How To Reduce Your Gas Bill in Winter
Feb 27, 2023
by EmPower Solar
For once, New York is experiencing a mild winter. Bad weather has been at a minimum, with no ‘storm of the centuries’ whipping through our towns. Despite this, you may have noticed that your heating bills have been increasing, even if you keep the heat turned low, and wondered how to reduce your gas bill in winter. This can be attributed to the rising cost of gas, and the price of heating oil is also on the rise. Last month it cost an average of $0.50 a gallon, up from $0.40 a gallon in 2022 and $0.30 a gallon in 2021.
There are a number of ways you can reduce your heating bills. The first is by changing out old windows and doors to new energy efficient ones. You can also switch older appliances, like a gas or electric stove, for one that requires less energy, like an induction stove. Perhaps the best way to reduce gas bills year-round is by investing in a solar system for your home and pairing it with a heat pump.
How solar panels reduce electricity bills?
Solar panels work by absorbing the sun’s energy and converting it to electricity that can be used to power your home. When you invest in solar energy, you are no longer relying on energy from the electric grid, but rather are producing your own electricity at no added cost. Occasionally, during times of low production, you may need to supplement your system’s production with grid energy.
Some homeowners also choose to install a battery backup system, like the Tesla Powerwall. This technology stores excess energy created by your panels that can be used in the event of a power outage. During an emergency, the Powerwall will automatically detect the outage and disconnect from the grid and restore power to your home. No need to worry about running out of charge, since the Powerwall will replenish its energy storage during regular sunlight hours.
During your initial consultation, our solar experts will prepare a solar system that can create enough energy to meet all your electric needs. Your panels will also produce the most amount of energy during the day when the sun is at its highest .However, this is also when the least amount of energy is typically used. When you enroll in a program called net metering, this excess energy is credited to your account. You can use these credits when your system is producing as much energy, like at night or during cloudy days.
Because of net metering, many homeowners end up paying around $20 a month for electricity, which is the required grid connection fee. We estimate that over your system’s 25-year life expectancy, you can save up to $100,000 on electric bills. As the prices of natural gas and oil continue to increase, learning how to reduce gas bills in winter is critical, making these savings become even more important.
How much does going solar cost?
Like many home improvement projects, solar is an investment. We estimate that the average system costs around $20,000 to $40,000, and we offer three ways to pay for your system: purchasing, leasing, or through a solar loan. This price can be lowered significantly by combining incentives and rebates.
Through the federal investment tax credit, or ITC, homeowners can receive a 30% tax credit. New York State also offers a credit of 25%, or up to $5,000 and solar systems are eligible for a sales tax exemption in locations like New York City, Nassau County, and Suffolk County. When combining these offers, some homeowners are able to reduce the cost of their system by up to 50%.
What is a heat pump system?
Heat pumps are a highly efficient way of controlling the temperature inside your home. Instead of forcing heated (or cooled) air into your home, heat pumps work by transferring air between your house and the outside world. Heat pumps work to both heat and cool this exchange of air, eliminating the need for separate systems.
Though heat pumps still run on electricity, they are much more efficient that traditional heating appliances. An air source heat pump can deliver up to three times more energy than it consumes, and uses 50% less electricity than other heating methods, including baseboard heaters. Geothermal heaters are even more efficient, requiring 3.6 times less electricity than an air source heat pump.
Heat pump incentives
There are even incentives available for installing a heat pump at your home. The same Investment Tax Credit (ITC) that offers rebates for going solar also offers a 30%
incentive for heat pumps through 2032. New York State also has a specific rebate for installing a home heat pump, allowing homeowners to claim a 25% tax credit, up to $5,000.
PSEG LI offers several rebates depending on your project. For a partial-hour project, the rebates range from $350-375/12,000 BtUs and $100 per smart thermostat installed. For a whole house project, the rebates range from $1,000-5,000/12,000 BtUs depending on if you are an income eligible customer.
ConEd offers a rebate of $5,000 per 10,000 Btu/h of heating capacity off geothermal, up to 70% of projects costs.
How to reduce gas bill in winter?
You may decide to go solar without adding a heat pump, or vice versa, though the best way to maximize savings is to pair solar and a heat pump.
As mentioned, heat pumps run on electricity. Powering a heat pump using a traditional energy source, like oil, will cost a typical family about $4,600/year. This family is able to save more money by pairing their heat pump with energy from the electric grid, and their yearly cost would be about $2,565.
The most savings are achieved by pairing a geothermal heat pump with a home solar system. An appropriately sized system will be able to create enough energy to power the pump year round, culminating in a yearly cost of $760.
A home solar owner who is able to keep their monthly electric bill at $20 a month due to net metering will only spend $140 each year on powering their home. If they add a geothermal heat pump to their appropriately sized system, they can greatly reduce their heating and cooling bills year round, this homeowners total electricity spend (including heating and cooling) would total $1,010. It’s clear that solar + heat pump is the best way to reduce gas and electric bills in winter, and all year.
Your next steps
If you’re tired of wondering how to lower your gas bill in the winter, you can schedule a free consultation and discover your home’s potential savings. Contact us today to make high heating and electric bills a thing of the past.
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About the Author
EmPower Solar develops, engineers, installs, and services solar and battery systems for residential and commercial clients. Since 2003, EmPower Solar has empowered thousands of New York homeowners and businesses with 47 megawatts of distributed solar. Its vision is to create a new energy paradigm powered by clean, renewable energy for a more prosperous, healthy, and civil world. The company culture is defined by the EmPowering Way, which results in consistent 5-star customer service reviews. For more information visit empower-solar.com.