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
#61
MsCheeky11:49 am, 14 Aug 12

Call me a spartan. I only heat the kitchen/family room, set at 18C. My house has a fantastic solar aspect, with north facing glass along most of it, so the sun does the job during the day. I only turn the heating on when I arrive home about 6.30pm, and it turns off at 9.30pm with enough residual heat to see me through to bedtime. No heating in the morning, as I’m up and moving to get ready for work anyway, though if I’m feeling a bit sooky, I may heat the south facing bathroom with a column heater for half an hour.

I have electric radiant heating. It works really well, but costs a bomb to run, as I’m paying NSW prices. I’m expecting, even with my spartan habits, a bill of at least $700 for June-August months. The only gas I have is for hot water.

I’m with you, Madame Cholet. Heating a house overnight? Can’t see the point. I have a nice warm doona and sleep with the window open, as I like the fresh air.

I once lived in a rental in Kingston that was south facing, no insulation, tiny windows and no heating. I take the lesson in miserable cold from that when I buy my houses and will not consider one that doesn’t have a northerly aspect. It is madness to not build for the climate.

#62
montana12:30 pm, 14 Aug 12

kakosi said :

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.

good luck using reverse cycle heater in the morning when its anything colder than 2 degrees outside, which in winter happens quite often.

#63
carnardly12:49 pm, 14 Aug 12

16 or 17 is warm enough for me with a thermal top! :-) If it’s wear it or pay for it we take wear it. The heater is never on over night.

We must be scabby – err spartan too.

#64
poetix12:55 pm, 14 Aug 12

KB1971 said :

poetix said :

Madam Cholet said :

I can’t believe how many people run their heating at night! Ever heard of more blankets? Our house has got as low as 9 degrees overnight which is still perfectly fine to get up and then put the heating on and shock horror, put a jumper and pair of socks on.

Never. We run the ducted heating all the time (a little lower at night). Hence our extraordinary bill.

Plus I use an electric blanket all night, and, only when strictly necessary, cuddling.

I am not prepared to be cold. You might as well live in a tent as get down to 9 degrees.

Forgive me Poetix but I cant help but see the irony here.

You are a vegitarian right? Presumably becuase you dont like what happens to animals? I respect that, no issue there but then you are happy to waste other parts of the earths resources because you are cold?

I know no one is perfect but I just fnd it funny how some people have high principles in one area completely miss another.

I was raised to turn all of this off when not using it, for the waste & the cost.

We’re all full of contradictions! I just have memories of a much too cold house while growing up. And being so cold as a student that I wore gloves while trying to study. I just don’t see this heating expenditure as waste. No doubt the cost will continue to climb, but this would be one of the last things I would choose to sacrifice. It’s a kind of therapy…

On the other hand, most of my day to day transport is a bike (except for one brief return car trip per day) so I probably use much less petrol than the average Canberran. I agree that my stance is at least arguably weird, but consistency is not one of my major aims in life.

#65
KB19711:42 pm, 14 Aug 12

poetix said :

KB1971 said :

poetix said :

Madam Cholet said :

I can’t believe how many people run their heating at night! Ever heard of more blankets? Our house has got as low as 9 degrees overnight which is still perfectly fine to get up and then put the heating on and shock horror, put a jumper and pair of socks on.

Never. We run the ducted heating all the time (a little lower at night). Hence our extraordinary bill.

Plus I use an electric blanket all night, and, only when strictly necessary, cuddling.

I am not prepared to be cold. You might as well live in a tent as get down to 9 degrees.

Forgive me Poetix but I cant help but see the irony here.

You are a vegitarian right? Presumably becuase you dont like what happens to animals? I respect that, no issue there but then you are happy to waste other parts of the earths resources because you are cold?

I know no one is perfect but I just fnd it funny how some people have high principles in one area completely miss another.

I was raised to turn all of this off when not using it, for the waste & the cost.

We’re all full of contradictions! I just have memories of a much too cold house while growing up. And being so cold as a student that I wore gloves while trying to study. I just don’t see this heating expenditure as waste. No doubt the cost will continue to climb, but this would be one of the last things I would choose to sacrifice. It’s a kind of therapy…

On the other hand, most of my day to day transport is a bike (except for one brief return car trip per day) so I probably use much less petrol than the average Canberran. I agree that my stance is at least arguably weird, but consistency is not one of my major aims in life.

Fair anough, thats your thing but I would be going & buying a better doona :)

#66
poetix1:49 pm, 14 Aug 12

KB1971 said :

Fair anough, thats your thing but I would be going & buying a better doona :)

Or a fatter husband. He’s too fit and slim.

