Cost of gas/electricity per month? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 34 Old 11-07-2010, 02:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I need to know what other relatively frugal households manage to spend on gas/electricity per month. Please share!

Our bills seem unreasonably high to me - in the winter we tend to spend $150/month on gas as well as $150/month on electricity. We have a gas heater and water heater, and electric everything else including space heaters which we use at night. I often wrap up in blankets and even wear a ski jacket in the evenings indoors.

If you have any tips for how to lower bills, I would love to hear them. My husband keeps saying we need a way to heat just the areas we're in - rather than the whole house. Our house is about 1600 square feet. Any suggestions?
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#2 of 34 Old 11-07-2010, 02:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I should have said, we live in Atlanta.
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#3 of 34 Old 11-07-2010, 03:23 PM
 
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We pay $273 per month all year around (we are on a 'budget' so the higher winter payments are spread throughout the year). This includes gas hot water and furnace (forced air), electric stove and a hot water heater rental.

Our house is about 1400 sq ft and it was built in 1925 so bad insulation etc. We have no air conditioning. We don't have a programmable thermostat and keep the heat fairly high at around 21C. I like to be able to wear just a LS T shirt at home.

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#4 of 34 Old 11-07-2010, 03:39 PM
 
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We spend about $35 per month for gas in the winter (we buy it by the tank - one tank is around $400 MXN or $35 and lasts about a month in the winter, 6-8 weeks in the summer). This covers hot water, clothes dryer, and oven/stove. We have no heater.

We spend around $150/month in the summer for electricity, a bit less in the winter (we have more fans running in the summer, but no AC).

This is for a 2000 plus square foot (I'm not really sure of the size, it's at least that) 5ish bedroom house in Mexico, with no AC or heat. It's pretty comparable to what we were paying for gas/electric when we lived in San Diego(where we had gas central heat that almost never got used and no AC) - it's a little more, but our house is more than twice the size that our apartment was in San Diego.

I know you didn't ask, but our water bill is around $20 a month - less than $20 in the fall and winter, slightly more in the spring and summer due to watering more plants.
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#5 of 34 Old 11-07-2010, 04:34 PM
 
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$215 but on equal pay it's $150 spread through the year. I just turned the garage into a room and added a space heater that's on 24/7 so yeah... I also would love to hear about ideas.
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#6 of 34 Old 11-07-2010, 05:26 PM
 
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Electric is between 60-70 a month in the winter, our propane bill is on a budget plan and it's $145 a month. We are further insulating our attic space this year and hoping that will reduce the cost even more. We are in northern Michigan.

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#7 of 34 Old 11-07-2010, 05:44 PM
 
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We have a 1000sq ft, 3 level townhouse, lots of natural insulation with being in the center and have the basement/laundry on directly underneath the living space. We're in upstate/western ny.
I spend about $35-50 in elec. & $35-55 in gas. My bill (it's together) was about $80 this past month and it's been pretty cold. What's not helping is that the townhouse on one side is up for sale, so they're keeping the heat right at 55. I believe last year the bill was about $110 (total) for January, that's the always the highest.

OP-Elec space heaters might be killing it. I was always under the impression that they take up a lot of elec. compared with gas.
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#8 of 34 Old 11-07-2010, 06:08 PM
 
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In the coldest months, about $175/month for electric. In the warm months, about $50/month. Gas is about $20/month, year round. Only the hot water is on gas.
We live in Toronto and have a similar townhouse to MissedMyDecade - these costs vary a huge amount by area though. Climate makes a big difference, plus the price per unit of electric and gas vary a ton as well.

Redvlagrl - consider looking into how much it would cost to buy your heater. In the long term it is a lot cheaper to own it. Ours was pretty old, so they only charged us $25 to buy it from them! I wish we hadn't waited so long to buy it!

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#9 of 34 Old 11-07-2010, 06:14 PM
 
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1700 sq ft house, 2 floors. Gas heat and hot water, electric everything else. We are on "balanced billing" for both gas ($42 a month) and electric ($152 a month). In the summer, solar roman shades are freaking awesome to keep the sun out and rooms cooler so the AC doesn't work as hard. I keep the thermostat at 76 and if people are hot they can turn on a fan.

In the winter, the thermostat stays at 70, and if someone is cold they can either GET DRESSED (ie: put on pants and socks not run around in shorts), use a snuggie or blanket, or stop whining. Flannel sheets on the beds help too.

