Inspect your gas bills and compare your consumption to others. It's worth spending some time to learn its patterns. That's a first step to setting goals for home energy improvement.
Like with the analysis of electric bills, you should two basic categories of gas expense in your analysis:
- the seasonal (mostly involving your space heating costs);
- and the baseload, involving water heaters and possibly gas clothes dryers and other gas equipment.
Baseload gas expense is almost constant all over the year, which enables us to identify and separate it from the seasonal gas costs in the utility's records (during the hot months there isn't other gas uses besides water heating and, say, clothes drying).
Your estimated gas expense for the twelve months may look like that shown in the graphic above.
Analyzing you hot water gas heating Expenditures
Once estimated your gas water heating costs, you may then compare them with national averages (see the table at right) or other benchmarks.
If they are above the average, you should ask yourself why, and how to reduce your gas consumption. See Water Heating Guide. If they are below, you still may want to cut them, by installing a solar hot water heater (which can provide savings of 80% in sunny climates). See Solar Water Heaters Guide.
Comparing your heating Gas Bills
Above all, compare your heating gas bills with those of Energy Star homes (say, 30-50% less than the national average levels) or those of German passive solar houses (70-80% energy savings). The table above shows these benchmarks.
Energy savings above 50% or more are difficult to reach in existing homes, but not at all impossible if you are going to build a new home. Do not forget that most of the heat generated in buildings with low levels of insulation is lost through the attic, the walls, the floors and the windows… The main function of heating systems in these homes is not so much to heat them, but to replace the continuous heat loss. And that’s why super-insulated and airtight homes (German Style Super-insulated Passive Houses) can reduce heating bills to low levels.