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Winter gas bill

By 3 August 2012 92

Just out of interest, what would an average quarterly winter gas bill (eg. May-June-July) be like if you heat with gas (+ a gas stove in my case)?

Mine totaled $740 and I had people tell me to check for gas leaks. I live in a pretty badly insulated 2 bedroom rental and have ducted gas heating, with ducts in the ceiling. Takes forever to get the house up to an acceptable temperature on frosty mornings. We are away from home for a minimum of 35 hours during the week.

I do vaguely remember getting up to over $600 in a previous rental with ducted gas heating though. Floor ducts, but the insulation was even worse there.

So does an amount like that sound normal for a house with below average energy rating?

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92 Responses to Winter gas bill
#1
tommy6:06 pm, 03 Aug 12

If we mis-use the gas ducted heating here, we can get $900 bills – old big house, lots of bed rooms (ceiling insulation, ducts in all rooms). Doesn’t take very long to warm up the house in the morning. We turn it off at night and during the weekdays.

#2
kakosi6:29 pm, 03 Aug 12

Sounds about right. I only use gas for instant hot water and that adds up to about $150 – and that’s for less than one hour a day.

Gas is expensive and we were all duped into thinking it would be a cheaper “environmentally friendly” option. And it’s neither of those two things. So glad I went with reverse cycle electric air con as it’s much cheaper than your gas bills.

#3
MMR6:33 pm, 03 Aug 12

Last year our winter gas bill was $1100 + GST. We rent a 4br 2 storey house (est. 2006) with ducted gas heating, gas hot water and hotplates. The house has no ceiling insulation. Was our first winter in Canberra so wasn’t sure what to expect with the bill and got quite a shock when it arrived. Have severely changed habits this winter & no longer use the heating of a morning and now use it for a max. 2 hours at night. Offered owner $$$ to assist with install of ceiling insulation back in April. Still waiting for an answer despite repeated approaches to real estate agent.

#4
thatsnotme6:50 pm, 03 Aug 12

It might help if you tell us what temperature you’re heating to. There’s a big difference between heating your house to 20 degrees, and 24 degrees. If it’s taking that long to heat a 2 bedroom place, it indicates to me that the heating unit mustn’t be all that efficient either. If it’s old, it may be using a lot more gas than a newer unit would.

We’ve had $1,000+ gas bills over winter, and I’d expect another soon. 4 bedroom house with fairly dodgy ceiling insulation, and no wall insulation, heated to 20 in the morning and evening, and it comes on if the house drops below 14 at night – mainly because we have two young children. The bill will blow out because my wife’s still on maternity leave, so the heating’s been used a lot more during the day than normal.

#5
dugite6:55 pm, 03 Aug 12

The size of you gas bill will vary according to many things, but one of the main problems in Canberra houses is air leakage — especially in old and modified rental properties. Air leaking around downlights, windows and ducts is often much more important (and easier to fix) than insulation problems.

#6
Madam Cholet7:55 pm, 03 Aug 12

Crikey! By way of comparison our July electric bill was $450. I expect our next one to be smaller. North facing small 3 bedroom. We are out mostly during the week although one day a week at home. We only really heat the living area. We also have a system in the roof space that pushes warm air into the house in winter and does the opposite in summer.

#7
KB19718:21 pm, 03 Aug 12

Our gas bill was $504 & that was expensive for us. We only heat what we need to when we need to & turn it off at night.

We have a single story 4 bedroom house, 180m2, with wall furnaces.

Our last house was 1/2 the size with central heating & cost $100 a 1/4 more.

I dont think central heating is that efficient, especially if it is coming from the roof as the heat travels through the piping outside the insulated bit of your house.

#8
Hosinator8:24 pm, 03 Aug 12

$595. We are in a 3 bedroom one bathroom home. The house orientation is north-south, with only the bedrooms getting sun throughout the day. There is no wall insulation.
My wife has been on maternity leave since November 2011 and she heats the house during the day if it drops below 17 degrees. We heat throughout the whole night because of our baby.

