What's your average gas heating bill in Winter?

GoBuildDecember 26, 2012

I just bought a house in Richmond, VA. Just called the gas company and was told the budget gas bill was $341 per month for a total of 1 occupant. The house is about 2900 sq ft. I thought it is high. The house has gas on heat, fireplace and water tank. The house I am currently living is about $80 per month on a monthly budget plan for 1500 sq ft for 3 occupants. This house has gas heat, gas stove, and gas water tank.

Thought to check how much other homes typically paid for their gas heating bill. How much do you pay your gas heating bill in winter?

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Hi there. On the surface, your values appear to be high based on your size and location.

To compare, I am in NJ, about 1/2 hour from Philly. Outdoor winter design temperature is 14*. I use gas for heating, hot water, and clothes dryer. House is 2500 SF, R-30 ceiling/r13 walls, Andersen windows/patio door.

I collected data from March of '05 through February of '11, as follows:

Average Cu Ft per month: 745

Average 'adjusted' Cu Ft per month (late spring through mid Sept. usage deducted from total Cu Ft: 624 (Hi 834; Lo 560)

Average 12 month gas bill $1280 (Hi $1343; Lo $1216)

Average Heating Degree Days: 4906 (Hi 5337; Lo 4354)

My furnace was replaced (this is 4th htg season)from a 125,000 BTU builders' model to a Rheem Modulating furnace 90,000 BTU. Could have made due with a 75,000 BTU model, per my heat calc., but needed the larger blower for A/C.

I keep telling my wife who complains about $$$ bills, but I keep reminding her that cost per Cu Ft is what determines the amount of the bill. Actual (average) number of therms per degree day with new furnace yielded about 20 - 25% saving. Comfort is worlds better.



    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 5:17PM
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Holy crap that is a lot of gas.

I am in a new house, 3 occupants, 5000 sqft and we are at about $300 in gas a season although we don't have gas hot water.

I actually have a dual fuel unit but when I shut off the heatpumps it should be about $300 in gas. Mid Nov to Mid Dec this year was 15 therms or about $15 with heat pump off.

Location - Raleigh NC - a little warmer than Richmond.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 6:19PM
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I live in Minneapolis, 60 year old limestone home, 2 story, 3,600 sq/ft total, 2 1/2 heated garage, 60 year old hot water boiler. My gas bill for heat & hot water is about $200 a month.

Your gas bill sounds crazy!

    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 10:21AM
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First off, this OP and homeowner needs a leak test performed and a thorough evaluation of ductwork insulation and home's insulation properties.

I would like to know the age, size, and efficiency of existing furnace.

That would be my starting point.

Keep us posted.


    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 11:05AM
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"The house has gas on heat, fireplace and water tank."

My first thought is that you misunderstood what the gas company quoted. A bill $341 for a month in the winter is possible, but not every month for 12 months.

The gas fireplace could consume of a lot of gas. Perhaps the original owner get it going 24/7.

My suggestion is to get off the budget plan and pay the monthly usage. Budget plans are designed so that you are prepaying money to be used in the later months. You are effectively loaning money to the gas company. You should also have all the gas appliances inspected in the event they are defective and consuming a lot of gas.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 12:41PM
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We live in a 6000 sqft home from 1885 with a lot of original windows. Steam radiators, gas hot water heater. Our winter bill runs about 700-800 bucks a month (thanks con-ed).

Stop complaining. 8)

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 7:33AM
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Thank you for all of your responses which confirmed that the gas heat is much much high and there is room for improving effiency in the gas usage and gas bill. Unfortunately, the gas company quoted me $341 as a monthly budget plan which means the actual gas bill during winter is much higher.

The house was built in 1997 which is about 15 years old. The furnace is quite new, less than a year old. I will have to check on the efficiency of the furnace.

I bought from an estate and the temperature on my walk through was set at 75 degree which I have now reduced it to 68 to 71 degrees.

In addition, I notice an air leak between the furnace and the flexible duct. My husband and I will be going to Home Depot to find out the correct tape/method to secure it tightly.