#67
Craig15:00 pm, 20 Aug 12

We just got our first gas bill in the mail today. Just under $1300 for less than 90 days. We have instant gas hot water, gas cooktop and floor ducted gas heating. We have been running the heating from about 5pm to 10pm at 17degrees, 10 degrees overnight (which means it never turns on) and 15 degrees until about 8 or 9 in the morning. A bit of a shock – didn’t think it would be that high.

#68
rosscoact6:09 pm, 20 Aug 12

Hooley Dooley, I shudder to think what mine will be. For the first time I’ve set mine at 17C all night, just to see what would happen to the bill. 21 from 7-9 and 5-10 could be huge.

Lucky that self employment means my gas is 30% tax payer funded

#69
fabforty6:33 pm, 20 Aug 12

Craig1 said :

We just got our first gas bill in the mail today. Just under $1300 for less than 90 days. We have instant gas hot water, gas cooktop and floor ducted gas heating. We have been running the heating from about 5pm to 10pm at 17degrees, 10 degrees overnight (which means it never turns on) and 15 degrees until about 8 or 9 in the morning. A bit of a shock – didn’t think it would be that high.

Holy Hell Craig. Get someone in to check your system is working properly ASAP and/or make sure ACTEW has read your meter properly. That cannot be right.

#70
Wily_Bear7:22 pm, 20 Aug 12

montana said :

kakosi said :

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.

good luck using reverse cycle heater in the morning when its anything colder than 2 degrees outside, which in winter happens quite often.

I have reverse cycle on 24/7 in my four bedroom house for the entire winter, the naysayers all insisted it wouldn’t work below -5, it doesn’t struggle until around -8 degrees, and that has only happened once in my time here. I could not cope with the unique hell that is Canberra without the heater on all the time, and refuse to allow my kids to live like cave dwellers. That said, if I was paying some of the bills mentioned here, I might change my mind. My most recent bill was $570, bearing in mind that includes cooking, heating, drying and hot water. Why on earth would anyone choose gas?

#71
Craig18:13 pm, 20 Aug 12

fabforty said :

Craig1 said :

We just got our first gas bill in the mail today. Just under $1300 for less than 90 days. We have instant gas hot water, gas cooktop and floor ducted gas heating. We have been running the heating from about 5pm to 10pm at 17degrees, 10 degrees overnight (which means it never turns on) and 15 degrees until about 8 or 9 in the morning. A bit of a shock – didn’t think it would be that high.

Holy Hell Craig. Get someone in to check your system is working properly ASAP and/or make sure ACTEW has read your meter properly. That cannot be right.

You are not wrong. After a bit of investigating and some crawling around in the cavity under the house I may have found the reason (not that it will change the bill). When we first moved we had someone do some work under the house – looks like they have cut one of the pieces of hanging tape to run a pipe along the underside of the floor. Immediately under the new pipe (and where the hanging tape had been cut) the ducting had dropped and then split at a join allowing about a third of the volume of heated air to escape. Unfortunately this was all in the large diameter ducting not far from the heater unit. So we had a lovely heated cavity under the house.

#72
jesse9:04 pm, 20 Aug 12

My daughter’s small family live in a newish, well insulated 4 bedroom house with ducted gas and gas stove. Solar HWS. She switches heat off at 8.30am, back on 5ish for 4 hours.
$717 for the last three months. OMG.
She has now set up a direct debit to AGL of $50 a fortnight which hopefully will build up before next winter.

#73
snoopydoc10:05 pm, 20 Aug 12

In winter: $130-150

Rest of the year: $50

4 bedroom house, 220 square metres, gas used for hot water, cooking and heating.

#74
wildturkeycanoe8:45 am, 21 Aug 12

Wily_Bear said :

montana said :

kakosi said :

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.

good luck using reverse cycle heater in the morning when its anything colder than 2 degrees outside, which in winter happens quite often.

I have reverse cycle on 24/7 in my four bedroom house for the entire winter, the naysayers all insisted it wouldn’t work below -5, it doesn’t struggle until around -8 degrees, and that has only happened once in my time here. I could not cope with the unique hell that is Canberra without the heater on all the time, and refuse to allow my kids to live like cave dwellers. That said, if I was paying some of the bills mentioned here, I might change my mind. My most recent bill was $570, bearing in mind that includes cooking, heating, drying and hot water. Why on earth would anyone choose gas?

+1 , As I already mentioned, our reverse splits run 24/7 on cold days and we never have problems with sub zero temperatures. They have inbuilt de-frost so it might drop out for a while to melt the ice, but kicks straight back in after a few minutes. Technology is a wonderful thing.
They also have filters that take out pollen, dust etc. from the air and de-humidify so that the windows don’t get all black and moldy in winter. Just remember to clean the filters or they don’t work to full efficiency. [About every two to three weeks at our place because of the nasty dust-bunnies]

#75
dorrie9:07 am, 21 Aug 12

I’d be ringing ActewAGL. My mum got a bill for over $500 and she thought it was a bit high and made a call. A few days later she received a letter saying there was an error in the meter reading..

