Receiving a gas or electricity bill is never enjoyable, especially when it’s a lot higher than you might have expected, and having to pay them is even worse. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce your gas bill. Understanding where you could be energy-saving in your home is the first step to receiving a gas bill that doesn’t make you cringe.
If you’re interested learning how to save on gas usage and start saving money on your next bill, read on ahead.
Top 12 tips to help reduce your gas bill
1. Check your gas bill is correct
There’s a possibility your energy provider (otherwise known as your retailer) might have charged you the wrong amount on your gas bill. Incorrect charges can happen if your energy distributor ( the company responsible for supplying gas to your home) is unable to read your meter. In this scenario, your provider produces an estimated reading to charge you for your usage.
If your estimated gas bill is higher than the actual amount, 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 if your provider has not already adjusted the previous bill.
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 to record your gas usage for billing purposes; however, you can also read your own meter at any point in time. Understanding how to read your meter can be useful if you suspect your bill doesn’t align with your usage.
Metric and digital meters record your gas usage in cubic metres. Simply read the black and white numbers from left to right while ignoring the red numbers, as these are used for testing. 2
Imperial and clock face meters measure gas in cubic feet and use dials. If this is the meter you have, know that the four dials on the meter revolve in the opposite direction to the one next to it — clockwise, then anticlockwise, and so forth.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 gas 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:
- Seasonal changes. The difference in temperature throughout the year could impact your gas bill. If your provider offers a seasonal tariff, they might charge 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, so the cost increases.
- Your house. If you’ve recently moved into an older home, you may find your energy costs increase due to its less-efficient structure. Perhaps the house isn’t insulated so you might be consuming more energy due to heat loss.
- Changes in your lifestyle. If you’ve recently moved in with a partner or friends or started working from home, you might notice an increase in your usual gas usage and general energy consumption. 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 turn off all appliances, including electrical appliances and pilot lights, and shut off the gas at your gas meter or cylinder. If safe to do so, open all doors and windows to your house for ventilation. Next, you should contact a licensed gas fitter to come investigate the problem. However, if the gas smell comes from the gas meter or pipe leading to the street, contact your distributor to alert them of the issue – details are located on your gas bill.
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.
4. Be economic about the cold
Is it really that cold, or is it just a little chilly?
It can be difficult to save on gas in winter when it’s cold. But if a chill sets in, don’t just pump up the heating, and in doing so, pump up your heating bill. Instead, try putting on socks and a jumper and add an extra blanket 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, consider some energy-efficient heating options. Generally, gas is cheaper than electricity and can be used to power gas heaters, underfloor heating, furnaces and more. If possible, focus heating the living areas of your home rather than trying to maintain the same temperature across the whole house; this will decrease the amount of energy needed to keep you comfortable.
5. Make changes to your water usage
If you’re looking for how to reduce your gas bill further and you have a gas hot water system, try having a shower instead of a bath. It could save you on both water and heating, since showers generally use less water and, in turn, less heating. Taking shorter showers can also help with your utility bills. Try installing a low-flow showerhead and fix any leaking taps to help you save even more water and heating.
Be more conscientious of energy use by switching to washing laundry with cold water when possible. Even changing just from hot to warm water can use up to 50% less energy with each washing load.4 Try lowering the temperature settings on your dishwasher and washing machines as well, so heating the appliances consumes less gas.
6. Turn off the gas when you’re going away
An easy gas-saving tip to help have a reduced gas bill is to turn the gas hot water system off when you’re going 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 goes unused.
7. Adjust your thermostat (or purchase a new one)
Adjusting both your water heating and central heating thermostats could save you on your gas bill. If you lower 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, but you might notice a decrease in heating costs.
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.
8. Maintain your system
As with any other appliance and system, regular maintenance will keep your gas heating system running efficiently for longer. When it’s due, organise a service on your heating system and check your heater’s filters for built-up dirt or dust to make sure everything is in top condition.
9. 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 almost half!3 If you want to know how to lower your 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 cold air 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.
10. 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.
11. 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 your water heater will be 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 energy systems for swimming pools and spa heating.
You can find out more about solar energy or other renewable energy options in Australia.
12. Switch to a better energy plan
Of course, a great way to save on 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.