How Much is Your Heating Bill? (And at What Temperature is Your Thermostat Set?) Pray Do Tell.

by jolyn on January 5, 2010

in bills

budget heating thermostat jpg

For January’s budget, I underestimated our power bill by over $100.

I don’t know what I was thinking: it’s only been freezing here for what seems forever.

I immediately turned the thermostat down from 68 to 66 degrees. I’m thinking of turning it down even lower, even though The Hubs already thinks I’ve gone too far. I could tell because he just kind of shook his head.

We’ve been married for a while now, people. (Hi, Hubs!)

You gotta understand, though: He’s from Alabama.

I’m from Kansas, people. I grew up in the land of, “If you’re cold, put on a sweater and stop your moaning!” We’re hardy folk. At least, hardier than Southerners. (Go ahead, let me have it.)

I’d really love to take an informal poll. Pretty please, participate? At least humor me? I truly am super curious.

  1. What temperature is your thermostat set at?
  2. What area of the country do you live in?
  3. How much was your last heating bill?
  4. Do you have electric or gas power? (or oil?)
  5. How big is your home?

As I said, our thermostat is now set at 66, but for our last bill it was 68.power bill

Our latest bill was $258.54. We only have electric power (heat pump) (old), no gas.

Our home is ~3200 square feet (1970′s tri-level) and we live in Ohio!

Of course, this extra $100 puts a damper on the original amount I budgeted toward our debt eradication this month. But I’m not throwing in the towel yet: I’m doing The Pantry Challenge, after all!

**

P.S. I’m deliberately teasing The Hubs to test whether he’s been keeping up with this blog. He’s been so busy with pre-deployment stuff and frantically trying to finish some remodeling work in the bathroom blowing this stuff off lately so I decided he was fair game. Anyone else from Alabama? Feel free to let me have it. But I still say you’re wusses.

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Financial Perks of a Deployment (Might as Well Look on the Bright Side)
January 7, 2010 at 12:00 am

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

John January 23, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Military family should keep their thermostat low in winter since you are I bet used to harsh conditions being in the military.

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John January 23, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Sorry! I see “Ohio” now… ;-) Perhaps moderator can correct my post ;-)

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John January 23, 2011 at 12:35 pm

You forgot to tell us where actually your house is (you live at)?

Here’s me:

1. What temperature is your thermostat set at? Mostly 60F, but sometimes 59 to 62F (in winter) and I heat one room to about 65067F with an electric radiator.
2. What area of the country do you live in? – Orangeburg county, central South Carolina
3. How much was your last heating bill? $215 (this is my total power bill for last month mid December through mid January)
4. Do you have electric or gas power? (or oil?) – all electric heat pump and a/c
5. How big is your home? 2500 sq. ft. one story, insulation outdated (too little)

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fred April 22, 2010 at 4:46 pm

$275 avg. tuscaloosa, AL
1500 sq ft 60′s home, single pane windows, uninsulated floor. poorly insulated attic.

Just installed radiant barrier in the attic and it made an immediate difference. Now must tackle insulating the floor in my crawl space.

if you are paying $600+, I bet your home is completely uninsulated. you need both fibergalss and radiant barrier in the attic and a good sealed floor.

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Beverly March 9, 2010 at 1:00 am

I am from Alabama also and your right, we can’t take the cold. I have to say though most people from up North probably couldn’t take the humidity here in the summer :)

I have gas heaters so no thermostat
Power bill was $210 last month (way too much I think)
Alabama
Home is around 1800 sq ft

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jolyn Reply:

I do hate humidity. ;)

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fred Reply:

my bill was $330 for the same month. ouch.

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Rachel January 29, 2010 at 11:52 am

1 Thermostat about 68-70
2 Live in North East Ohio and its friggin cold
3 Our heating bills have been about $600 per month this winter
4 Our house is all electric
5 The house was built in the mid-70′s with what I believe to be the original windows and drafty. The house is about 2600 sq ft.

We are renting because we are a military family that moves a lot. Never in our wildest dreams would we have imagined $600 per month on utilities (plus $500 per quarter for water). Our house is 2600 sq ft and in total for all of our utilities we are paying about $800 per month. We can’t afford this craziness and are considering breaking our lease because our landlords insist that’s normal and its just our usage. I call shenanigans! We cut off lights every time we leave a room and keep them off when we’re not there, we only do laundry once a week, we arent even home between the hours of 8:30am and 6pm, we wont even turn on the outside lights like the porch lights and didnt put up christmas lights! We also sealed the windows with plastic. Our neighbors say their bills arent nearly that high so I don’t understand why ours are so high. We said something must be wrong and the landlord disagrees so we are at a complete loss of what to do. Seeing this post helps because most of your bills are cheaper than mine – by a lot! I new I wasnt crazy, something has to be wrong!

