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Home heating costs
Old 05-23-2008, 11:08 AM   #1
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Home heating costs

I've seen loads of information regarding what escalating oil costs are doing to the price of gas and diesel fuel but little discussion of the potential impact of $130+ prices on home heating oil. I did see a comment in one article that current price levels could result in costs of $5,000 to heat a home in the northeast this winter.

Dang, that could really screw up your budget...even if you save on gas by riding your bike to work.
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Old 05-23-2008, 11:41 AM   #2
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I can't imagine an average middle class working person in the northeast paying $5000 to heat a home, even if that was split up among several months' bills. Would people move away? I cannot imagine that happening, given the higher salaries in the northeast.

I do spend more in heating and cooling my home than I spend on gasoline. One nice thing about living in New Orleans is that temperature control in one's home is a matter of comfort, not survival. If the poop hit the fan, I could just turn off the heat or A/C and deal with it.
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Old 05-23-2008, 11:48 AM   #3
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Yep, that'll get your attention. High efficiency oil burning furnaces and boilers are quite a bit more expensive than HE natural gas/propane fueled ones, so fuel prices will have to get up and appear destined to stay up before homeowners will buy new, higher efficiency equipment.

Better insulation/new windows, etc will now become attractive for many homeowners who have been putting this off.

Alternative heating:
-- Solar heat makes a lot of sense in some locations. In general, it's still prohibitively expensive to engineer solar heating systems that provide heat for 70-100% of the heat requirements in northern latitudes (it requires very big collectors and expensive storage means to keep the heat for nights and extended cloudy periods) but it's usually economically viable to install a smaller system to gather heat for immediate use when the sun is shining.
-- Propane: Expensive, and another equipment swap is required.
-- Corn/wood pellet furnaces: If wood products are produced nearby, i think the wood pellet furnaces are still economical. Corn-not so much (thanks to the gummint ethanol mess). They burn fairly clean.

Yep, some budgets are gonna be severely pinched. More sweaters and electric blankets.
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Old 05-23-2008, 02:06 PM   #4
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And of course it will put upward pressure on natural gas (heats our home). Rats. Guess I better ratchet up the savings rate for winter.
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Old 05-23-2008, 05:52 PM   #5
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I have natural gas for central heat, hot water, and kitchen stove.

Just yesterday I received a snail mail from the local natural gas supplier (Vectren).

Normally I can lock in a price for the next 12 months. The letter says the price is so high, I should probably wait for lower prices. I'm supposed to monitor prices and decide when I want to lock in a given rate; and until I decide, to go at the variable rate.

They will send me the rates for free so I can make a decision.

So now I have to guess month to month whether the cost of gas will go up or down.
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Old 05-23-2008, 08:54 PM   #6
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In our california home, we heat with a wood stove most of the time, and use a propane furnace when we are not going to be home long enough to warrant firing up the stove. For a "shower and outta there" morning, we have the electric ceramic heater for the master bath (from excess solar electricity produced, so costs us nothing). All in all, I think we will spend less than $400-500 a year on heating (2-3 cords of nicely cut and delivered almond wood) plus a little propane for those other mornings. I plan to plant a few trees as well, in case almond wood prices go up.

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Old 05-23-2008, 10:37 PM   #7
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I have natural gas for central heat, hot water, and kitchen stove.

Just yesterday I received a snail mail from the local natural gas supplier (Vectren).

Normally I can lock in a price for the next 12 months. The letter says the price is so high, I should probably wait for lower prices. I'm supposed to monitor prices and decide when I want to lock in a given rate; and until I decide, to go at the variable rate.

They will send me the rates for free so I can make a decision.

So now I have to guess month to month whether the cost of gas will go up or down.
Kahn

Have you been to the PUCO site, Apples to Apples to check gas prices?

http://www.puco.ohio.gov/Puco/Apples...as.cfm?id=4582

I think your gas utility in Dayton is Vectren. You will see their monthly price at the top of the page and the other suppliers below in the table.

After playing games with gas suppliers for the last ten years I gave up and went back to our utility, Columbia Gas in Columbus. I've been back with them for two years now and saved money over all the other suppliers.

In my opinion the deregulation of natural gas in Ohio was a deal by state legislators to get their buddies into the gas business.

