Our latest fuel oil delivery cost $708. The per gallon price was $3.85.
Needless to say, we have now shut off the heat in the house. Hopefully the Spring weather will warm up quickly.
$708 is a lot of money!
Imagine my surprise when I opened our electric bill for the month of March. It was more than triple our usual bill. Now imagine I called Commonwealth Edison and told them it was impossible for us to have used three times as much electricity, March over February. I read the meter myself and gave them the numbers.
They had read our meter wrong!
Don't you love a happy ending?
In the winter of 2006-2007 I got a bill for over $1,000 Canadian for two months of natural gas, which is my heating fuel. Last summer I replaced my furnace with a high efficiency gas furnace and replaced the natural gas hot water heater with an electric hot water heater.
This winter, which was colder than we have been having in recent years, for the same period the bill came to $507 Canadian. That was for a period in which the temperature got down to minus 36 Celsius. At that temperature there is not a lot of difference between Celsius and Fahrenheit.
It may be time for you to investigate upgrading your heating system. In my case I was told that replacing my furnace would pay for itself in 3 years.
When propane got soooo high this winter, I just quit using it to heat, and opted instead for some electric heaters, and then just heating the area I was actually in/using. I was a lot more comfortable for a whole lot less.
Electric IMHO is very reasonable at least here in my area, as opposed to propane...and it (propane) will likely just continue to rise.
I'm thinking of checking out Convectair for electric heat, maybe a room or 2 at a time. A local Electric CO had brochures on it.
Here is a link that might be useful: Convectair (electric) heating
Celsius -40 degrees is precisely the same as Fahrenheit -40 degrees.
And ... know what? If you're short of sleep ... you feel it a good deal more intensely. Works if you're short of food, too, I expect.
How much snow have you left around, these days, Ian?
The last smidgeon disappeared on Sunday from in front of the kitchen window, where the landord had built a big pile while clearuing the yard a week or so ago.
It's to go up to near 19 degrees today I hear.
I hope that everyone's enjoying spring.
Here's a cost comparison for electricity by state. I noted that you're in PA. The chart says your electricity costs are just one notch above average. So, maybe, a conversion to electric heat 'might' make some sense. You'd have to investigate it carefully though.
I live in CT. With the exception of Hawaii we have the most expensive electricity in the US. Switching from oil to electricity makes absolutely no sense in our case.
We lock-in our oil rate in August/September & pre-pay for the entire year. By doing both of those things we receive a substantial discount over the "pay as you" go method. Also, many oil companies have a plan that allows you go spread the cost out evenly over 12 months so you don't have the huge bill at fill-up time.
I understand your pain. My DS & DDIL could only purchase 3 weeks of oil last month because it was all they could afford. Fortunately, we've not had an awful winter in New England & it's almost over.
Here is a link that might be useful: Electricity Comparisons by State
Still have about 6 inches on the shaded side and the crocus are up on the sunny side. The ski hill, which is about 1,000 meters higher elevation, still has 5 feet of snow.
My min/max thermometer had plus 11C as the maximum and minus 3C minimum for the past week.
Electricity in PA is set to be deregulated in a couple years. Yippee. The ECs are already advertising schemes where you can start to pay a slightly higher rate now so when the increase (> 50%) hits, you'll have prepaid a lot of it.
Ever notice how deregulation never results in lower costs? Except maybe in the case of long-distance phone. And phone service has been creeping up again in recent years as ATT reassembles itself from the pieces.
I just paid $1200, at around $330 a gallon, man it sucks.
Hi ch at risk,
You got about 4 gals., did you ... at $330/gal??
I last got a delivery of furnace oil in Nov., at CA$0.959/litre ... multiply by 3.85 to convert to U.S. Gal, is CA$3.692.
About 4 - 5 years ago I'd have had to mutiply that by almost 1.5 because my Canadian Dollar would have bought only 65 - 69 cents U.S. ... which would have meant CA$5.538 (but our oil was less expensive, then).
Now, since the U.S. Dollar is within a couple of cents either way from par with regard to the Canadian Dollar, I'm paying about $3.70 per gal. ... in either currency.