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jolyn Reply:

That is seriously insane. Have you tried going to the base housing office to complain? You can also try calling the utility companies and asking what the history usage was and the amount charged, and compare it to yours from your statements.
Just some thoughts. That’s the downside of renting (and moving so much!) — we’re at the mercy of a landlord :(

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Rachel Reply:

Unfortunately there is no housing office because there is no base. My husband is a recruiter so you’re kind of out there on your own without any military installation. The water company shows a huge jump around the time we moved in but the electric bill has always been the same. Water I cannot understand because we do not have any leaks, we aren’t leaving water running, we dont have nay plants to water, we only do laundry one per week and have HE washer. With electricity they compared it only against the prior year and its about the same. Then in my opinion its been something wrong for over a year then!

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jolyn January 25, 2010 at 12:22 pm

The “bonus” room is so efficient, it also provides you with the “bonus” of having a fun family sleepover! Way to go saving on your heating bill.

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Sherry January 25, 2010 at 11:55 am

What temperature is your thermostat set at? 62 at night and during the day, 67 when we get up and in the evenings (no one is at home during the day)
What area of the country do you live in? Newnan, GA
How much was your last heating bill? 130
Do you have electric or gas power? (or oil?) Natural gas
How big is your home? 2150 sq. ft.
We live in a vaulted-ceiling one story home on a basement. When the temperature drops below freezing for several nights, I drop the temperatures in the house to the 50s at night and we all sleep in the bonus room upstairs (kids on the floor), with its own unit. We are mainly heating only one large room that way, and we went from over 200 dollars in a typical January to 130.

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Trina January 23, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Our last heating bill was $995. for about 5 weeks!!! Our home is a 2400 sq ft Cape Cod. We have propane heat. Since it is just the two of us, we have the heat upstairs turned down to 60 all of the time. Downstairs – 65 at night and during the day when we are at work, then 70 in the evenings. Our house is about 17 years old. Since moving in 2 years ago, we have replaced all fo the windows and added insulation into the attic. I think our next step will be to replace the heating unit. Just don’t know if we should go with propane, oil or electric. Fed up in TN!!

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jolyn Reply:

Holy smokes!! We had bills like that, month after month when we lived in Italy and had oil and a very, very old heater unit. It about broke us! The landlord finally updated the heater to gas and it all went away… ;)

I truly hope that you get your problem figured out. That is crazy super high!

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Sarah January 22, 2010 at 11:46 am

It’s interesting to see all the differences around the country!

What temperature is your thermostat set at? 65 all day and night. 68 if we start to get cold.
What area of the country do you live in? Northern California…I know. I grew up in Idaho and California has turned me into a pansy! Temps this month have been in the 50′s with lots of rain.
How much was your last heating bill? $101…our highest EVER. It usually averages between $50-$60 for power/gas/electric.
Do you have electric or gas power? (or oil?) Gas
How big is your home? about 900 sq ft plus an unfinished basement. It is older and very drafty.

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Carolyn January 19, 2010 at 4:24 pm

What temperature is your thermostat set at? 69 during the day (I work at home) and 62 at night (10 PMish to 7 AM)
What area of the country do you live in? Central Ohio
How much was your last heating bill? $52 on the budget
Do you have electric or gas power? (or oil?) Gas
How big is your home? approximately 1200 sf, built 1910s I believe.

My daughter uses a space heater set to a timer to warm up her room in the morning and has it turn on about 45 minutes before she gets up. I’ve done a lot of caulking windows and using draft dodgers for the doors, but I think one of the biggest thing I did was use that expandable foam insulation along the foundation in the basement to seal that. That made a huge, noticeable difference in indoor temperature. After the caulk and foam insulation, my budget dropped nearly $30 a month. My father-in-law lives on other side of town and has a 2400 sf, 1970s house, heats with gas, and routinely has $250/month gas bills.