Seriously, I grew up in a 200 year old New England farm house, our only heat was a wood stove and furnace. If we were lucky it might get to 60 after we hung blankets up between rooms to keep the warmth in. So my sissy southern born family has no clue what real cold is, and I'm so tired of hearing "I'm cold" and it's 70 in the house.
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#10 of 34 Old 11-07-2010, 06:18 PM
 
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We have 3500 sq ft, and we spend about $100ish on electricity and $15 on gas (only our fireplace is gas) per month. But, it's a 6 month old house and pretty energy efficient thus far (except the driving winds, since there are no trees around...). We keep the thermostat at 68, and only heat the floor we're on--if we're on the main level and need heat, we'll turn on the gas fireplace and then turn on the central fan and living room ceiling fans to circulate the heat. At night, we only need to heat the master bedroom (since all the kids decided to move into our bedroom despite having their own rooms. : ), so we just heat that room with an electric fireplace (a fancy space heater I guess. LOL!)

In the summer, our electric bills were even lower because we were out so much and rarely kept on the AC.

ETA: And we're in the Columbus, Ohio region.

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#11 of 34 Old 11-07-2010, 06:31 PM
 
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Kyamo - Thanks for that! i didn't know it was apossibility. i will ask.

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#12 of 34 Old 11-07-2010, 06:46 PM
 
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I haven't gotten a gas bill yet in our new apartment (I'm hoping it's low!) but my first electric bill was $14 for 1/2 a month. So I'm going to guestimate $30 for a full month during non-summer months when we'd be running the A/C. Our heat and water heater are gas. We only use space heaters for the bathrooms so we don't freeze to death and the thermostat is set at 62, though I might have to go a little higher.

I know some people in much older houses that have $200 gas bills even though they keep the thermostat below 60 (yes really!). I think most of it has to do with the efficiency of the house not how low you keep the thermostat.
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#13 of 34 Old 11-08-2010, 12:19 PM
 
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I live in North Dakota, and it gets COLD in the winter! It also gets hot and humid in the summer, so we run the AC a lot.

On a budget plan, our gas and electric together are $141/month. We have a gas furnace, electric everything else; the house is 20 years old, 2000 sf, and we are a family of two adults and two teenage boys. We have a plan with the electric company that they turn off our water heater during the day (during the week), and we have a programmable thermostat that adjusts the temperature when we're gone during the day, and at night.

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#14 of 34 Old 11-08-2010, 12:51 PM
 
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We have had pretty much gas everything in our houses.

And since we rely on natural daylight unless the sun is actually down, our electric bill has been reliably under $50.

Gas bills are something else though. Gas stove (I cook a lot), gas water heater, gas dryer, and gas whole-house heat. In the worst months of winter, we get at least one 400+ bill, and that's in smaller houses, with us wearing a lot of sweaters. Course, in the summer it goes way, way down, as we don't have the heater on, I use the crockpot more, and we use less hot water.
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#15 of 34 Old 11-08-2010, 01:32 PM
 
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2600 square feet, all on one level in the foothills outside of Denver.

$85 - $115 for electric - higher in the winter as we run fans to distribute air in the house as well as on the fireplace insert. Also, we normally buy a portion of a cow in the fall, so the deep freezer will be plugged in, but this summer it wasn't.

propane - $80 a month in the winter, maybe $20 a month in the summer. (furnace & hot water heater)

However, we only heat the house to 50 degrees with the propane heater in the winter, and use wood heat to provide all additional heat.

Lots of windows, but they are double paned which helps some. house is not sealed tight (need to do this ASAP as huge drafts around doors leading to the outside.)
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#16 of 34 Old 11-08-2010, 01:41 PM
 
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NE Ohio here with a 1956 ranch/crawl/poor insulation/1500 sq ft.

We have gas heating,stove,water heater.All the rest is electric.
Oh also septic with aeration so elelctric pumps.

We have maybe 150-250 gas bill in the winter.Electric was 48 this last bill down from 67.

I am thinking maybe your space heaters are causing the high electric.I try to unplug things when not using them.Did the new light bulbs and on/off cover the windows in the winter. I set the heat for 67 or 68.I would do 66,but get to much whining.

