cold initially, but you’ll probably be surprised how comfortable you can be at a cooler temperature. And how much it can affect your heating bill! 

While You’re Gone 

If you don’t have any pets, you can set your thermostat as cool as 50 degrees. This keeps your heating system running and your pipes from freezing. But don’t be tempted to jack up your furnace when you get back, instead of setting it back to 68. This won’t warm your home up faster. It’ll just drive up your heating bill and result in wear and tear on your furnace. 

If you have pets, you can follow the Department of Energy’s suggestion to turn your thermostat back 7-10 degrees while you’re gone. Doing this while you’re at work can save you up to 10% on heating bills each year. 

4. Get a New Furnace 

Replacing 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. Simply put, this rating measures how efficiently your furnace uses fuel for heat. 

Newer furnaces have an average AFUE of 95%, while older models only achieve around 80%. Getting a new furnace that’s 15% more efficient can result in big savings on your heating bills over your furnace’s life. While your exact utility bill savings will vary based on local 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 Thinking about Furnace Installation 

Here are a few other signs that it’s time to start considering furnace installation

  1. Age. Most furnaces run between 15-20 years with proper maintenance. If yours is close to this age, you should start planning for replacement to avoid being without heat when your furnace breaks down 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 frequent. 
  1. Reduced comfort and pricey heating bills. As your furnace ages, it uses more energy. You’ll notice this through your home being less comfortable and your heating bill being higher. 
  1. Unusual noises. It’s normal for your furnace to make some noise as it turns on and off. But some sounds, particularly rattling, banging or screeching, are a clear sign that something’s wrong. 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 consuming more fuel and may even be producing carbon monoxide, which can be fatal in large doses. Furnaces leaking this dangerous gas should be replaced right away. 

We understand that furnace replacement is a major investment. It can also be a surprise 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 covering everything, with no large up-front cost or down payment required. 

For just 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 each appointment 
  • Annual preventive maintenance and energy savings up to 30%** 

Save More on Heating Costs with Neal Harris Service Experts 

Although natural gas prices are going up, there are many ways to reduce your heating bill with our Expert assistance. To get started, call us at 816-787-0500 for an appointment and we’ll see what you can do to spend less 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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