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jolyn Reply:

Carolyn,
My husband and I were talking about that expandable foam insulation for the attic crawl space in our house, but we never got past the talking stage: what little research we did it didn’t seem we could recoup the $$investment in the time we have left here. I’d be interested to know how much that cost you to do if you were willing to share.

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Evelyn January 19, 2010 at 3:26 pm

Ouch, I hate winter heating bills! Ours last month was $140.62
location: Utah
Temp: 65-66 during the day, 62-63 at night
House: 1900 square foot (1970′s built)

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Crystal January 19, 2010 at 3:05 pm

We have natural gas and our heating bill was $168 this month. Two-story home in upstate NY, around 1500 square feet. The thermostat is set at 66, which keeps the downstairs at a nice temperature. The upstairs (where we both spend a lot of time in our offices) gets much colder, so we each have a space heater in our office to use as needed. Windows are all covered with plastic, we wear sweaters and warm socks and drink lots of tea.

This is our first year in this home so I’m okay with the costs. I am planning on making thermal curtains for all the upstairs windows for next year, to help stop the cold that comes off the windows (even when plastic’d!) when it’s 0 and below outside. That should help too.

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jolyn Reply:

Thermal curtains! That w/be awesome.

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April January 12, 2010 at 8:01 pm

Our electric/gas/outdoor light/dump bill can run anywhere from $120 to $300 depending on time of year of what the rates are. TVA rates here in TN can change drastically and in one year your usage can be exactly the same but yet your bill will be 30% higher. We also have switched to all new energy start appliance and our house (late 1800s farm house) stays between 65-68 with blankets cluttering up the couches/chairs for added warmth.

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retriever January 7, 2010 at 2:02 pm

We keep the heat off except in whichever room we are in (electric heat in a raised ranch approx 2000 sq ft), and never put it above 65-70 (usually 65) and wear sweaters. When I am at work and the kids at school, my spouse keeps the heat at 55. The animals follow the sun to find a room to sleep in. We once had the gas company lay a line to the house (free if you were planning to install gas heat), then the price of gas went up and you can’t just heat one room at a time, so it would have worked out more expensive. I think last bill was 300. Usual temperature now averages 30. The next month or two will be bad when we go to 0 to 20 and winter storms. The heat can’t keep up with any temp below 10, so it can go to 500 then. Our taxes are low, tho, which helps!

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Jen January 7, 2010 at 12:17 pm

During the day, when we’re home, it is set at 70. Overnight and when we’re out, it’s set at 60.

1600 square foot house in MA with gas heat.

We’re on the budget plan (equal pmts yr round) and pay $100ish per month.

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Angela January 7, 2010 at 12:19 am

Okay, i’ve been meaning to respond to this since i’ve had the conversation recently with some other friends. You have seen my house–it’s not huge, but we have a programmable thermostat. I think i’m around 1900 sq ft, not including the basement. I have the thermostat set at 68 in the morning, 65 during the day, 68 in the evening hours, and 62 at night. My husband is from the South too, and yes, he too complains about the cold, but he also wears short sleeves in the middle of winter—until i tell him to put on a sweater and quit complaining ;)
I can’t remember our last bill, but i can get back to you on that…

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Kelleigh @ Kelleigh Ratzlaff Designs January 6, 2010 at 7:13 pm

Oh, thought I would mention – Our electric is NOT Equal Pay (and I really should look into that! LOL!), so it is lower in the summer . . . but then we run the A/C in the summer, so I dunno.
AND, we have ginormous vaulted ceilings. That sucks.

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Kelleigh @ Kelleigh Ratzlaff Designs January 6, 2010 at 7:11 pm

1. What temperature is your thermostat set at? 67 when we are home and 65 when we are “away” mid-morning.
2. What area of the country do you live in? Oregon
3. How much was your last heating bill? $78 – We’re on Equal Pay, so the actual cost is much higher than this, but summer costs are lower, so for budget purposes it is $78 a month. You should look into Equal Pay!! I’m sure your company has it. BUT, see below and average it out.
4. Do you have electric or gas power? Both. Gas for water, fireplaces, etc. Our electric was $98.65.
5. How big is your home? 2700 sq. ft.

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Jessica January 6, 2010 at 6:20 pm

What temperature is your thermostat set at? mostly it is set at 68 but we turn it up to 70 at night because my DH is a pansy and thinks its too cold. ( i am with you put on a sweater and deal with it…)

What area of the country do you live in? we live in Nebraska, where currently in my little part of the state it is -5.

