Reducing Your Natural Gas Consumption

 Enbridge pipeline explosion as seen from the skies north of Prince George | My Prince George Now | Greg Noel/Twitter

Enbridge pipeline explosion as seen from the skies north of Prince George | My Prince George Now | Greg Noel/Twitter

In early October an Enbridge natural gas pipeline exploded and caught fire northeast of Prince George. Enbridge has completed repairs on the pipeline and is currently running at about 50% capacity. They will slowly amp up pressure over this month, but Fortis BC is warning customers that the pipeline will only be running at 80% capacity over the winter. While Fortis is working on to make more gas available by working with industrial customers and maximizing the output from the Southern Crossing pipeline from Alberta, we all need to take part in reducing our natural gas consumption.

Quick and easy Fixes:

  • Lower your thermostat. Fortis suggests we set our thermostats between 18 - 20°C when home and awake and no more than 17°C when out or asleep. Using a programmable thermostat is incredibly helpful for maintaining temperatures according to occupancy and sleep schedules.

  • Wear warmer clothes at home, or curl up in a blanket if you’re still feeling chilly.

  • Close registers in rooms you aren’t using so that you’re only heating the rooms you are in. Turn off heat in non-insulated spaces such as a garage or attic.

  • Replace your furnace filters once every month or two. Clogged filters can trap hot air within the ductwork, making the furnace work harder than necessary

  • Lower the temperature of your water heater. By reducing the temperature by 5-10 degrees you can significantly reduce your water heating costs.

  • Wash your clothes in cold water and in full loads. Use lower heat settings on your dryer such as permanent press.

  • Take shorter and/or cooler showers.

  • Run your dishwasher only when it is full.

  • On sunny days open your curtains to allow the sunshine to warm a room.

  • Use a crock pot or pressure cooker to reduce energy while cooking.

  • Use ceiling fans to push warm air down.

Serious about reducing your consumption:

  • Install an Energy Star certified furnace in your home and have your furnace and heating system inspected once a year to check for leaks or other problems.

  • Install an Energy Star certified water heater, or tankless water heater (hot water on demand).

  • Install low-flow shower heads and water aerators on your sink faucets to reduce the amount of water used, therefore reducing the amount of water heated.

  • Ensure your attic and/or crawlspace is well insulated.

  • Install thermal windows and doors, or use plastic coverings on older windows and draft blockers on the bottom of old doors.

  • Add or replace caulk and weather stripping around doors and windows.

Reducing your natural gas consumption not only helps the situation our province is facing, it also reduces your utility bills during the winter months when they normally rise due to increased usage. For more information, and updates, please visit Fortis BC.

Kelsey Horsnell