How high are your natural gas bills? My bills are usually the minimum. The picture includes portions of a few bills. The only natural gas appliances in my house are my heater and water heater. Below are some of the methods I’ve used to conserve natural gas, and I made a surprising discovery.
Tankless water heater: When it was time to replace my water heater several years ago, I switched to the tankless type. I didn’t do this to save money though. I did this because my water heater is in the attic instead of the garage. Ugh! I didn’t like the idea of 50 gallons of water gushing through my ceiling when the bottom rusts out. I did need an electrical outlet installed since the water heater needs electricity to start. For people with large families, an added benefit to a tankless water heater is an unlimited supply of hot water. When I made the change, my normal gas usage went from 5-8 CCF per month to 1-2 CCF per month, and it has stayed that low ever since.
Laundry: I normally use cold water which protects the clothes plus uses no gas.
Dishes: Many years ago, I read that the dishwasher is more efficient when the water is already hot, so I tend to save a few items that need hand-washing. I will wash them right before I run the dishwasher. I only run my dishwasher when it’s a full load. This is also water and energy efficient.
Windows: During the winter, I keep the blinds and curtains open to let in some of the heat. I do the opposite in the summer. So, yes, my house is dark and warm in the summer but bright and cool in the winter.
Heater: I don’t use my heater a much as other people. I get hot really easily, and I prefer cooler temperatures. Plus, I love cuddling under my afghans. For a while, I never used my heater. Several years ago, my hands started having a bad reaction to being too cold, and I started setting the heater to 61 degrees. Wearing tipless gloves (so I could still type) helped, but using my heater helped even more, and I stopped wearing as many layers of clothes in the house. Lately, I’ve been setting it to 63, but it hasn’t been coming on since my house has been between 64 and 68 degrees.
As I started analyzing the details of my bills for the past year and the bills from when I had a tank water heater, I realized how cheap it is to use natural gas. I get charged the expensive “customer charge” even if I use no gas. I guess I will start using my heater a little more to add comfort. I will just have a little more wear and tear on the heater. A few times lately, I set it to 65 or 68, and the 3 CCF bill was not even one dollar more than the 1 CCF bill! I think I’m going to try 66 degrees which seems to be my sweet spot of sleeping well, not being too cold, and still cuddling under my blankets.
This was a great lesson for me! Winters in my house are going to be more comfortable! What about you? Are there large differences ($10+) or small differences (under $5) in your gas bill depending on use? If they’re large, are you willing to make changes to lower them? If they’re small, maybe your winters can be more comfortable too!