How much was your last heating bill? our last bill was $98.22

Do you have electric or gas power? (or oil?) we have electric ONLY

How big is your home? we have a townhome about 1200 sq feet, two stories.

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Marilyn January 6, 2010 at 5:57 pm

1. What temperature is your thermostat set at? On weekdays it’s set at 68 for about 10 hours a day, and turned down to 58 while we’re at work and in bed at night. On the weekends we leave it at 68 all day and turn it down to 58 at night. We love our programmable thermostat!
2. What area of the country do you live in? North Central KANSAS and it’s COLD right now!! Our high tomorrow is supposed to be 10 degrees with a low of -4.
3. How much was your last heating bill? Approximately $240 a month for propane not counting electricity. HOWEVER, that’s because my husband just had back surgery so we’re not using our Blaze King right now. :( Last winter we burned wood constantly and our propane bill was only $250 for the whole winter!
4. Do you have electric or gas power? (or oil?) Propane contracted at $1.25 a gallon.
5. How big is your home? 1300 sq. ft. ranch with a full basement.

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Mysti January 6, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Talk about a loaded question!!!

Thermostat is generally at 68, but I might bump it up to 70 for a few hours to take the chill off (haven’t gotten the hang of the programable thermostate yet).

Area of country: New England

Heating bill….we pay $205/month for oil…however, that is a budget plan that we pay for 11 or 12 months that includes the summer when we don’t use the oil, a fee for the budget plan, and a fee to get a better rate if one is available on the day that the oil is delivered (you asked!)

If you sort of figure it out by usage, we get about 120 gallons per month on fill up, at 2.79/gal, or about $335 worth.

I should also add that last year when all the gas prices went up…our oil bill was $517 a month. Yes…..over $500 a MONTH for just oil (electric is separate).

Type of energy….oil. Did you figure that out already?

House: 1349 sq feet (2 levels, plus attic and basement). It is 100 yrs old, with original windows, and it is DRAFTY!!!

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jolyn Reply:

Mysti,
A few houses around here use heat. When we were house hunting we avoided those homes like the plague. When we lived in Italy we had oil for the first year. $1000 heat bill! (for one month!) And we were freezing! The landlord updated the heater after that to gas.

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jolyn Reply:

I meant, use “oil”. Sheesh.

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Carla January 6, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Have you looked into Level Pay? Our power company has a program you can do (no charge) and they take the average usage from the past 12 months and that is what you pay each month, they re-evaluate it every year and it may go up or down a little….it helps me budget a lot!

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jolyn Reply:

Carla,
No, we haven’t. We like to live on the edge. That would make things way too predictable. ;)

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Tricia January 6, 2010 at 11:33 am

Ok you asked for it so here I go… Oh yah also did you know that January 10th is national cut your energy cost day… lol so this post came at a perfect time.

1. What temperature is your thermostat set at? 68 degrees
2. What area of the country do you live in? Nebraska… Talk about cold…..
3. How much was your last heating bill? 128 but before you freak…. We are super tight and have a wood burning stove, and three room heaters also
4. Do you have electric or gas power? (or oil?) propane…. Propane bill is 500 every two months
5. How big is your home? 2800 square feet built in 1970′s and is always cold…. We are renting but they have given us the option to buy which we will do in two years but there is alot of old things that we have not fixed yet.. We also plastic our windows to help.

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jolyn Reply:

Tricia,
I had no idea there even was a national energy day.
So you have electric power but propane for your heat? I bet it is cold up there in Nebraska!

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Nikki January 6, 2010 at 10:23 am

What temperature is your thermostat set at? 65
What area of the country do you live in? Stationed at Ft Benning. We are from Kansas though so this is not cold.
How much was your last heating bill? 228.34
Do you have electric or gas power? (or oil?) Electric
How big is your home? 3000 square feet built in the 60′s

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jolyn Reply:

Yea! Another displaced Kansan! I’m sure those southerners are freaking out about the recent weather. And you and all the other displaced northerners stationed there just laugh at them!

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Tiffany January 6, 2010 at 12:22 am

$301.28, live in Western Colorado, electric heat, 60-65 thermostat, 2 story approx 2,600 sf, outside temp between -14 – 30 degrees F. Is it spring yet?

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jolyn Reply:

Tiffany,
Holy Schmokes it’s cold there! 60-degree thermostat is hard-core. Dude.

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