Imagine - had you bought Canadian Dollars about 4 - 5 years ago, about US$650. - 690. would have bought you CA$1.000.
If you asked for it back now ... you'd get US$1,000.
Or, had you bought some Canadian oil stocks, maybe $1,500. or so (apart from dividends in the interim).
Some of us think that the value of the U.S. Dollar will continue to deteriorate, relative to the value of some other major world currencies.
Apart from the Canadian Dollar, most likely, for if you go into recession, we'll go into more so, as much of our production goes over-border.
When the U.S. gets a sneeze ... the Canadians get pneumonia, a number of Canadian analysts say. And some U.S. analysts ... among the few that are much aware of what goes on in Canada.
It takes energy to stay warm. ;)
We have an oil-fired furnace to heat the second floor of our garage. I paid $3.10/gallon on 2/6/08 to put 245 gallons into the new tank ($760+). There is also a woodstove in that space and a provision for one on the ground floor.
We received a fill of the household tank on 3/17 and the price was $3.70/gallon. We paid $333.. The house is 2500 sq.ft. (fully insulated walls throughout) and the oil-fired boiler feeds 5 heating zones. We turn the thermostats in unused zones down to 50-55 degrees. We have a lovely, efficient woodstove to keep our "apartment" cozy and that permits us to keep the thermostats in that area at 55-60.
My father was a plumbing/heating contractor and he was adamant that we have multiple zones when we built the house (1991). FIL was an architect and insisted on insulating the interior walls and the floor.
My BIL (next door) replaced his electric heat with an oil-fired boiler about 6 yrs. ago. ... has often remarked he should have done it sooner.
It takes energy to stay warm.
Great website triciae - when I moved from Nebraska where I had an all electric house to this dinky apt I was a bit shocked at the electric bill. How can this tiny apt with a gas water heater have such a high bill compared to heating an entire house? well Nebraska is 4th or 5th lowest on the list. Ohio is still below the national average but apparently enough higher that I did notice. Of course the house had a new geo-thermal unit too which actually I think saves more on air conditioning than heat.
To fix my error, it was $3.30ish a gallon for a total of 350-365 gallons
"It may be time for you to investigate upgrading your heating system."
I wish it was that simple.
Our furnace is new, only three years old.
We double-insulated our attic two years ago.
Almost all windows and all of the exterior doors are new.
The house is small.
We kept our thermostat at 58 degrees all winter.
All basement windows and air conditioning ducts are plugged up with insulation for the winter.
I stopped using the wood burning fireplace.
I truly feel we've done everything we can to reduce our heating bill. Too bad I let myself get talked out of installing geothermal heat a few years back. The $18,000 quote is what made me go with oil. The payback on that 18k is looking a lot shorter these days.
How many zones are there on your heating system, Piper.? Is your system forced hot water or hot air?
Do any of you people live in an area with a fuel buying
co-op? I contracted last August for my year's supply and pay $2.37 per gallon US for the whole winter's usage. That is by prepaying for a contracted amount. If I had gone for a 'pay by delivery'system, it would have been $2.42.
The strange thing is the same company that delivers my fuel also delivers to the family next door who doesn't belong to the co-op. They have been been paying about $3.75 per gallon. The truck delivers to my house and then goes next door and delivers at about $1.40 more per gallon for the same stuff, same company, same day and same truck. Strange situation! (It cost me $25 per year to belong to the buying co-op and anyone can join).
i had a chance to lock in at $2.55 in August here in CT. i didnt thinking prices would go lower. my last fill up 2 weeks ago was $3.65. that hurts. $600 for only about 110 gallons. i am locking in next time. when i did the math for the possible differences it wasnt worth it due to possiblity of the higher bill which hit me.
i believe fixed contracts are the way to go.
To answer your question, chelone, we have two zones, and hot-water baseboard heat with an oil-fired furnace. The main house is one zone, at about 1600 square feet, and my husband's music studio is the second zone, at about 400 square feet. We're keeping the heat on in there (at 64 degrees) because of the computers and instruments and clients.
chrisk, $1200 for heating oil, ouch. I never paid much attention to the fuel deliveries, but $700+ bills require planning in my home. A $1200 bill would have me dipping into savings.
