I just opened the gas bill.... - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-18-2009, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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and i think my heart stopped.
its $400

it has NEVER been that high. We moved to a new house in May, and our old house was a bit smaller, but had ancient windows, that leaked horribly, and our gas was never this high. Our current house, has ALL brand spankin new windows, and we keep the thermostat at 68 during the day, and 60 at night. We wear layers in the house at all times, we sleep in layers, with down comforters. is there something wrong with our furnace??? its only 5 years old!!!

should i get a wood stove? how much are they? How do you install one? our house has an existing chimney, is it possible to tap into that?

i'm am nasueated at this bill. if we were all roasty toasty warm, i could understand that amount, but we are cold most of the time.
we have had a pretty hard winter so far, but Feb is always the worst month, and this is just from Dec 15-Jan 15!

Suggestions?

wife to my awesome DH, homeschooling, unassisted birthing, food growing, life loving mama to 5 crazy monkeys. :
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Old 01-18-2009, 06:30 PM
 
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Are they charging you for estimated use or did they come by for an actual meter reading? I ask because last month dh and I got our gas bill, and it was over $600, which freaked us out, too... until we realized, wait a tic, they hadn't sent anyone over to read the meter recently (which we know for sure, since it's in the basement)-- so how could they know what we've been using? Turns out it was an estimated usage, based on last year's numbers. And last year's numbers were from a different family, living in this house at the time. Our real usage was less than half that amount, and when dh contacted them with those real numbers, they agreed to send us a new bill with the corrected amount and a new, extended due date.

Long story short: Double-check your meter and compare it to your bill. I hope it works out for you!

Traditional Catholic, aspiring to everyday sanctity. Mama to two amazing girls. Wife to my best friend.
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Old 01-18-2009, 06:57 PM
 
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Look closely for drafts and leaks and plug those - we are trying to figure out what to do with our gas fireplace - its clearly drafty and this is a brand new house. Feel around your electrical outlets, if you can feel a draft get the gaskets and put those under the face plates. Do you have a whole house fan? it needs to be covered and insulated in the winter otherwise, its like leaving a window open in your ceiling - the worst place of all.

Do you have bathroom fans? Have you been using them? They are huge heat sucks since they take your nice heated air and just blow it outside. Have you replaced your furnace filter? If you haven't it could be making it less efficient. They usually need to be replaced every 1-3 months, depending on the type of filter. (Which reminds me that we should change ours) - it can actually break the furnace to not change it (ask me how I know this

We actually keep our heat much lower than that - I have my thermostats set at 61 during the day and 56 at night. If you don't have programmable thermostats consider those, they make them as cheap as $30 and are super easy to replace. What I love about them is this - I set them generally with only two temps - day and night, even though there are usually 4 time slots (3 for the day, 1 at night) - but I set the day temp very low. When we feel cold, (and we've already bundled up), I bump the heat a degree or two on the thermostat. I know that the next time a time slot comes around, it will automatically go back down. This means that I don't accidentally bump it for days, and since it goes back to the lower temp, it helps me adjust to the lower temp, and I bump it less and less frequently as the winter goes on. The other nice thing about keeping the temp set low like that and just bumping when you are cold is that when you are gone out, the temp is low without you having to remember to turn it down.

It really does work to help you get used to lower temperatures - last winter we kept the thermostat at 65 and this winter I'm down to 61, I'm not any colder this winter than last - I've just adjusted. I can tell too when people come over I turn up the heat a bit since they aren't used to it and I am boiling and they are still complaining they are cold!

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Old 01-18-2009, 07:03 PM
 
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No advice. Just agreement that it can't be right. Not even with leaks can I imagine it being that high!
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Old 01-18-2009, 07:04 PM
 
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I agree about the making sure it is an actual amount.
However...it was explained to me by a friend of my grandmother, who has been in the heating/cooling business for 50 years, how the new "high efficiency" furnaces actually sometimes cost more to run than older models. The newer ones put out heat that is barely warm...unlike the older ones which chug out really hot air. The whole purpose of the new ones is to keep a constant, even temperature....so they run more frequently, putting out barely warm air, in order to keep the temperature a constant temperature....whereas my old furnace, when it is on, chugs out massively hot air, then shuts off..then over time, my house cools, it gets triggered to turn on again, etc...so the tempo in my house fluctuates up and down several degrees....but my furnace actually runs a lot less, both less frequently and for shorter periods of time, than a newer furnace which is trying to keep the temperature perfectly even all the time...does that make sense?
also...sometimes it just doen't make sense at ALL..seriously.....my house, which is ancient, 1920's, with NOTHING high efficiency, the windows leak like sieves, the dorrs have whole half-inch lines where they don't match up and let air in and out....there is NO insulation in the entire darn house.....and we heat it as much as we want, all day every day ( and it's been -15 most of the week) And we pay $100 per month. Other people in our same town, with much newer houses, are paying 3-4 times that. *shrug*

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Old 01-18-2009, 07:05 PM
 
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I was in shock last month when my bill was $333! We keep our heat at 55 at night and 68 during the day! I think its a result of how high the gas companies raised their rates. I am not happy paying these rates and not being really warm!
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Old 01-18-2009, 07:06 PM
 
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I don't think that can be right. I am sure it is an estimate. Call and ask for an actual reading.

We have a 70 year old home, admittedly with new windows and doors, but no wall insulation. We *do* supplement with wood in a woodburning stove, however with the stove we pay $40/month for gas and without we pay only $70. A woodburning stove... unless you can get the wood for free... will not save you money. Especially if you have to install it (at least a few thou bucks unless your chimney is already up to spec).
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Old 01-18-2009, 07:09 PM
 
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Try 740.00. For one month. American. I broke down and cried.

