Holy gas bill!

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, January 26, 2005, 4:57 PM | comments: 13

Our gas bill this month was $200! WTF!? Our gas bill last January was $150 for about the same usage (169 CCF). That means that if our actual usage next month matches last year, we can expect something like $250. Has the cost of natural gas risen 25% in one year? That's insane!

Related to this, how is the state legislator OK with charging sales tax on natural gas? That's like taxing food (which we don't do in Ohio). Just as we have to eat, we have to keep warm. Could be worse I suppose. I remember my cousins lived in New Hampshire back in the day, near the Massachusetts border, and you'd cross depending on what you wanted to buy. One didn't tax food, but the other didn't tax clothing. The idea was that it's against the law for you to walk around naked, but not to starve.


CPLady, January 27, 2005, 12:53 PM #

I about died when we got our DTE Energy bill which combined electric and gas. The gas portion alone was $192!! I've never had a gas bill that high, and what is worse, we've kept the thermostat at 67 degrees, lower than we've ever kept it.

Even the electric portion was higher and we have one less PC running and together, one less person living in the house. Less showers, less clothes being washed, much less usage.

freeze, January 27, 2005, 1:00 PM #

Like I told you years ago, your gas bill is going to be a bitch. But, nooooooo, you didn't want to hear that. But that's neither here nor there.
Anyway, we just said, fuck it and bought a kerosene heater. Why pay a $200 bill when you're still live a cold ass house.
We piled up on some more insulation in some needed areas. The gas bill already went down this month vs. last year. I can't wait to get the gas bill next month, it should decrease a lot more with the heater.

Den, January 27, 2005, 2:37 PM #

I spread my bill out over the whole year, and it hurts less in the winter. I pay $83 a month year round.

freeze, January 27, 2005, 3:03 PM #

I thought about going the budget route, but it's cheaper in the long run to address the problems concerning letting heat out the door...or window, crack in the wall, ceiling or attic. I don't know about you, but I like my gas bill being $18 in November.

Jeff, January 27, 2005, 3:53 PM #

Freeze: I have a new house probably with more insulation than you added. What do you suggest? Turning off the heat entirely? You can't heat a house even this small with electricity. I had electric bills of $175 in 1996 with a 400 sq. ft. apartment.

And you won't ever have an $18 gas bill.

freeze, January 27, 2005, 4:21 PM #

Oh contrare moan fraire:

I do have an $18 gas bill. ;)

You missed the point. I'll go slow:

I (meaning freeze) have a natural gas heater. A heater that turns on once the temperature goes down to a predetermined level in my house. When it reaches that level it turns on, using the natural gas to heat the home.

An alternative source (like a kerosene heater) can be used to raise the temp making the furnance chill out (no pun attended), thus decreasing the amount of natural gas being used...to the warm the house.

Granted, we still need the nat. gas to heat the water for a shower, but c'mon, how long ya take a shower?...unless you're one of those 45 minute people.

Now, to add the cherry on top, (BTW, how do you know you have more insulation than the freeze?) the insulation in attics and walls, and don't forget the sealing of my doors, etc., helped the gas bill go down further.

There are so many things you can do to your home to curb your gas bill. Look at your natural gas providers web site for tips, they actually work. Shit, it even said it on my gas bil, when it was high: "Find an alternate source of heating"

There you have it, and I didn't even mention the word - electricity, go figure.

CPLady, January 27, 2005, 4:27 PM #

We put in additional insulation a couple years ago, and 4 years ago put in new windows with new caulking all around. We also installed a new, more energy efficient furnace.

The gas dryer runs less, one fewer people taking showers, and I'd bet if I pulled out my gas bill from this time last year I'll find my usage is lower.

I've closed off vents in the upstairs as the only room used (besides the bathroom) is the master bedroom and that vent is closed as well. The vents are also closed in the living room and dining room.

There isn't much more we can do to lower our usage.

freeze, January 27, 2005, 4:28 PM #

Jeff: Come to think of it you're right; you guys definitely have more insulation then I do.

gregleg, January 27, 2005, 4:31 PM #

My gas bill is a monthly $131 for a 3 bedroom apartment, but then I live on the upper floor of an 80 year old top/bottom duplex with only a thin layer of insulation in the attic and the original windows. The heating system is old-fashioned radiators, fed by a gas-fired boiler that's older than I am.

The thermostat control is somewhat modern, at least, being an electronic timer. I have it set to turn the heat up to 68 at 6:15am (so that when I get out of bed at 7am-ish I'm not freezing in the shower). Then it drops to 58 at 8:30am (while I'm at work), then up to 68 at 5:30pm to start warming the place a bit before I get home from work. Finally it dips to 58 at 11pm (which most nights is BEFORE I go to bed, but residual heat keeps me warm enough).

On weekends, the program is a simpler 68 at 7:00am, 58 at 11:30pm.

My cats have enough fur that they can deal with 58, but they do snuggle up against me in bed at night.

I'm tempted to put some insulation in the attic myself, but I don't think I'll be in the same place next winter, so it's not really worth it.

freeze, January 27, 2005, 4:36 PM #

You use a gas dryer? Damn, that's tough.

I closed my vents in the garage and closed the doors of the rooms we don't use. I've been real anal with finding cracks. I'm running around my house with a piece of foil trying to find a breeze like a madman.
I definitely feel for you. High gas bills suck. That's why I've done everything in my power to not have one.
Right now, I don't have the coin for new windows, so the kerosene monster will have to do for right now and I really feel the difference in the warmth and in the wallet.

Jeff, January 27, 2005, 4:43 PM #

Gas dryers cost less to run.

You aren't magically saving money anywhere. One way or another, if you intend to be warm, you're going to spend money.

When you have a house that's less than four years old, you're pretty much as close to the peak of energy eficiency as you can get in terms of windows, doors and insulation. Our city also negotiated a contract with the gas provider offering the lowest rates in Ohio (finally something good came out of deregulation).

CPLady, January 27, 2005, 5:18 PM #

There is one more thing we can do...replace the water heater. Unfortunately that will cost us a grand (if we stick with the run of the mill gas type), and three grand if we want the tankless system.

freeze, January 27, 2005, 6:25 PM #

You aren't magically saving money anywhere.

I am, and it's not magic, my friend.

One way or another, if you intend to be warm, you're going to spend money.

Duh!, pay now or pay later. You can add up the $200/month payments then going forward the year after, I've saved mad dough.

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