high gas bill

Why is my gas bill so high?

When winter kicks in, it’s time to once again start heating homes throughout the country. For many homeowners, this means increasing gas consumption and the highest gas bills of the year. If you’re looking for ways to save on your gas bill, a great option is to electrify your home heating systems. Pairing electric heating systems with a solar photovoltaic (PV) system will help to insulate yourself from rising future costs of both gas and electricity.

Causes of high gas bills

There are several factors that could contribute to an expensive gas bill:

  • Fuel prices
  • Changes in the whether 
  • Outdated or inefficient heating technology

Fuel prices

Across the country, houses are heated with natural gas, oil, propane, and electricity. In many parts of the country, natural gas is the most common fuel used to run furnaces in homes. Although the US is in the midst of a natural gas boom with relatively inexpensive gas coming from the Mid-Atlantic, the price of natural gas and your respective gas bills seems to keep increasing every winter.

In places like the Northeast, a large contributor to this trend is the electric sector shifting away from coal and towards more natural gas. Due to this cheap supply of natural gas throughout the year, natural gas recently overtook coal as the largest source of electricity generation nationwide, according to the Energy Information Administration. New England, in particular, is run largely on natural gas because every coal unit in the region has either already retired or announced a date in the near future by when they will shutter operations.

This means that in the winter when you need natural gas to heat your home, you might be competing for that natural gas against the electric power plants that also need the natural gas to run. As a result, your gas bill is so high due to the simplest economic principle: supply and demand.

Some regions are calling for an increased natural gas pipeline capacity to keep up with the rising demand. However, building a pipeline costs a significant amount of money, which eventually gets passed on to you as a homeowner through gas or electricity bills. Even though supply would increase, your baseline cost for gas may also increase throughout the rest of the year to pay for any additional pipeline capacity. (This is to say nothing of the local and global environmental impact of building new pipelines, which has been covered to great length elsewhere.)

Changes in the weather

The colder it is outside, the harder your heating system has to work to keep your home at a comfortable temperature, which means consuming more gas and spending more money to keep your home heated. Additionally, if you heat your home water supply using gas, colder outside temperatures may result in more warm water being used, thus increasing your gas usage even further.

Outdated or inefficient heating technology

All technology degrades over time, including home heating systems. As time goes on, these technologies become less efficient and require more energy to produce the same amount of heat than they would have earlier in their life. If you’re using an old gas-powered boiler or furnace to heat your home, the lower efficiencies will mean utilizing more gas, even if you’re keeping your thermostat at the same temperature as you have in the past.

How to save on your gas bill

You shouldn’t just settle for paying high gas bills; here are a few of the many ways you can save on gas costs:

Electrify your appliances

The best option for saving on your gas bill is to reduce your gas usage as much as possible by electrifying your home heating appliances. By switching from relying on natural gas to power your furnace or boiler to using electricity for your home heating needs, you now reduce your gas bill to zero. The most common option to electrify your heating needs are air source heat pumps, which are much more efficient than oil furnaces or electric resistance heaters at converting energy into heat. As a bonus, electric heating systems can be powered with solar energy should you decide to install a solar system on your property.

Upgrade your insulation

The less heat you need for your home, the less gas you’ll use. Therefore, a common way to save money on your gas bill is to invest in better home insulation. If you live in an old home your insulation may be outdated or have leaks; having a professional conduct a home energy audit to identify areas susceptible to heat leakage will help save you money on your gas bill. Properly insulated windows, attics, and ducts will help trap heat in your home for longer amounts of time and save you money.

Adjust your daily habits

You can save money on your gas bill without spending anything out of pocket by simply adjusting your habits around the house. Here are a few examples of actions you can take:

  1. Take advantage of natural heat from the sun by opening up window shades when the sun is shining on certain sides of your home.
  2. During colder months, consider wearing extra layers of clothes and keeping the temperature set lower than normal.
  3. To help facilitate better circulation of heat in your home, keep the vents and radiators throughout your home clear from obstructions.
  4. Shutting doors to unused rooms and closing the vents in those rooms ensures that you don’t heat spaces that you don’t spend time in, and instead the heat that would have been wasted can be redistributed to the main living spaces in your home.

Install a smart thermostat

One great way to use technology to lower your gas bill is to install a smart thermostat to keep your home at a comfortable, energy-saving temperature. Smart thermostats allow you intelligently adjust temperatures around your home throughout the day and night. For example, you can set your thermostat to automatically lower the heat during work hours so you don’t waste gas while you’re out of the home for the day. You can also set schedules so your home heats up in the morning right as you’re waking up.

Different smart thermostats have a variety of features – check out our review of the best smart thermostats to learn more about your options.

