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Being warm will drive you into debt?
Old 12-18-2007, 05:27 PM   #1
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Being warm will drive you into debt?

It has been a long time (20+years) since I have lived in the northern climes of this country so I have gotten out of touch as to how much it costs to keep the family warm during the winter in these cold areas. I live in south Texas and have no idea what my cost is for winter heating bills, but I do know that it is a whole lot less than my summer A/C bill.

I am amazed that anyone, much less over 10%, of my fellow countrymen are going into debt just to stay warm in the winter. An extra $2k/year would not blow my retirement budget, but it would surely be felt.

Are any of you folks feeling this pinch like the article suggests? Or, is this article overdoing it?


Quote:
Nearly 12 percent of Americans say they will need to borrow money to pay winter heating bills; 9 percent will need to use credit cards to be able to afford their heating bills.
Quote:
Residents of those areas could pay a total of $2,012 over the six winter months -- or an average of $353 a month -- to heat their homes through March 2008. That's a 34 percent increase over the previous winter's bills.
http://finance.yahoo.com/banking-bud...es-This-Winter
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Old 12-18-2007, 05:37 PM   #2
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I think our heating bill FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR is roughly that amount (not just during the winter months as in the article). Plus, we live in Canada, where it's much colder than the northern U.S.

Sounds like a lot of Americans are thin-blooded....
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Old 12-18-2007, 05:49 PM   #3
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Why would it surprise anyone that 12% will need to borrow money to heat their homes? As far as $353 a month to heat a home, say hello to the folks in Texas, and I would assume much of the south that pay in excess of that to cool their home in the spring, summer and fall, and, yes many borrow money to do it. I know lots of folks that would like to have a $353 electric bill in August!
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Old 12-18-2007, 05:49 PM   #4
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$1000 for natural gas in 2007; and I keep the thermostat low.
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Old 12-18-2007, 05:54 PM   #5
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$1000 for natural gas in 2007; and I keep the thermostat low.
And watch what happens to that when gas goes to $20/mcf!

I believe that much of our housing stock is well on its way to being functionally obsolete.

Ha
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Old 12-18-2007, 06:32 PM   #6
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We are running about $1100/year for gas heat and hot water for a 1600 sqft house in Ohio. So far this winter I haven't seen more than a 1% increase in gas prices.

December 2006 = $1.28484/ccf
December 2007 = $1.29677/ccf
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Old 12-18-2007, 06:35 PM   #7
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Sounds like a lot of Americans are thin-blooded....
Guilty!
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Old 12-18-2007, 08:01 PM   #8
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We use between 600 and 700 gallons of heating oil a year. 6 years ago, I think I was paying $1.40 or so a gallon. Latest bill was $3.40 a gallon.
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Old 12-18-2007, 08:25 PM   #9
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WOW, $3.40 a gallon for heating oil. Man am I glad I moved to Florida.
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Old 12-18-2007, 08:27 PM   #10
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$200 a year for natural gas. I cheat though my primary source is geothermal
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Old 12-18-2007, 08:49 PM   #11
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And watch what happens to that when gas goes to $20/mcf!

I believe that much of our housing stock is well on its way to being functionally obsolete.

Ha
The McMansions would seem less attractive with high gas prices.

What about houses that were not built recently? Older homes are supposed to have inadequate insulation, or is that usually the case? (sigh) I suspect that eventually I will probably buy an ER home that was built between 1950 and 1979. I can see much weatherstripping and attic insulation in my future.
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Old 12-18-2007, 08:53 PM   #12
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Sounds like a lot of Americans are thin-blooded....
Depends on the American! Frank keeps his house about 10 degrees colder than I do, and feels hot if his house is any warmer.
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Old 12-18-2007, 09:32 PM   #13
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We are running about $1100/year for gas heat and hot water for a 1600 sqft house in Ohio. So far this winter I haven't seen more than a 1% increase in gas prices.