Our house leaked like a sieve until we installed underfloor insulation and magnetite secondary glazing over the windows. We do have ceiling insulation.

In older homes, heat loss through windows can be between 20 and 40%. We used to feel a breeze coming through our windows…when they were closed. We could also feel cold air coming through our floor boards.

Houses in Canberra (even modern ones) should be used as a case study of how not to build houses in a climate similar to ours. We place the thermal mass of the house on the outside (brick), where it super heats in summer (thus requiring air-conditioning) and provides no benefit in the winter.
Even the standard for double glazing here is pi$$ poor.

#9
damien haas8:58 pm, 03 Aug 12

$740 is about three tons of wood. That should last you over winter.

The best thing about wood heating is that you are using sustainable renewable fuel.

#10
blimkybill9:12 pm, 03 Aug 12

Just got a bill for $840 for my fairly poorly insulated 4 bedroom house. This is a little more than last year but I think it has been colder this winter. We have ducted gas heating. I love being comfortable at home so I am willing to pay it. But am also planning to invest in better insulation.
I think if your house is taking a long time to heat up, there’s a chance that some of the ducting may have holes or gaps – the heater could be pumping lots of its hot air into the celing. Ours warms the house quickly – about 10 minutes and you start feeling better.

#11
poetix9:19 pm, 03 Aug 12

I think I win. Or lose. $881 for a quarter for a two bedroom house. That was a lovely surprise. I think it was built when people expected to be cold.

#12
poetix9:38 pm, 03 Aug 12

poetix said :

I think I win. Or lose. $881 for a quarter for a two bedroom house. That was a lovely surprise. I think it was built when people expected to be cold.

And there’s still a crack in the window because I’m afraid of the potential asbestos, and haven’t prised any out to have a test etc etc.

Being a wimp costs a lot.

#13
Nightshade9:48 pm, 03 Aug 12

I have ducted gas heating (electricity for everything else), and my gas bill was $280 for the last quarter. Three bedroom 1970s brick house with ceiling insulation; can’t remember the EER but it wouldn’t be over 2. Heating vents are in the floor.

During the week I use the heating for 5-6 hours in the evening, and heat to 18-19 degrees. I have ducts throughout the house but close off the bathroom, toilet and laundry (to judge by the resulting temperature in the bathroom, those doors insulate very well!) I don’t heat in the morning. On weekends I heat for a couple of hours in the morning if I get up early, but the living area and bedrooms are north-facing with large windows so the sun is more than enough for most of the day.

#14
beejay769:49 pm, 03 Aug 12

Around $350 here. We have a small 3 bedder, heating off at night and most of the day, and set to 19 for mornings and evenings. Our house is well insulated, but friends of mine who also have well insulated houses often have bills of at leat double ours. This is largely because they run the heating all night, and/ or they set the temp well over 20. Perhaps if you have the temp high you could try setting it lower. Otherwise, check for gas leaks ;)

#15
Primal11:10 pm, 03 Aug 12

beejay76 said :

Around $350 here. We have a small 3 bedder, heating off at night and most of the day, and set to 19 for mornings and evenings.

Sounds about right. I do not like my winter gas bill… I think I’d have a heart attack if it got anywhere near some of the other numbers in this thread!

#16
trevar7:54 am, 04 Aug 12

Thanks for posting, Watson. This has been an interesting comparison.

We have a five bedroom single level brick veneer house with reasonable insulation, converted to a dual occupancy but still with a single heating system. We run a central gas heating system at 20 degrees in the mornings (from 5:30am until 8am) and 21 in the evenings (3pm to 11pm). We have gas hot water on demand and electric cooking. The heating system has been run for the last four winters with no maintenance at all. We had the ducting cleaned in June this year.

Our August quarter for the last four years has been $717, $750, $855 and $1038. This last one was August 2011, and was a big jump because we had a member of the house suffering from pneumonia and kept the heating on overnight and through the day for six weeks of the August quarter.

Oddly, this last summer being so cold we didn’t turn the heating off at all, and the February quarter was $50 cheaper than the previous year ($150) when the heating was off and we only used the gas for water.