Maybe get a free home energy audit to see what other options there are.Close off spare rooms and close the vents in those areas.
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#17 of 34 Old 11-08-2010, 02:18 PM
 
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Our current 12 month average is just under $130 for an all electric house, including heat and hot water. We use energy efficient lights, turn them off when we leave the room, unplug tv, etc. at night, hang clothes outside 8 months of the year, keep the heat at 14C /58F at night and 18C/64F during the day. We also don't have any a/c and use fans instead during the summer, but it gets cold here and we need heating from October-May.

Adding that there are 6 of us, and the house is about 1000 sq ft plus full basement, which is also heated.
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#18 of 34 Old 11-08-2010, 02:27 PM
 
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Electric in the summer tops out around $185. Usually $60-70ish during the winter. We have a gas furnace, in the winter I think the most expensive has been $90. Usually around $27 most warm months. I budget the high amount for each, for every month during the year. We use the months where there are leftover funds as needed for household stuff, otherwise it gets shipped off the savings account.
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#19 of 34 Old 11-08-2010, 02:32 PM
 
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I thought we paid an insane amount for electricity/heating due to waste (need more insulation in our house) but after reading through we don't sound that bad. I think our rates are cheaper here.

Just under 1000 sq ft home, electric baseboard heaters as only source of heat. We paid $1600 for electricity last year varying from $40/mth in summer (no a/c) to $250/mth in winter.

Waiting to see how much improvement there will be this winter with newer insulation and upgrades this past summer.

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#20 of 34 Old 11-08-2010, 03:05 PM
 
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average electric usage per household, USA:

Quote:
11,040 kWh, an average of 920 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month.... Tennessee had the highest annual consumption at 15,624 kWh and Maine the lowest at 6,252 kWh.
http://www.eia.doe.gov/ask/electricity_faqs.asp
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#21 of 34 Old 11-08-2010, 03:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hennaLisa View Post
I should have said, we live in Atlanta.
I live in Atlanta too, and spend what you spend as well and we are still cold too. It is expensive here.
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#22 of 34 Old 11-08-2010, 03:43 PM
 
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Bills are going to vary a lot for multiple reasons. Therms (gas) and kilowatts per hour (electricity) will be a bit more comparable since those are units of measure and leave price out of the equation.

We have a 1421 sq ft townhome (two stories) in a mild climate. We have gas: furnace/heating, dryer, stove/oven, and hot water heater. The washing machine and refrigerator are the only large electric appliances we have. No A/C or separate freezer. We haven't even used our furnace since February 2009.

For fun, I went into our account online. I can see 25 months of information. We had a MAJOR flood on May 1, 2009. That happens to be the exact day they read our meter, so part of the high electric expense from the fans and blowers made it on the April bill and the rest is on the May bill. With the reconstruction, even our June bill was slightly higher than average, but I left that month in all calculations. I'm a math geek, so here's some fun facts...

Our therm usage ranges from 9 to 32, which averages just under 18 therms per month, and our most common usage is 13 therms (the bill is different for each instance, tho, due to pricing fluctuations). Our bill for just the gas portion ranges from $7.82 to $34.72, which averages $18.57 per month.

Our kWh usage ranges from 295 to 672 (flood) / 414 (ignoring flood), which averages 369 (w/flood) / 349 (w/o flood), and our most common usage is 350. Our bill for just the electric portion ranges from $43.14 to $131.85 (flood) / $58.97 (ignoring flood), which averages $55.13 per month (w/flood) / $50.18 (w/o flood).

Our bills come from the same place and include both gas and electric. The lowest is $56.72 and the highest is $150.92 (flood) / $91.79 (ignoring flood). The average is $73.70 (w/flood) / $68.74 (w/o flood) and our most common bill is $65.

In the past 25 months (including the flood months), we have spent less than $1845 in gas & electric bills. We're home a lot and we cook most meals from scratch. Our kitchen was out of commission for the better part of nine weeks due to the flood and reconstruction. Our therms (mostly gas here) usage was still high. In fact, when I analyzed our usage keeping in mind the flood and the changes we made after it (new hot water heater and new range/range hood and new sliders and new flooring), our new gas appliances are much more efficient!