I also notice the gas fireplace has the flame burning. I am new on gas fireplace and this is next on my list to check it.

Once I do all I can, I would definitely get an expert to run a leak test.

Please comments and give me ideas on other ways to improve gas energy effiency. Thanks.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 8:51AM
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For calendar year 2011 I estimated my heating costs were $540 for the whole year. My house is located in central NJ. It is 3200 square, 27 years old with average insulation and windows. I keep the temperature 70-71 degrees during the day with a set back of 64 degrees at night, and 68 degrees on second floor for part of the day.

I find it hard to believe you are burning all this gas. You may have a gas leak outside the house. Call the gas company and have them inspect the gas piping. The gas meter itself could be defective. Ask if you can get a new meter.

See if they will give you copies of the last 12 months of gas bills. This may help in the investigation.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 9:26AM
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To OP, definitely get off budget plan. The current/previous owner may either owe the gas co, or be due a credit.I assume they will settle up the bill when the house changes ownership from the to you. Was it an older person? Setting it at 75 sounds like an elderly person and they probably also ran it in the spring/fall much more than you would.

I would get the system checked for safety, but not do much else until you see what the real gas usage will be once you live there.

My house was built 1996, only 1 zone unlike Mike, who I think has 2 zones. My total gas for last year was about $1040 (may 2011 to april 2012--the year before was colder and was close to $1400).

So, for a similar size house of the same age I spent $1040. That was with a 91% furnace (your new home probably has 80), adding back 10% (for 80% furnace-just a guess on the cost) brings it to $1180, which is about $100/month on a plan. Unless your furnace has a big problem I would guess the explanation is an older person who likes it really warm. (I am in NJ, I don't know how much more or less $ gas rates are where you are) My bills seem to be in line with veesubotee's, another poster from NJ. Keep stat at 68 or less during the day and 62-64 at bedtime.

ALSO, they may have gotten behind on their bills. I know someone whose current elec bills are quite high due to a high past due balance being worked into the "payment plan"

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 3:23PM
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Hello all,

Just wanted to share with all of you on the status of reducing gas bill. I just received my 2nd gas bill and so happy to report that the usage is 132 ccf in Feb 2013 with average temperate 39.9 degrees vs 286 ccf in Feb 2012 with average temp of 44.1 degree. The bill is $160.65. Not bad to cut at least half of ccf just by sealing off the floor registers. I am still looking for ways to reduce the heating bill, so please comments if you have other suggestions.

I think the biggest issue are the air leaks on the duct connecting to the subfloor.

80% York

Temperature setting:
69 degree during the day from 7:00am to 4:00pm (*are there during daytime for contractors *)
60 degree from 4:00pm to 7:00am (* still living in our old home *)

Actions I have taken:

  1. On each floor register, sealed the space between the ducts and subfloor using HVAC all-weather tape.
  2. Turned off gas fireplace
  3. Close the wall registers on the unused room upstairs.
  4. Retaped between the furnace and the ducts.
    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 1:33PM
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Gobuilt, I am no expert here so take what I say with a grain of salt. My son has gas and he was using a ton of it .. in our state we have the option of having the utilities come out for a very small cost and do a audit on energy in the house ( i.e. blower door etc ) He found many, many leaks that he was not aware of ... had a crew come out repair the leaks ( got some rebates from the state ) and now he is happy cut his use in HALF. Good Luck!

Good luck

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 9:30AM
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How old is the house?

A leak check (blower door test) and some infrared imaging likely are called for to find the leaks and weak spots in the building envelope.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 11:49AM
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what brickeyee said x2
add to blower door test, duct testing.
mastic & mastic tape...not foil or
duct tapes makes a lot of difference.
don't forget to seal return air along with
ducts & supply box penetration into living space.

I use hardcast brand 1402 mastic tape &
seal @ supply boxes as shown in pic.

recently I got rid propane for heating &
installed heat pump. my highest heating bill this
winter was $45 for my 1000 sq ft house on
piers.I fill my 150 gallon propane tank twice
a year now as opposed to monthly winter fill ups
in past years.

best of luck.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 12:45PM
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