#17
Innovation8:30 am, 04 Aug 12

I know the Op said May-Jun-Jul but out of interest, are all other posters comparing like with like. I just checked our bill and it is for Mar-Apr-May and our “next scheduled reading” isn’t until early Sep so I’m guessng our August bill won’t be a true refection of actual consumption.

#18
pepmeup8:49 am, 04 Aug 12

My brother just got a $1300 gas bill, he is having his Gas heating looked at this week. I would be a little annoyed finding a bill that size in the letterbox.

#19
JC9:01 am, 04 Aug 12

$500 for the first quarter, which is ducted gas, instant hot water and gas cooking in a 3 bed built in 2000.

We have the temperature set to 23 on the heater (though at lounge height it is closer to 20-21) and have two people using the shower. For this bill my wife was home a lot more than usual so the heater would have been used quite a bit.

So overall not too bad considering.

#20
mr_spoon9:10 am, 04 Aug 12

Around $285 here, in a 17 year old theoretically EER4 3-bedroom place with gas heating, hot water and cooktop. We only heat the house during the day when we’re home, and turn it off overnight. I’ve added extra insulation to the ceiling in the last year or so, and am currently battling with the drafts around the crappy aluminium sliding window frames and around doors. I may have to replace the ceiling fans with ones that aren’t just holes into the ceiling space.

Every winter seems a little bit colder than the one before.

#21
Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd9:38 am, 04 Aug 12

Gas is the worst. Put a fire place in and for the cost of nothing more than some physical work we have zero bill. In fact, because of solar panels on the roof, our last electricity bill was 350 in credit.

Insulation, laminated glass in some windows, secondary glazing in others, our house is always toasty.

Secondary glazing is fine in Canberra, no need for double glazing unless you have the spare cash.

#22
Kurrajong10:08 am, 04 Aug 12

Our 4 BR home winter (july – sep) gas bill is heading towards $850 based on today’s meter reading. Gas is on timer : 2 hrs morning 16 deg; 5hrs evening 18-20 deg. Individual rooms use electric oil column heaters, eg study, as required.

I’ll share some life lessons:

When buying a home ask to see the previous year (or two) of energy bills: can save you heaps and can make a purchase decision easier.

In a two storey home, if possible, isolate each floor by installing doors at the bottom of the stairs. We did this in a 22 sq townhouse and it cut the following year’s energy bill by one third (yes, a third!). WE were fruitlessly pumping energy into the lounge but it just made upstairs warmer. After the doors went on the lounge stayed warm and we lost very little heat up the stairs.

Encourage your kids to leave home. Yes, when my daughter left for uni our yearly energy bill decreased by $500. What price love?

When renovating, insulate any wall, floor or ceiling cavity that you can gain access to. It also helps with sound attenuation. Insulation is relatively cheap so don’t skimp on it.

#23
Watson10:21 am, 04 Aug 12

Wow, some big differences here.

I have the thermostat set to 20 from 6am to 8.30am and then again from 3 or 4pm to 8.30pm. I used to just put it on 5 degrees overnight, but with it taking so long to warm up in the mornings, I now set it to 14 degrees. And still it was only 17 degrees when we left for school/work the other morning! And it feels much colder than that. It seems to only raise the temp about 2 degrees in an hour. Which seems extremely wasteful. I will mention it to the landlords.

My house faces West. With only a couple of small windows on the East and North.

I have been meaning to draft proof it and hang proper window coverings. But it is hard to get motivated if it’s a rental. Still, if I would’ve done it when I moved in 5 years ago, I probably would’ve saved myself the money it would have cost me to buy decent curtains, etc.

I am moving to our new house with EER 6 end of this year and I will be very interested to see my heating bills there.

#24
MERC60010:44 am, 04 Aug 12

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd said :

Gas is the worst. Put a fire place in and for the cost of nothing more than some physical work we have zero bill. In fact, because of solar panels on the roof, our last electricity bill was 350 in credit.

Insulation, laminated glass in some windows, secondary glazing in others, our house is always toasty.

Secondary glazing is fine in Canberra, no need for double glazing unless you have the spare cash.

