What you can expect from rising natural gas prices
Higher than average natural gas prices in recent years may result in increased home heating costs again this winter.
We know this can impact your family. If you find yourself in a financial crisis, there are resources to help pay your heating costs.
To stay informed on this topic, check this page periodically.
Manage your heating bill
It’s true: When temperatures drop, energy usage rises. While our rates stay the same, higher natural gas prices and increased energy use will lead to higher bills. But you don’t have to wait for your next bill; you can make changes now and monitor the impact.
Components of your heating bill
Iowa: Understanding your gas bill
Wisconsin: Understanding your gas bill
Common cold weather questions
If my thermostat is always set to the same temperature, why did my bill go up so much?
Here’s what’s happening. The colder it gets:
- The faster your home loses heat.
- The harder the furnace has to work to keep the temperature up.
- The more gas and electricity the furnace uses, which causes a higher bill.
Temperatures can vary substantially over the 30-day period of the bill. Even a few days of colder temperatures can cause a noticeable impact.
Save money by setting your thermostat lower at night and when you’re not home. That way, your home can retain heat more easily and your furnace doesn’t have to work as hard.
Understanding your heating bill
Frigid temperatures mean customers use more heating fuel
- Whether you heat with natural gas, electricity or another fuel, colder temperatures mean your heating equipment must work harder to keep your home warm. Your energy use goes up the larger the gap is between the outside temperature and your desired in-home temperature.
- Humidifiers, ovens and dryers use a lot of energy. Monitor and limit their use to keep your bill down.
- When major appliances like refrigerators, furnaces and humidifiers don't function, they can use substantial amounts of energy.
Ways to save
- Turn down your thermostat. Make a plan with your family to set it to 68 degrees when you're home and awake, as low as possible to sleep comfortably at night, and down 10 degrees when no one's home. Consider a smart or learning thermostat to take out the guesswork.
- Open the shades. Let the sun’s rays warm rooms during the day. Close the shades at night to keep heat in.
- Seal windows and doors. Heat escapes and cool air enters through leaks in doors and windows. Consider weather stripping or caulking to close the leaks. Talk to a contractor if you need help.
- Get a furnace tuneup. Keep your furnace clean, lubricated and properly adjusted to reduce energy use.
- Keep dampers shut. Traditional fireplaces cause a lot of energy loss because chimneys pull heated air out of the house and release it. When not in use, keep the damper closed. Make sure there are no smoldering embers first.
- Turn fans off. Kitchen and bath ventilating fans can blow out a house-full of heated air if left on. Turn them off after they’ve done their job.
- Change your furnace filter. A dirty filter makes your air handler work much harder. Replace it to save energy and improve air quality.
- Clear space around your air vents. Move any furniture that may be blocking vents so air can circulate more efficiently.