Do you have high ceilings? Mine are between 14 and 19 feet which caused big problems. How about plastic on the windows? That helped us out a lot.

If push really comes to shove then you might have to get on a budget plan where you have the same bill year around.

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Old 01-18-2009, 07:13 PM
 
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My bill for the same period was $300 in Massachusetts for a brand new insulated to code house. This is about the same as I paid last year in my much smaller, yet older and less well insulated house last year. Where you are depends greatly too - if the temp outside is 10 degrees less on average where I am than you are, I'm going to pay more. It's also possible that gas costs more from different companies in different areas.

Perhaps it would be more helpful to state what area of the country you are in, and how many CCFs of natural gas you used during the month? Our $300 bill was 175 CCFs for 33 days.

Mightymoo - Mom to DD (6) and DS (4)
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Old 01-18-2009, 07:23 PM
 
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Was that the useage bill, or the total bill? I just ask because where we just moved there's a $200~ deposit against future possible non-payments which shows up on the first bill.
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Old 01-18-2009, 08:32 PM
 
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THis is why we're on teh budget plan. Power & gas skyrocket during the winter, but we pay that over 12months. For November our bill for gas & power was $280 or so, but we joined the 2 companies together so we save at least $50/month with those. We have a new fridge this winter too. Our next bill will be alot higher as we had -50 temps for 2 weeks.
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Old 01-18-2009, 08:41 PM
 
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We thought our $180 bill was bad.

You may want to check if it was an estimate. Call the company. Also check for holes and leaks. Dh found a gigantic hole in our garage ceiling that was right near our first floor heat register. The the register was pulling in cold outside air and running the furnace more.
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Old 01-18-2009, 08:43 PM
 
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do you use a gas fireplace too?
That can increase a bill significantly

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Old 01-18-2009, 09:25 PM
 
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I've lived in the same house for 8 years and just had the largest gas bill ever. Bigger than any last winter when natural gas was more per therm. It's just been really cold here and right now DH is laid off so DH and DS2 are home all day (we've never had people home all day, everyday in the winter before).
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Old 01-18-2009, 09:54 PM
 
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Ours was $322 this month - my jaw dropped when I opened the envelope. It's never, ever been that high before. And we're so careful about it.

Lauren
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Old 01-18-2009, 10:45 PM
 
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Wow. Now it's not as cold here, but we do need heat. I keep it at 62/63 during the day and now 60 at night. We have all new windiows as well and our bill was $55 last month and $64 this month. I agree that the air in newer models seems to be less warm.

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Old 01-19-2009, 01:12 AM
 
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and we freaked at $104 for gas

Do you have a crawlspace? Get under the house and check your duct work. You may have a gap/hole/leak. You can insulate the ducts, and insulate under the floor.

What does your attic insulation look like? You probably need more. Do you have spinning vents on the roof? you can close them in the winter without harm.

We are dying to get our insulation done : But we have to dig the crawlspace deeper (oh, joy of joys) and have to wait for spring.

eta- plastic on the windows is amazing, even for new windows

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Old 01-19-2009, 04:12 AM
 
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I agree, check the actual meter. My company only checks the meter every other month.

Are you renting or do you own? I always call before renting a house to see what the average bill is, just so I have a heads up.

I know from one place we rented, the people who lived there the year before us must have just loved their heat. Seriously, the apartment we paid $70 a month to heat, theirs was at least $300! We couldn't do the budget plan for over a year because their old totals messed with ours.

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Old 01-19-2009, 04:33 AM
 
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Gas appliances? One is probably leaking

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Old 01-19-2009, 04:57 AM
 
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We have no leaking appliances--just a very high PG and E bill. It was 550.00 last month. We have fairly new appliances--and changed most of our bulbs out last summer.
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Old 01-19-2009, 05:28 AM
 
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Um switch to electric? I'm trying to swallow my $183 utility bill for all electric, water/sewer the whole nine yards. Seriously, we would likely miss a payment if our heating bill was $400.

..... and my dad thinks we should switch to gas.
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Old 01-19-2009, 05:31 AM
 
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ours is pretty high this month, too. and I know there are no leaks and the house is only a couple years old.... but we also have the heat kicking all the time if it's even a little bit cold (we live in the desert so cold to me is below 70 ) so, we were expecting higher costs. It's the same with electric in the summertime. Some months it was also close to $400 because we ran the AC constantly.

If it is correct, I agree with budget billing so you can spread the cost out over the year.

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Old 01-19-2009, 04:28 PM
 
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Do you have gas hot water? what's the temp set on it? might want to drop it down a little and watch your hot water usage.
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Old 01-19-2009, 05:20 PM
 
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Last year when we got shocked similarly it turned out it was right, but they'd estimated the previous month (low) instead of reading it, so we were paying one month plus part of the previous month's usage.
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Old 01-20-2009, 02:01 AM
 
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$300 a month here.

68 during the day is really high. Unless you have some kind of serious illness in the house, I'd see if you can get used to 62 or 63 instead. Long underwear and a couple of sweaters make a big difference in the budget!
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Old 01-20-2009, 03:51 AM
 
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You have my sympathy, I got our bill today and it was DOUBLE! They replaced my ancient water heater last month and turned it on high and I never bothered to check where the setting was, I was just happy to have hot water! That setting doubled my gas bill

Seriously?
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