KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s pretty common to use more natural gas in the winter to keep our homes warm, but natural gas companies are warning customers that this winter will be a lot more expensive.

Natural gas prices are spiking around the world. COVID complicated production, winter storm Yuri in February 2021 created a lot of sudden demand across the country that shocked the market, and Russia has been intermittently withholding its natural gas from Europe during its invasion of Ukraine.

When demand increases again in the United States as prices fall this fall and winter, experts say you should be armed with tips and tricks to save as much money as possible.

Airflow

Spire’s Energy Efficiency Program Manager Lemartt Holman says sealing up places where air flows in and out of your home can cut as much as 20% of your natural gas bill.

He says door and window seals are one of the first places to check.

“After you close that door, if you’re able to slide [a dollar bill] out, there’s an opportunity there to save some energy,” said Holman.

After doors and windows, drafts can be found around electrical outlets on exterior walls. He recommends sealing those outlets to keep air from going in and out.

He says check furnace filters to make sure they are clean, so you don’t lose air there and try to have someone clean out the ducts every so often. The summer months are often the best time for that work because most other people don’t think much about it.

Water heating

Natural gas is also used to heat water, so water heaters can be a good spot to save a few dollars.

“There’s the opportunity for blankets that you put around the water heaters to keep it insulated even more,” said Holman. “That’s something that can be added. Also, there’s pipe insulation that can be added to keep head in your pipes as well.”

Energy efficient shower heads can also go a long way in saving water that you’ve paid to heat. Technology advancements have improved the water pressure from those more energy efficient fixtures

Smart Thermostat

Getting a thermostat that can connect to your phone so you can monitor and change its settings even when you’re not home.