Why Is My Gas Bill So High? Learn The Likely Reasons

The answer to the question “why is my gas bill so high” may come down to simple seasonality. Unless you are on a budget billing plan with your gas utility that averages out your payment over twelve months, your heating bill will likely rise in the winter as you use more natural gas, and dip in the summer with the reduced need to heat your home.

 

But what else causes a spike in your heating bill? Learn the common causes for a consistently high gas bill even in the summer. Then learn what you can do about them to promote energy savings.

Five likely culprits for why electric bills spike

Consistently high bills, or high bills in the summer when heating costs drop for most households, can often be attributed to high gas supply rates, older, inefficient appliances, poor appliance maintenance, window and door drafts, heat loss through the attic or chimney, or opportunities to better manage your thermostat.

High Gas Supply Rates

If your current supplier is your local utility, it’s likely you’re on a variable rate gas plan. A variable-rate plan changes with the seasons, so you may be paying higher gas prices as you use more energy in the winter. A higher gas rate also means you’ll be paying more per unit in the summer.

What you can do:

If you live in an Energy Choice state, this one is an easy fix. Shop gas suppliers and lock in a longer-term fixed-rate gas plan for up to 36 months. See which fixed-rate gas plans Energy Harbor offers in your area to take control of your natural gas bills.

Time for Maintenance

There are a variety of simple maintenance activities you can do in minutes to extend the life of your appliances, reduce safety risks around heat sources, and potentially reduce your gas consumption.

What you can do:

Regularly remove dryer lint from filters and vents. Replace fiberglass furnace filters every 1-2 months, or pleated filters every 3-6 months to improve energy efficiency. Most manufacturers encourage annual maintenance by a professional to ensure all components are clear and functioning well. Schedule for early fall and ask them to service your air conditioner and furnace before the change in seasons.

Outdated Appliances

All appliances degrade over time. It is common for your heating system, dryer, or gas range to become less efficient over the course of its life and to require more energy to produce the same amount of heat.

What you can do:

If you have older gas appliances, look for these common signs of performance problems from Energy Star and consider hiring a specialist to inspect your appliance to ensure there are no major problems. They can inform you when it’s time to invest in a new unit.

Drafts from Doors and Windows

Locating drafts around windows and doors is relatively easy. The temperature differences are often more noticeable there. Wiring holes, plumbing vents, recessed lighting, and basement rim joists are less obvious places you should check and address.

What you can do:

Caulking and weather-stripping is your friend around windows and doors. Try insulating foams that expand to fill exterior holes drilled for cables and plumbing, and use rigid foam insulation in rim joists.

Old or Insufficient Insulation and Windows

The better insulated your home, the less gas you’ll use to maintain a comfortable temperature. One way to save money on your gas bill is to upgrade the insulation in your attic or invest in more energy-efficient windows.

What you can do:

Windows, attics, and chimneys are the most common ways warm air escapes your home. Conduct a home energy audit and consult a professional to identify opportunities to reduce your heating costs.

Thermostat Use

A thermostat is only as effective as its programming. Only one in eight homes have a programmable thermostat, and nearly 90% of homes with programmable thermostats don’t use them as intended.

What you can do:

Invest in a programmable thermostat that keeps your living space at a comfortable, energy-saving temperature (try 68 degrees), and learn how to program it correctly. Or invest in a smart thermostat that will automatically adjust temperatures around your home throughout the day and night, learning your behavior and new ways to save over time.

Other Small Changes

Appliances like the water heater, dryer, and gas range make up a large percentage of our natural gas usage. Like turning off the lights when leaving a room, small adjustments to daily activities like bathing, laundry, and food preparation can lower your gas bill.

What you can do:

Adjust your gas water heater from 140°F to 120°F and add insulation to older water heaters to improve efficiency. Do full loads of laundry to reduce the total loads per month. Remember to turn off the gas oven when not in use. Investing in water-conserving showerheads and shortening shower time also will reduce the amount of hot water needed.

Is a Gas Leak Causing a Spike in My Gas Bill?

While uncommon, if your monthly bill rises suddenly for no clear reason, especially in the summer, the cause could be a natural gas leak. Small gas leaks may be the result of poorly maintained gas appliances, low-grade pipe fittings, a new gas appliance that’s faulty or was improperly installed, or an outdoor leak due to a line break.

 

What you can do: If you ever notice a strong smell of rotten eggs or hissing near gas appliances, open your windows and doors, take all family and pets outside the home, and call 911. Even the occasional faint smell of natural gas should not be ignored. Report it to your gas utility so it can be identified and addressed by a professional.

Compare gas and electric plans with Energy Harbor

By offering fixed-rate plans and long-term contract options that lock in low rates, Energy Harbor can help you find affordable plans that could help you lower your high natural gas bills and electricity bills. Shop and switch today.