Options for home heating with solar

There are a number of options for heating your home using solar power. For new construction or retrofitting your existing home, a great option is passive solar heating. This method of harnessing the energy of the sun does not rely upon solar panels but rather gathers the heat of solar irradiation through a unique solar-friendly design of the house. All that’s really required at the simplest level is exposing a living area to sunlight to allow the sun to passively warm it throughout the day.

However, you can also heat your home with solar panels. Once you electrify your home heating, you can begin to reduce your overall heating bill by going solar. Now, instead of drawing from either natural gas or the electric grid to power your furnace or air source heat pump, you can use the power of the sun to heat your home throughout the winter, insulating yourself from rising future natural gas and electricity prices. As a bonus, a PV system will also help reduce or eliminate your other electricity costs, helping bring your energy bills as close to zero as possible.

Save money on your electric bill with community solar

Community solar is a great way to save money compared to rooftop solar. By joining a solar farm project in your area, you can actually save 15 percent on your electricity bill by receiving credits. With community solar, most subscriptions involve no upfront cost, guaranteed savings, and allow you to cancel anytime without any penalty fees. Visit our marketplace to find a participating solar farm near you.

Go solar to save on your gas bill

Saving on your gas bill can be as simple as reducing your demand for gas. However, you can also save on your gas bill and keep your home comfortable by electrifying your heating system and investing in solar panels to power your home. But solar helps you save on more than just your gas bill. Check out our solar calculator to see ballpark numbers on how much you could be saving on your utility bills from solar. Ready to take the next step? Register for the EnergySage Marketplace to receive free solar quotes from up to seven local, pre-screened installers today.

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About Spencer Fields

Spencer is the Manager of Market Strategy & Intelligence at EnergySage, where he's able to showcase his expertise around all things energy. Prior to joining EnergySage, he spent five years at Synapse Energy Economics, providing environmental, economic and policy analysis for public interest groups. Spencer has degrees in Environmental Studies and Hispanic Studies from Brown University, meaning when he's not in the office you can find him outside or traveling somewhere to work on his Spanish.

12 thoughts on “Why is my gas bill so high?

  1. Dan

    I also suggest anyone to check for any Gas leak. my Highest bill during winter time was $70 a month. Now Previous month was $130 and now $146 so IT did doubled . I’m going to check for gas leaks. You can purchase a device from Amazon. Gas sniffer.

  2. Poorboy123

    I lives in Chicago Illinois, and my last month gas bill is over $300. The highest since we moved in our house 20 years ago. I called the gas company and they claimed the bill may go down later if the natural gas is cheaper. I also asked why there are so many different fees and taxes charged on my bill?
    And the only thing that they can do for the customers like me is put me on a monthly budget plan.
    I know we have bad inflation now, but not 50% increase on the heating gas !

  3. Happy Hiller

    Hey, great tips! I would also suggest insulating your plumbing system to make it work more efficiently. Insulation on your hot water pipes helps keep the water heated by preventing heat loss, which can lower your utility bills. Insulating your water heater can increase its energy efficiency. If your water heater tank feels warm to the touch, insulation can reduce standby heat loss by 25 to 45%. Water heater insulating blankets easily wrap around the tank for quick insulation.

  4. Addie

    M in NYC and I converted from oil to gas for a two family brownstone home. My oil bill in winter was between 350-700 the highest monthly. Gas has brought that to 1500! What can I do beside revamp to electricity which would probably be the same in NYC. I am adding solar for the first floor and basement which is where the furnace is …. How can I take advantage of the solar for heating with this new gas boiler??

  5. Jmarlan

    our natural gas bill recently went up to just over $300 a month. we replaced a 20 year old furnace with a new one (14 seer) and replaced an old water heater that was previously on propane with one for natural gas.
    there are 3 people in the house and we probably use less than average amount of hot water and keep the house at around 68 degrees in the winter.
    we can’t figure out how a $300/month bill is possible. the gas company is no help, they just get defensive when we ask what the average bill should be and if ours seems normal.

    1. Shawn

      My situations is similar. It’s only two of us. I’m barely home.we keep the thermostat on about 68 degrees and my gas is over 400$

  6. Heating in Gaithersburg

    This is what I needed. Winter is coming and I need to be prepared to make my family feel comfortable this winter season. Should I call a professional HVAC contractor to check my HVAC system? Or just check it myself?

  7. Linda

    Last month my gas bill was a little over $11:00 this month over 31:00 every thing went up plus carbon tax No furnace on and I use a clothes line in summer most weeks do not understand how they can verify this amount of raising up every thing. Looking for an alternative maybe electricity.

  8. lincy

    I also feel the same. Hope the steps you have shared here benefits me by reducing my next month gas bill. Thank you, Author!


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