By Ohio law your utility can't profit from price increases in natural gas, they just pass the cost on to the customer. The other suppliers can make a profit and the ones that don't go belly-up. I've had three suppliers fold on me in ten years.
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Old 05-24-2008, 07:48 AM   #8
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Our local Electrical Co-op announced a rate increase due to escalating natural gas prices driving up generating costs. They included this graph showing gas price history and a forecast for the next 12 months:



Khan, if this graph is anywhere near accurate, looks like you'd be better off locking in sooner rather than later...
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Old 05-24-2008, 08:34 AM   #9
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Just means a lot more northerns moving to the year round warmth of sunny San Antonio.
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Old 05-24-2008, 08:42 AM   #10
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Average price per gallon of home heating oil where I live here in New England is currently $4.40 (last year I locked in at $2.60). According to my oil dealer the average usage in his area here is 800-1,000 gallons per home per heating season. So if that holds it will be $3,500 to $4,400 next year to heat. I'm already working on my 2009 budget. Some fun stuff has to go.
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Old 05-24-2008, 08:52 AM   #11
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I have been burning more wood just to keep up with the increases in LP each year...I guess if there is a big bump this year, I will have to eat some of the costs...my furnace is 18 years old so might be worthwhile to look at an upgraded system now?
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Old 05-24-2008, 08:56 AM   #12
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Just means a lot more northerns moving to the year round warmth of sunny San Antonio.
Year round warmth my @ss. It was 99 here yesterday with a heat index of 107 (no, it isn't a dry heat...). It's only MAY!
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Old 05-24-2008, 09:38 AM   #13
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The temperatures aren't as hot here this week as in REWahoo's Texas location, but the oppressive humidity tells me right away that I am living in New Orleans!

Monday was less humid, and I got some yard work done in the early morning. But now, summer is here. This morning the humidity was so bad that I had to stop doing yardwork at 9 AM and go cool off in the shower.

So much for spring! Summertime, and the living is easy (but only because it's too doggone hot for anything else).
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Old 05-24-2008, 10:21 AM   #14
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After a week in the 100's, its 55 and raining here right now.

This is happening because I have 80 bags of concrete sitting in my driveway with a tarp over them.

So if you hot weather folks want a break in your utility bills, buy some concrete. Lowes can deliver it in two days. Maybe.

I'm sort of screwed living in a temperate region. There isnt much I can do thats cost effective for heating or cooling. I'm looking at 15 and 20 year paybacks on things like a pellet stove, fireplace inserts, high efficiency furnaces, etc.
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Old 05-24-2008, 10:42 AM   #15
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I'm sort of screwed living in a temperate region. There isnt much I can do thats cost effective for heating or cooling. I'm looking at 15 and 20 year paybacks on things like a pellet stove, fireplace inserts, high efficiency furnaces, etc.
But if energy costs keep going UP, UP, UP, these may be good hedges...

But, reflecting on your concrete dilemna, I'm sure that the way to lower electric rates is for me to spend $30k on a solar installation...
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Old 05-24-2008, 10:59 AM   #16
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I think God will pay for some of my increased energy costs in my 2009 budget I am working on. I give a certain percentage to my church but will have to cut that back substantially next year I think. So, in effect, God will be funding the escalating costs. Hate to do it but have to.

"God's all-powerful, all wise and all knowing, but never seems to have enough money."

George Carlin
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Old 05-24-2008, 11:09 AM   #17
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Pray for a mild winter
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Old 05-24-2008, 11:18 AM   #18
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I'm not sure, but I think that ticking God off by reducing his funding when he controls the weather just might be a bad idea.
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Old 05-24-2008, 12:55 PM   #19
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We just received our May natural gas bill and the rate is the highest I have seen it since I have lived here (3.5 years). Our highest bill was Jan 21 - Feb 21, 2008 at $246. I calculated what it would be at the new rate - $307...ouch!

My husband wants to go back to Florida sooner rather than later because he doesn't like the cold winters here. Not only are they going to be cold, they are going to be costly. Time to move again!
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Old 05-24-2008, 01:22 PM   #20
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For anyone building new, I would strongly recommend investigating geothermal heat.
In Minneapolis, my heating bill last winter was roughly $150. $7 a month for the electric pump that works the geothermal system which covers 80% of our heating needs, and $33 for natural gas for the three coldest months when the geothermal wasn't enough.
That and excellent insulation will go a long ways to reducing heating bills.
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