Natural Gas Appliances Can Cut Home Heating Bills in Half and Reduce Emissions
You could save anywhere from $300 to $1,262 per year on home heating costs and reduce your carbon footprint just by choosing a natural gas furnace, water heater or both.
These findings come with the release of AGA’s 2014 Representative Average Residential Space Heating and Water Heating Costs analysis which compares average annual costs for various types of space and water heating appliances. Based on estimated representative average fuel unit costs published by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, AGA analysts estimated the annual costs for natural gas furnaces and water heaters when compared to their propane, oil and electric counterparts.
A piece of equipment with a higher annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating provides greater savings for customers. For example, a 97 percent AFUE natural gas furnace provides the lowest cost space heating option for homeowners, followed by an 80 percent AFUE natural gas furnace. Both offer significant annual operating cost savings over comparable space heating options.
The charts below break down potential savings by each appliance option. For more detail, as well as information on how these numbers were compiled, view AGA’s recent press release.
Savings can be attributed to the low price of natural gas driven by its domestic abundance, as well as the efficiency of natural gas delivery systems and appliances. Direct use of natural gas – when natural gas is consumed directly in appliances for heating and cooling, water heating, cooking and clothes drying – achieves 92 percent energy efficiency from the point of production to delivery to the consumer. In typical home appliances, the direct use of natural gas cuts energy consumption by 28 percent compared to a similar home with all-electric appliances and produces 37 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Natural gas water heaters, for example, are nearly twice as efficient as electric resistance water heaters on a full-fuel-cycle comparison.
You can work with your local natural gas utility to upgrade your appliances and get more tips to increase your energy savings. As part of their commitment to promoting cost-effective and practical approaches to increasing energy efficiency, natural gas utilities invested $1.1 billion in natural gas efficiency programs in 2012 and budgeted nearly $1.5 billion for the 2013 program year. Here are a few services offered by some utilities:
- Offering low-interest financing, cash rebates and other financial subsidies for high-efficiency natural gas appliance purchases and whole home or building efficiency improvements
- Providing home energy audits, weatherization kits and programmable thermostats
- Supplying information on insulation and high-efficiency appliances
- Connecting customers with experienced and reliable appliance and service providers
- Making online information available such as energy usage calculators
Every day, America’s local natural gas utilities safely and reliably deliver savings and solutions like this to their more than 71 million residential, commercial and industrial customers throughout the United States. By providing access to our nation’s affordable, efficient and clean energy source, AGA’s member companies are helping to secure a sustainable energy future.
Christina Nyquist is the Communications Specialist for the American Gas Association.
Prior to joining AGA, Christina served as a Writer/Editor and Public Affairs Specialist at the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
Christina holds a master’s degree from the George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs.
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