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#23 of 34 Old 11-08-2010, 04:07 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SleeplessMommy View Post
average electric usage per household, USA:
11,040 kWh, an average of 920 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month.... Tennessee had the highest annual consumption at 15,624 kWh and Maine the lowest at 6,252 kWh.

http://www.eia.doe.gov/ask/electricity_faqs.asp

In the past 25 MONTHS (more than two YEARS), we've used 9,228 kWh...an average of 369 kWh per month (and that includes two extreme months for us and one higher than average month). In the 2009 calendar year, we used 4,794 kWh (includes the anomalies mentioned above; averages 399.5/mo). If I just take the last 12 months, we have used 4,145 kWh (averages 345/mo).

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#24 of 34 Old 11-08-2010, 11:24 PM
 
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Last month we used 831 KWH for $99.85 and used .6 therms/day for $20.89. We live in MN in a 2600 sqft home. In the winter we are usually at $100/month for electricity and $100/month for gas.

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#25 of 34 Old 11-08-2010, 11:25 PM
 
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I'd LOVE to have those bills! We're in Florida (northern, so a little chillier). We are all electric, 1100 sq ft. Heat stays around 70 and AC around 78....our budget billing for electric is barely under $300/month!!
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#26 of 34 Old 11-08-2010, 11:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hennaLisa View Post
I need to know what other relatively frugal households manage to spend on gas/electricity per month. Please share!

Our bills seem unreasonably high to me - in the winter we tend to spend $150/month on gas as well as $150/month on electricity. We have a gas heater and water heater, and electric everything else including space heaters which we use at night. I often wrap up in blankets and even wear a ski jacket in the evenings indoors.

If you have any tips for how to lower bills, I would love to hear them. My husband keeps saying we need a way to heat just the areas we're in - rather than the whole house. Our house is about 1600 square feet. Any suggestions?
Our "house" is a drafty mobile home that is older than us and is ~ 900 square feet, located in Anchorage, Alaska.

The electric bill is currently $71/month.
The gas bill is currently on budget billing at $90/month.

The snow has been on the ground for a week now.

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#27 of 34 Old 11-08-2010, 11:43 PM
 
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funny, i just recently figured out what we spend on utilities in an average month. figured out the average over 12 months because, obviously, we spend more for gas in the winter for heat and more for electric in the summer for a/c.

electric - $24.40/month
gas - $42.79/month

our electric bill has gone down since i enrolled in the summer discount plan last year. i get a credit on our bill during the summer season and, if necessary, the electric company will turn off or cycle our air conditioner's compressor off and on during an energy emergency.

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#28 of 34 Old 11-09-2010, 12:19 AM
 
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We have gas heat and stove and water heater, along with a wood furnace. We live in a drafty old house that is often in transition due to the major work we have done the past several years, including gradually increasing insulation and adding removing certain exterior doors.

We use a lot of wood which we do not pay for although we rent a splitter. We keep our thermostat set at 55 at night and 60-65 during the day. We turn it down on warmer afternoons like we have right now. When it gets really cold in January or so we will keep the thermostat a little higher to compensate. The gas comes on if the wood isn't keeping it up to temp, so keeping a good fire in the basement furnace makes a big difference.

We are in Kentucky. Our house is about 1800 sq. feet. Even with the wood going steadily our gas bill will reach $200 during one or two coldest months. It runs at least $40 in the summer just for stove and water heater.

We enclosed our front porch as a room and airlock to create an extra insulated layer. We don't use it as a room in winter although we are going to dry our laundry in there this winter.

We close off rooms, lower thermostat whenever we can (and wear slippers!), work hard for the wood, and try to get the house a little better sealed each year. Gas rates increase for us this year.

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#29 of 34 Old 11-10-2010, 07:28 AM
 
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I was feeling really bummed that my bills were the highest ($273), until I realized that they also include water usage! Phew!


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#30 of 34 Old 11-10-2010, 07:37 AM
 
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Our utility bill includes electricity, trash and water and never gets below $150 a month.  Everything is run on electricity except for our heater. We live in a 110 year old house that has had a few updates (new windows, possbily some insulation).  Our gas bills in the summer are $20 a month for no usage, that's just to keep it on. In the winter our gas usually runs between $100-$150 a month.  We have a programmable theromstat that is set for 63 at night and 68-71 throughout the day.  So, our we average about $300 for the two monthly year round.  This is a huge savings from our previous house.  There we received $300 a month gas bills in the winter.  Another old house but it had the original windows and no insulation. 


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