Am familar with double glazing, and its cost, but what please is ‘secondary glazing’. Thanks

#25
Chip11:30 am, 04 Aug 12

I agree with dugite – air leakage is a big culprit. No normal house would be so well sealed that lack of fresh air would be a problem so close everything up, install draught seals, slowly pass a wet hand or smoking incense stick around skirting, doors, windows, exhaust fans, wall vents and architraves to locate leaks and seal them up. With ducting, make sure that mice and general wear and tear haven’t created holes in it causing warm air to be lost under floor or in ceiling space. Try and use heating systems and furniture placement that minimise air movement, especially where people sit – chill factor compensation is costly and moving air loses heat to walls, windows and ceilings more quickly.

#26
Masquara12:53 pm, 04 Aug 12

Chip said :

No normal house would be so well sealed that lack of fresh air would be a problem …

Unless your house is free of plastics, estapol, synthetic surfaces, laminates, chipboard, and synthetic furniture sponge/rubber, you will find there’s quite a toxic buildup of fumes if you seal it up … you’ll find that the sorts of air-sealed eco-houses featured, say, on “Grand Designs”, have all-wood furniture, organic, natural, oiled, plastic-free surfaces and NO risk of toxic fumes within. Plus sophisticated air-replenishment technology …

#27
smont1:08 pm, 04 Aug 12

I’m quite blown away by some of the amounts being posted here. We have a typical 3br early-70s house with central gas heating (roof vents) that we set on 21 degrees morning and evening, gas instant hot water and gas cook tops; and our gas bill for quarter 13 Apr – 10 Jul (89 days) was $59. Just looking back through our last two years worth of bills online, it has never exceeded $60 for a quarter.

Our ceiling insulation is not particularly good; but our house is double brick, and we had double-glaze windows installed in lounge, bedrooms and kitchen 10 years ago. Had our central heating installed in 2005, five-star rated Braemar model (and no, I have no affiliation with Braemar!).

#28
frankie2:04 pm, 04 Aug 12

This is a very informative thread, thanks to everyone for adding their 2 cents!

I know the topic is regarding gas bills for heating, but I just wanted to ask if anyone has found definitively whether or not gas is better than electric for internal heating? My partner and I live in an old 4 bedroom EER 1.0 house with 2 other people, and last winter we had the electric internal heater turned on 24/7 for about 2 months, resulting in a quarterly electric bill of $951! We’re building our house at present and are putting in a gas heater… but talk of solar-powered electric heating on this thread seems as though it might be a better option cost-wise?

Thanks!

#29
Watson3:08 pm, 04 Aug 12

smont said :

I’m quite blown away by some of the amounts being posted here. We have a typical 3br early-70s house with central gas heating (roof vents) that we set on 21 degrees morning and evening, gas instant hot water and gas cook tops; and our gas bill for quarter 13 Apr – 10 Jul (89 days) was $59. Just looking back through our last two years worth of bills online, it has never exceeded $60 for a quarter.

Our ceiling insulation is not particularly good; but our house is double brick, and we had double-glaze windows installed in lounge, bedrooms and kitchen 10 years ago. Had our central heating installed in 2005, five-star rated Braemar model (and no, I have no affiliation with Braemar!).

Sounds like your double brick (pretty sure mine is single) and double glazing are saving you heaps of money then. I dream of double glazing. Everyone put it in their houses in Western Europe in the 70s. And proper shutters. Hard to find a house without those 2 things there, though admittedly the long term rental properties are pretty crappy and cold there too.

#30
Nightshade3:20 pm, 04 Aug 12

smont said :

I’m quite blown away by some of the amounts being posted here. We have a typical 3br early-70s house with central gas heating (roof vents) that we set on 21 degrees morning and evening, gas instant hot water and gas cook tops; and our gas bill for quarter 13 Apr – 10 Jul (89 days) was $59. Just looking back through our last two years worth of bills online, it has never exceeded $60 for a quarter.

Are you subtracting off the supply charge to get that figure? My quarterly gas bills in summer when I have zero usage are about $60.

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