December 2006 = $1.28484/ccf
December 2007 = $1.29677/ccf
I just looked today and am running at $980 for the last year, heat and h20....1300 sf home


Honestly, you cant argue with a budget of under $100 for gas

btw, and im in ne OHIO
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Old 12-18-2007, 10:26 PM   #14
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The McMansions would seem less attractive with high gas prices.

What about houses that were not built recently? Older homes are supposed to have inadequate insulation, or is that usually the case? (sigh) I suspect that eventually I will probably buy an ER home that was built between 1950 and 1979. I can see much weatherstripping and attic insulation in my future.
Some of the older homes could eat you out of house and home with heating costs. Many built in the 50's and 60's didn't have much insulation in the walls which is an expensive retrofit. Attic insulation in most homes is easy to add and not too expensive.

My house is was built in 1930 and had no sidewall insulation and only about 3 inches in the attic. When we first moved in I bought 2 rolls of caulking rope called Mortite every winter and sealed all the leaky windows. Over a period of 15 years I removed all the plaster in the house and stuffed it full of insulation and replaced all the windows with dual pane insulated glass plus storm windows.
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Old 12-18-2007, 10:34 PM   #15
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I just looked today and am running at $980 for the last year, heat and h20....1300 sf home


Honestly, you cant argue with a budget of under $100 for gas

btw, and im in ne OHIO
My gas budget is $103, same as last year. When June and July come around I'm usually caught up and just pay whatever the monthly cost is.

My electric is running about $97/month with AC in the summer.

Both gas and electric cover my 400 sqft shop in my detached garage which I use all winter.

I'm in Columbus.
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Old 12-18-2007, 10:53 PM   #16
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Some of the older homes could eat you out of house and home with heating costs. Many built in the 50's and 60's didn't have much insulation in the walls which is an expensive retrofit. Attic insulation in most homes is easy to add and not too expensive.

My house is was built in 1930 and had no sidewall insulation and only about 3 inches in the attic. When we first moved in I bought 2 rolls of caulking rope called Mortite every winter and sealed all the leaky windows. Over a period of 15 years I removed all the plaster in the house and stuffed it full of insulation and replaced all the windows with dual pane insulated glass plus storm windows.
Wow! That's a lot of work. Thanks for the info, even though it wasn't what I was hoping to hear.
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Old 12-18-2007, 11:35 PM   #17
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Wow! That's a lot of work. Thanks for the info, even though it wasn't what I was hoping to hear.
There are easier ways like having the insulation blown into the walls, but I'm the old diy guy and while I was at it, I replace all the old plumbing and wiring and fixed a few structural problems too.
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Old 12-18-2007, 11:42 PM   #18
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Okay, so I see the article mentions a 34% increase in heating bills this year. On the "average" $2000 bill they describe, that would be almost a $500 increase from last year. Substantial, but is that enough to tip over someone's annual budget? There are lots of possible unexpected $500 expenses (such as car/house repair) that someone could encounter. That's pretty thin planning for contingencies.

Likewise, the article identified 12% borrowing and 9% resorting to credit cards to pay the winter heating bills. If this is correct, about 20% of folks in cold winter climates are surprised enough that it costs more to heat a house in winter that they neglected to plan ahead during the rest of the year to cover this "unexpected" expense. If they have a similar approach to other planning, no wonder LBYM is not more common.
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Old 12-19-2007, 03:09 AM   #19
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I can certianly believe it. Growing up in Michigan in the 60's and 70's we ran out of fuel oil and had the lights cut off for non payment almost every January. Mom and dad said it was so we could afford to get socks, underwear and home made clothes for Christmas.

What I learned was to budget and plan for expences so I would be warm with working lights...what my sisters learned was to stack up on candles and flashlight batteries and occasionally "borrow" fuel oil from the neighbors every winter.

All of my sisters have a higher income than I do...but...
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Old 12-19-2007, 03:43 AM   #20
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averaging 329.00 4-6 weeks for propane in our new pa home. not counting electricity bill and we dont live there full time
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