When trying to reduce natural gas bills, the first thing most people will think about is finding a cheaper price for their supply. However, despite gas being used for only a few specific tasks around the home, there are ways to reduce natural gas consumption and make savings.
Gas is most commonly used in domestic situations for heating. The only real variable is what it’s used to heat, whether it is powering a hot water heater, cooking appliances, or just heating the home itself, there are ways to keep using gas for the same purpose, but just reduce the amount used.
Cooking with gas allows far more flexibility than older style electric cooking appliances, and that’s the key to using less gas in the kitchen. Most recipes will instruct you to pre-heat the oven before putting any food inside, but at the speed gas ovens can heat up to cooking temperature, there’s often no need to wait. Putting on the oven and waiting, then opening the door again will lose a good deal of the heat anyway, so try putting your food in when you turn on the appliance. It may require some careful checking for the first few tries to be sure you get the timing right, but it’s an easy way to reduce the amount of gas used. It’s also a good idea to check the seals on gas ovens regularly, ensuring they are working properly and not leaking heat into the room.
Another trick is to turn the oven off just before the food is done, which allows it to finish cooking using only the residual heat of the oven. The same applies to cooking on gas stoves. Most food will continue cooking after the gas flame is removed just using the retained heat of the cooking pots and the water in the food itself.
Many people have their hot water set quite high, too hot to comfortably put on bare skin, which is why it usually needs to be cooled down using some cold water when we shower or bathe in it. By turning down the thermostat on a gas hot water service, the amount of gas used every day is greatly reduced as the water needs less heating. In a similar vein, it’s usually easy to turn off the gas when going away for a few days or more, which means water isn’t heating up when nobody is home.
If replacing a gas hot water system, consider getting an on demand system for a smaller home or flat, which only uses gas when you need hot water, rather than having a big supply heated all the time. For bigger homes, it may be worth installing a solar system with a gas booster, and letting the sun do some of the work heating up water during the day, while the booster takes over only when the sun isn’t warm enough. Solar systems can also be used to heat swimming pools and spas too.
As with water heating, setting central heating thermostats slightly cooler can save a great deal of gas. Closing off unused rooms will make the central furnace do less work and burn less gas, also it’s a good idea to assess where the thermostat for central heating is placed; the further from a heating vent it’s located, the longer the delay in switching the furnace off again, which may be overheating some areas. With individual gas heaters, setting the flame on low or medium will also save gas while still warming the room.
Saving gas is mostly common sense, but it can mean breaking some long held habits. It’s always a good idea to assess how you use energy, thinking about how you use gas in your home and finding easy ways to use a little bit less every day.