No one likes opening their mail to find an enormous gas bill, and we like paying these bills even less. Fortunately, there are ways we can help reduce our gas bill; most of which won’t cost us any more than what we already pay for our usage.
Ready to find out how you could save money? Let’s go!
Top 12 tips to help reduce your gas bill
1. Ask yourself: is my gas bill incorrect?
There’s a possibility your energy provider (also known as your retailer) might’ve charged the wrong amount on your gas bill. Incorrect charges can happen if your energy distributor (i.e. the company responsible for supplying gas to your home) is unable to read your meter, leaving your provider to make an estimated reading to charge you for your usage.
If your gas bill is more than it should be, your provider will often take the overcharged amount (usually if it’s less than $50) off your next bill.1 If the overcharged amount is more than $50, you may have the choice of deducting it from your next bill or having it refunded.
You should contact your provider if you have a query about your gas bill. Alternatively, you can contact your state or territory’s energy ombudsman if you’re not able to resolve your query.
How to read your gas meter
Your energy distributor will read your gas meter for billing purposes, but you can check it yourself now and then. Understanding how to read your meter can be handy if you feel your bill doesn’t align with your usage.
If you have a metric or digital meter (which records gas usage in cubic metres), all you have to do is read the black and white numbers from left to right. As you do read, ignore any red numbers, as these are used for testing.2
For those with imperial or clock face meters (which measure gas in cubic feet), you’ll first need to know that the four dials on the meter revolve in the opposite direction to the one next to it (e.g. clockwise, then anticlockwise).2 To take the gas meter reading, record the number that the pointer has just passed; for example, if it’s between five and six, record five.
Once you have your own reading, you can compare it to your last bill (if available) to see if the daily usage has changed. If your bill doesn’t include your daily usage, you can calculate this yourself by subtracting the last reading from the one you’ve just done, and then dividing that by the number of days since the last reading.
Learn more about how to read your energy bill.
2. Find out why your gas bill went up and take action
Your gas bill might’ve unexpectedly risen for any number of reasons, like incorrect charges or because of:
- seasonal changes. The difference in temperature throughout the year could have an impact on your gas bill, especially if your provider offers a seasonal tariff that charges you more for gas during the winter (these are usually more common in the colder states and territories). This is because the demand for gas is higher in the winter, and so it’s priced higher;
- your house. If you’ve recently moved into an older home, you may find your bills increase due to its less-efficient structure. Perhaps the house isn’t insulated, so you might want to follow Tip 10 and install proper insulation; and
- changes in your lifestyle. If you’ve recently moved in with a partner or friends, or you’ve started working from home, you might notice an increase to your usual gas usage. If this is the case, look through these tips and try to apply them to your household routine.
- gas leaks. It’s possible that a gas leak at your home could be responsible for a high gas bill. If this is the case, it’s vital you alert your provider to the issue so repairs can be arranged.
3. Stop preheating your oven
Gas ovens can reach cooking temperature quickly, so preheating your oven isn’t always necessary.
What’s more, once your oven’s preheated, opening the door to put in your food lets out a lot of heat – defeating the purpose of preheating it in the first place! Try turning on the oven when your food’s ready to cook – it could save you money on your next gas bill.
Try also lowering the temperature settings on your dishwasher and washing machines as well, so not as much gas is needed to heat the water for these appliances either.
4. Switch to a better energy plan
Of course, a great way to reduce your gas bill is to find a new energy plan that’s better suited to your usage and budget. You don’t have to be moving to a new house to switch energy plans; you can switch at any time.
Finding – and switching to – a new energy plan is easy when you use our handy energy comparison service. Just enter a couple of details about yourself and your gas usage, and, within minutes, you can compare a range of quotes, plan features (like usage rates and discounts) and providers.
5. Reduce your gas bill by rugging up
Is it really that cold, or is it just a little chilly?
Rather than pumping up the heating when the temperature drops only a few degrees, try putting on your socks and a cardie, and add a blanket or two to your bed at night. You’ll still feel cosy, and you won’t be spending extra dollars on your gas bill.
If you do need to turn the heating on, though, consider some energy-efficient heating options, including appliances.
6. Make some washing and plumbing changes
Having a shower instead of a bath could save you on both water and heating, since showers generally use less water and, in turn, less heating. Keeping your shower time short can also help. Try installing a low-flow showerhead and fix any leaking taps to help you save even more water and heating.
7. Turn off the gas when you’re going away
An easy gas-saving tip to help reduce your bill is to turn the gas off when you’re going to be away from home for a while; some gas meters may even come with a ‘holiday mode’ function, which lowers the temperature of your water while that setting is on. This way, your gas isn’t wasted by heating water that no one will use.
8. Adjust your thermostat (or purchase a new one)
Adjusting both your water heating and central heating thermostats could save you on your gas bill. By lowering both thermostats by just a few degrees, your heating systems won’t need as much gas to reach the new setting. It’s also likely you won’t notice the difference in water temperature.
If you want to save money on gas but don’t want to always manually adjust your thermostat, why not consider purchasing a programmable one? You’ll be able to set a schedule for your heating, so it won’t use up gas when you’re away from home, asleep or otherwise not using it.
9. Maintain your system
As with any other appliance and system, regular maintenance will keep your gas heating system running efficiently for longer. Organise a service on your heating system when it’s due and check your heater’s filters for built-up dirt or dust.
10. Insulate, seal and contain your home
Having proper insulation in your home can keep it both warm in the winter and cool in the summer – and it could cut your energy bills by up to half!3 If you want to know how to lower you gas bill in the winter, this is one way to do it!
Seal any gaps or cracks in your windowsills or door frames. These gaps could be letting the heat out and the cold in.
You should also try to contain the heat to particular areas of your home by shutting doors to rooms that don’t need to be heated, like the laundry or bathroom. This keeps your heating system from overworking to heat a larger area and helps warm the rooms quicker.
11. Consider an on-demand hot water system
If you live in an apartment or small house, an on-demand gas hot water system may be the best cost and gas-efficient option for you. An on-demand system will only heat water when it’s needed. On the other hand, bigger hot water systems keep a supply of water constantly heated, using more gas in the process.
12. Consider a solar power and gas booster system
Those who live in bigger houses may find a solar-powered system with a gas booster a better option to save gas and money. The sun will heat the water during the day, so it’s ready for peak-time use in the evening and night. The gas booster is then used as a backup when the sun isn’t warm enough. You can also use solar systems for swimming pool and spa heating.
You can find out more about solar energy or other renewable energy options in Australia.