Does your gas bill seem unusually high compared to previous months?
It is probably not due to a gas leak. Gas leaks are noticeable by their strong, rotten egg odor. It is unlikely your bill over the course of a month would dramatically increase due to a gas leak because you would notice that almost immediately by the smell. Gas leaks are not like water leaks, which could be in a faulty toilet or dripping under your house or in a cabinet or basement and continue for days or weeks without being noticed.
Do you pay your gas bill in total every month? If you make partial payments and keep a balance due, and suddenly there is a cold weather snap like this past winter, a higher monthly bill, combined with previous balance dues can add up to a high bill. If you’re facing financial difficulty and need a special payment plan, call 646-7000. Next time your bill is completely paid, immediately sign up for the Equal Monthly Payment Plan at 646-7000 so your gas bill is spread out evenly over 12 months and you won’t experience these sudden spikes during unusually cold months.
What is your thermostat set on? Even in the coldest weather, you should keep it at 68 and turn it down to 59 at night or whenever you are away from home for more than a couple of hours. You should never use a gas oven for heat by leaving it on all day or night with the oven door open. That is dangerous. Anything coming in contact with the burners could start a fire, or a burner blowing out could emit deadly carbon monoxide. It is also costly because the oven runs continually and doesn’t turn off when the room has reached the desired temperature. Never use an oven to heat the house.
Learn to dress in layers. Thermal undershirts and leggings, with regular clothes over them, socks and slippers, stocking caps, sweaters and housecoats will keep you cozy for free. It's also better to sleep in a cool house. Breathing warmed air continually is irritating to the nasal passages and dries out your sinuses. Keep bowls of water near (but not on top of) the heating vents to evaporate moisture into the air.
Open the drapes on sunny days and take advantage of the sun's warmth whenever possible.
Change your furnace filter. A dirty filter will keep your furnace from working at its most efficient.
Are your heating vents blocked by rugs or furniture? Is the fireplace damper open, letting in cold air? Close it.
Is your house weather tight? Do you have cold air coming in through the windows and outside doors? You might need weatherstripping, plastic sheeting, or more attic insulation. Even throwing a blanket over the curtain rod might help. Are the storm windows fully closed? Check the top of the windows. If you don’t normally lock your windows, the top might be open just enough to be letting in cold air.
Did the month of the high bill happen during a month when there were several holidays, snow days or vacation days and you and your family were home more often, with the thermostat set high, cooking more and drying more loads of laundry than usual? That's another reason you could be seeing a spike.