A number of factors can contribute to a high gas bill, including fluctuations in gas price, new appliances, and wasteful practices in a home or business. People who notice a sudden spike in their gas bills should check to see if there was a drastic change in gas prices, and may want to consider other issues like an extremely cold spate of weather that might lead them to rely heavily on gas heating. For low income people, there may be financial assistance available to help pay for gas, including price cap programs to limit total costs.
Gas prices fluctuate regularly and can be very unpredictable. A common cause of higher gas bills is a change in price. People can compare the rate for gas between bills to see the difference, and may want to find a bill for similar levels of gas usage to better understand how pricing changes can affect billing. People may also want to consider things like changing fees and taxes; the government may require a gas company to collect certain fees, and these can change without warning, spiking up a bill.
Another cause of a high gas bill can be weather. When it is extremely cold, heaters have to work harder to warm a space and people may be more inclined to turn up the thermostat, using more gas. Appliance settings can also be a culprit; a gas water heater on the highest setting, for example, will run more often to keep the water hot, even if people don't actually need their water that hot. Likewise, adjusting a thermostat a few degrees up or down can cause a radical shift in energy usage.
Structures lacking insulation, especially those with large single paned windows and high ceilings, a common problem in older homes, can contribute to a high gas bill. Many appliance companies offer assistance with installing weatherstripping and taking other steps to keep structures more sealed so they will lose less heat, cutting down on utility prices.
Leaking appliances may also contribute to a high gas bill. People usually notice leaks by smell, but not always. Water heaters, for example, are often installed outside a main space and may be outdoors, allowing the gas to dissipate. If people suspect they have a gas leak, they should call the gas company and ask for an evaluation. Another potential issue contributing to a high gas bill is service calls. Gas companies respond to reported leaks free of charge, but if people have to come out to relight appliances, they may charge a small fee. This can make a bill appear higher than usual at first, but reading the detailed breakdown of charges should clarify the situation. People concerned about appliance lighting costs can ask the gas company before they come out; they may be willing to waive the fee in some circumstances.