Re: fixed contracts... they certainly were the smart way to go this past year. I've never had much confidence in my ability to time the commodities markets, though. And there have been stories in the news recently about oil providers refusing to honor fixed-price contracts because it would put them out of business. Hindsight is 20/20, though. I should have gambled on a fixed-price contract this year for sure.
Piper---Do you have a woodlot on your property so you could burn free wood? You could put a woodburning insert into that fireplace to supplement your heat.
I built my house in 1999. It is almost 2500 sq.ft. and is heated with propane. My propane bill wasn't high last year, on prebuy. But if it wasn't for my woodburner, I would have used up ALL the prebuy and would have been buying propane at market price. My woodburner is a small one. But once I get it going, the furnace shuts off. The living room is nice and toasty, but other areas are a little cool. I can go all day and evening without the furnace running--it's a BIG savings!!!!! Just an idea for you.
Yes, it hurt. I did dip into savings mainly becuase I had some other things I spent money on that month, specifically, 12 concert tickets that I'm still waiting for friends to pay me for.....
Ohh well, I could have gone on a fixed price plan, or a monhtly plan, but, it is cheaper to pay as you go. Makes me want to switch to natural gas and I can pay useage.
I do have a woodlot, green-zeus, and even have a woodburning insert that we took out a few years ago so we could repair damage to the chimney caused by its incorrect installation. We could re-install it but we'd have to put a steel liner in the chimney first. At the rate things are going, that might be a good option for us next year.
Oh, burning hardwood will save you a LOT of money. My propane bill is under $2000 for 12 months. I'm always sure to burn enough wood so that my last delivery in March will last until I can get back into the prebuy for the next heating season. I can only get 1000 gal. on pre-buy(based on what I've been using year on year) so I have to be careful not to burn TOO much wood or else they'll cut me back on the gallon useage. It's a total GAME that you have to play with these people.
It's an aweful thing that we can't even afford to heat our houses anymore. Thank GOD I have a big woodlot here.
If you get a woodburner up and running,you can use it in the fall and spring without turning the heat on. Sometimes this gives me several weeks of waiting to turn the furnace on!!
I am a huge fan of using wood to bring a space up to a cozy temperature. Piper., please cruise on over to the Fireplaces forum! Many regulars over there offer great information, though the pace of the forum slows markedly at this time of year. Be patient.
Wood is great for supplemental heat, but it takes work, it takes planning, and you have to know what you're doing to derive the most benefit from its stored BTUs.
I wouldn't waste my time with with a wood burning "insert", frankly. Not if I was looking at the price of relining a chimney. I'd be thinking carefully about purchasing a safe, EPA rated woodstove.
We have 2 stoves and we use wood to keep our home cozy. It's a lot of work, not for sissies! but since we're willing to do the work it's a nice way to minimize oil bills.
You have to love the oil company showing up at the beginning of Spring to top off your tank.
so now you get to sit on $500 worth of oil all summer, rather than them. (Glad I converted to natural gas this year, although I know the price in the long run won't be any better)
The insert IS a woodstove, maybe I used the wrong terminology. It's a long rectangular metal box that sticks out of the fireplace about 30", with two long front legs to clear the raised hearth. There's a big metal plate that covers the fireplace opening and locks the protruding woodstove in place.
It's the ugliest thing I ever saw, but you get the heating effect of having a log burning right out in the room. Heat radiants from all around the box, and it seems really tight.
I think we'll get a price on a steel chimney liner and a cord of wood this summer. At the very least, the stove could shorten our oil heating season by a couple of months.
Do you have a fan on that unit? That really makes a big difference too. I'm starting to cut and gather wood now for winter before the woods gets all filled out in leaves. If you work at cutting wood on the cooler days thru spring and fall, it's much easier than waiting to do it all right before winter. Good luck--burning wood on those really cold days will save you a lot on the oil bill.