Savings Made Simple
Energy efficiency does not have to be complicated. Learn about natural gas efficiency and explore no- and low-cost ways to start saving natural gas in your home today! Choosing energy efficient upgrades reduces harmful environmental impacts, improves your comfort and lowers your Nicor Gas bill for years to come. Discover how easy and affordable natural gas efficiency can be by exploring the links below.
- What is Natural Gas Efficiency?
- Why Choose Natural Gas Efficiency?
- How Much Could You Save?
- Easy Ways to Save at Home
Nearly 60 million (more than half of) American homes are heated with natural gas. Because natural gas is the fuel of choice in so many American households, improvements in residential energy efficiency can significantly reduce natural gas usage nationwide. Residential customers can reduce their energy use and lower their monthly bills while improving the comfort of their homes by choosing higher efficiency products when replacing heating and water heating equipment. This allows Nicor Gas customers to enjoy a higher level of comfort at a lower cost. On the national scale, utilizing efficiency options can help to lower the seasonal volatility in natural gas prices and provide good stewardship of our energy resources.
Choosing high efficiency natural-gas saving products and taking simple steps to save natural gas at home will save you money, improve the comfort of your home, and help improve your carbon footprint and the environment.
- According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American home spends $2,200 per year on energy costs. What guzzles up the energy?
- Heating = 29% of the average home’s energy use
- Water Heater = 14% of the average home’s energy use
- If you are replacing your furnace, boiler, or water heater, ask about a high efficiency product instead of the standard. You may be surprised how affordable energy efficiency can be!
- Improvements in the efficiency of your home’s furnace, boiler, or water heater can reduce energy costs and increase savings. By participating in the Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program, not only can you save at the time of purchase and installation – but you will continue to save month after month with lower utility bills.
Improve Your Comfort
- An inefficient home is likely an uncomfortable home. If you are too hot or too cold, or you have hot water problems, you should consider natural gas efficiency. With proper installation, gas-saving products can improve equipment operation, maintain balanced temperatures, and ensure your comfort.
- Natural Gas is a fossil fuel. While natural gas is the cleanest and most efficient fossil fuel that supplies nearly one-fourth of all of the energy in the United States, over 98% of the natural gas that we use in the United States comes from sources in North America.
Use the Payback Calculator for Upgrading to High Efficiency Equipment to estimate the savings you could achieve by upgrading to high efficiency.
There are so many ways to decrease your energy usage at home and lead a more efficient lifestyle. Try each of these tips just once - you'll be surprised at how easy it is to save!
Heating Your Home:
- Heat Responsibly: Lower your furnace thermostat by 2 degrees (health permitting). Install a programmable thermostat to help automatically regulate your home's temperature for comfort control and energy savings.
- Maintain Your Equipment: Keep your heating system tuned-up to operate at maximum efficiency.
- Keep Filters Clean: Clean or replace your furnace filters according to manufacturer recommendations and save on your heating costs.
- Watch Out for Obstructions: For safety and efficiency, keep all heating vents and furnace registers free of dirt, lint and obstructions.
Water Heating in your Home:
- Manage Your Hot Water: Set your water heater thermostat at the lowest temperature that provides you with sufficient hot water. For most households, 120°F water is fine (usually about mid-way between "medium" and "low" settings). If you have a dishwasher, check to see if you can use 120°F water. Follow the manufacturer's directions.
- Go With Low-Flow: Install shower heads and faucets with low-flow water restrictors.
- Take Efficient Showers: The average household uses 15-25 gallons of hot water for a bath. A 5-minute shower uses 10 gallons or less, but most sources agree that the average American showers from 7.5 to 10.4 minutes. It may be helpful to determine the flow rate of your shower to know whether a bath or a shower is more energy efficient.
- Upgrade to High Efficiency: If your water heater is over 15 years old it could begin to leak. Consider replacing it with a new gas water heater that qualifies for a rebate with the Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program.
- Go for ENERGY STAR®: When replacing your clothes washer, front-loading washers use less water and energy than standard top-loading models. When replacing a natural gas appliance always look for the ENERGY STAR rated or high efficiency appliances.
Cooking and Baking
- No Need to Preheat? Preheat your oven only if the recipe calls for it – preheating is often unnecessary for cooking and wastes a lot of natural gas!
- Cover Up Your Food: place lids tightly on pans to speed cooking time and minimize the amount of natural gas required.
- Clean is Efficient! Keep your oven and burners clean to maximize its efficiency.
- Bake and Broil Efficiently: Use glass or ceramic pans when cooking in your oven – you can turn down the temperature about 25 degrees and your meal will cook just as quickly!
- No Peeking! Keep the oven door closed while baking to prevent heat loss – each time you open the oven, it loses about 20 percent of its heat.
- Leftovers Are Convenient and Efficient: It doesn't take as much energy to reheat food as it does to cook it – cook larger portions when using your oven, and refrigerate or freeze the leftovers for another meal. This will also save you preparation time!
SAFETY FIRST! Never use the gas range for room heating! It's not designed for this purpose and can create a hazardous situation.
- Clean Dryers Are Efficient Dryers: Clean the lint filter before drying each load to cut down on drying time. Remove any buildup of lint and dust from the dryer exhaust, the back of the dryer, and behind the lint screen periodically to increase your dryer’s efficiency.
- Dryers Need Occasional Maintenance: Replace leaky exhaust terminals , and check the outside dryer exhaust terminal to make sure it closes as it was designed to do and is not blocked with lint.
- Find the Right Balance: Always dry full loads, but avoid overloading you dryer. By only drying full loads you use the dryer less often, but excessively large loads take longer to dry.
Natural Gas Fireplaces
- Relax and Enjoy Your Fireplace: Natural gas logs are meant to be enjoyed and won’t heat your home efficiently – use them only when you are in the room to enjoy sitting by the fire!
- Keep the Cold Out and the Heat In: Close fireplace dampers, if possible, when not in use.
Natural Gas Barbeques
- BBQ Smart: Reduce cooking time and save energy by keeping the lid closed as much as possible.
- Get the Most Out of Your Grilling: Heating up your grill takes time and energy. Grill extras and refrigerate or freeze the leftovers. You’ll save time and energy, especially when you have the extra space on your grill!
- Barbeque or Grill in the Summer as Much as Possible: Using your stove and oven in the summer warms your home significantly, and the time to enjoy outdoor cooking passes quickly!
Pools and Spas
- Make the Most of Your Heating: Pools and spas require a lot of energy to heating them – reduce your energy usage (and your gas bill!) by covering them when not in use. A properly-sized pool or spa cover also minimizes chemical loss and water evaporation – saving you even more on overall maintenance.
- Maintain Your Equipment: Like most equipment in your home, pool and spa heaters require ongoing maintenance. Schedule an annual inspection and de-liming of your heat exchanger to increase heating efficiency and prolong the life of your equipment.
- Don’t Over-Clean (or Under-Clean!) Your Pool or Spa: Check with your pool service technician to determine the minimum number of hours required to run pool filtering and cleaning systems to ensure you don’t run your equipment unnecessarily and waste energy!
Natural Gas Patio Heaters
- Patio Heaters Heat You, Not the Air: Don’t leave your heater running and wasting energy on an empty patio!
Shelter Your Heater and Your Guests from the Wind: Minimize heat loss and keep your guests comfortable by installing your heater in a sheltered area, or mounting it along a wall or in eaves. Always follow installation instructions and specifications, and accommodate for manufacturer’s required clearances!