How To Cut Your Gas Bill

If your home is heated by gas, you may be getting large winter heating bills. Here are some tips to trim them.

The winter chill can be biting until you receive that first huge heating bill. Then your temperature boils over as you try to figure out how to pay it.

Gas home heating generally is comfortable and safe, but it can be costly, especially if you own a home and have a family. Here are a few suggestions that may be helpful.

1. Set the thermostat lower by day and by night. When everyone is sleeping, set the temperature gauge to 62 degrees. When they get up, crank it up to 70. Unless your house is especially drafty, your family should not get too uncomfortable with these temperatures. Remind everyone to put on a sweater and wear slippers if they get chilly. It doesn't hurt to sleep in warm flannels and socks, either. Throw an extra blanket or quilt on the bed, and be sure children keep warm.

2. Set your hot water tank to a lower temperature. While some people prefer it at 115 to 120 degrees, you may be able to reduce the gauge to 105 degrees or so. Check with your hot water tank maintenance person to be sure that is a safe temperature for your family. If so, it may save several dollars on your monthly gas bill. Use the hot wash and warm or cool rinse functions for laundry and dishes, which also will save money, as opposed to both a hot wash and rinse. Avoid the dishwasher dry option, as the dishes can air dry instead and save gas heating costs for this task, too.

3. Check window moldings to be sure they are tight and solid. Replace rotted or moldy areas to prevent cold air from seeping inside. Inspect thresholds under each entrance door by placing your hand at that level to check for cold air. Put a snake-length fabric door stop against any doorways that are wide enough to permit air to pass through.

4. Turn down the thermostat when you leave the house by day or overnight. Keeping it set at 60 degrees or so should protect water pipes from freezing, and will restrict warm air wastage.

5. Restrict warm air from unused areas. Have the chimney inspected to be sure it doesn't let in an unusual amount of cold air. Keep the flue closed when the fireplace is not in use. Close vents and doors to unused rooms.

6. Avoid opening and closing windows and doors throughout the day. If possible, limit exits and entrances to groups of family members to prevent cold air from sweeping in each time someone arrives or leaves.

7. If you must open the house windows for fresh air, crack them an inch or two. You need just enough of an opening to let cool air in without letting all the heated house air escape.

Chipping away at your monthly gas bill a little at a time may not seem like much effort, but you'll be happy to see those small adjustments accumulate on your next statement. Encourage each family member to lend a hand, and then take everyone out for pizza with the money you save.

© High Speed Ventures 2011