#76
housebound9:27 am, 21 Aug 12

snoopydoc said :

In winter: $130-150
Rest of the year: $50
4 bedroom house, 220 square metres, gas used for hot water, cooking and heating.

Your summer bill is less than the supply charge. Something’s not right there.

#77
stillflying9:34 am, 21 Aug 12

3BR home, not really sure on the insulation, only renting. We have recycled air con / heating but also run an oil fin heater in the main bedroom and a heat radiator in another room, and use blankets on the couch in the living room. We have solar hot water, winter bill was $600 for the quarter

#78
cmdwedge10:13 am, 21 Aug 12

Just got a $1600 bill for the last quarter. 4BR home that takes forever to heat up. R5.0 insulation in the ceiling which I had done a year ago, didn’t seem to make any difference.

20 degrees while we’re at home, 18 degrees overnight – only because the heater doesn’t keep up, and if we set it to 18, it might make it to 15 or 16 degrees by 6am the next morning.

Wife wants to sell the house now.

#79
Coldandsad12:47 pm, 07 Sep 12

We just got our $1800 bill for the last 105 days. Devastated. We only bought the house in May. We don’t have gas cooking or water, it is just the ducted gas heater. Have already had three people come and look at the heater (as it wasn’t working properly) and now I don’t know what to do, whether we should gt it looked at again or is that just throwing more good money after bad.

We don’t heat excessively. It’s a 4 bed, 2 living area house. We heat to 20 degrees between 7-8am and 5 – 9pm, 14 degrees overnight (as we have an 11 month old) and despite the people saying put a jumper on, the air is cold and breathing is the issue.

#80
dpm2:34 pm, 07 Sep 12

Coldandsad said :

We just got our $1800 bill for the last 105 days. Devastated. We only bought the house in May. We don’t have gas cooking or water, it is just the ducted gas heater. Have already had three people come and look at the heater (as it wasn’t working properly) and now I don’t know what to do, whether we should gt it looked at again or is that just throwing more good money after bad.

We don’t heat excessively. It’s a 4 bed, 2 living area house. We heat to 20 degrees between 7-8am and 5 – 9pm, 14 degrees overnight (as we have an 11 month old) and despite the people saying put a jumper on, the air is cold and breathing is the issue.

That seems way wrong to me.
Why don’t you post your MJ/day amount here and people with similar-sized houses could compare with theirs and see if the amount of gas being used is similar?
We haven’t got our winter bill yet (due soon) but this time last year our bill said 351MJ/day (and was 192 the year before!). That is for a smaller house (~17sq), but with the temp set at 20 *all* day (as people are home all day) and 14 overnight. We also have a gas-plumbed BBQ which we use ~fortnightly over winter for one dinner. If your MJ is over double that, then i’d say there are problems.

#81
Coldandsad8:40 pm, 07 Sep 12

dpm said :

Coldandsad said :

We just got our $1800 bill for the last 105 days. Devastated. We only bought the house in May. We don’t have gas cooking or water, it is just the ducted gas heater. Have already had three people come and look at the heater (as it wasn’t working properly) and now I don’t know what to do, whether we should gt it looked at again or is that just throwing more good money after bad.

We don’t heat excessively. It’s a 4 bed, 2 living area house. We heat to 20 degrees between 7-8am and 5 – 9pm, 14 degrees overnight (as we have an 11 month old) and despite the people saying put a jumper on, the air is cold and breathing is the issue.

That seems way wrong to me.
Why don’t you post your MJ/day amount here and people with similar-sized houses could compare with theirs and see if the amount of gas being used is similar?
We haven’t got our winter bill yet (due soon) but this time last year our bill said 351MJ/day (and was 192 the year before!). That is for a smaller house (~17sq), but with the temp set at 20 *all* day (as people are home all day) and 14 overnight. We also have a gas-plumbed BBQ which we use ~fortnightly over winter for one dinner. If your MJ is over double that, then i’d say there are problems.

The bill says we’re using 664.64mj per day. I just don’t know why. The heater did blow the ducting off but we noticed and had it shut off till the next day and then got someone around to fix it the next day.

#82
Coldandsad8:49 pm, 07 Sep 12

dpm said :

Coldandsad said :

We just got our $1800 bill for the last 105 days. Devastated. We only bought the house in May. We don’t have gas cooking or water, it is just the ducted gas heater. Have already had three people come and look at the heater (as it wasn’t working properly) and now I don’t know what to do, whether we should gt it looked at again or is that just throwing more good money after bad.

We don’t heat excessively. It’s a 4 bed, 2 living area house. We heat to 20 degrees between 7-8am and 5 – 9pm, 14 degrees overnight (as we have an 11 month old) and despite the people saying put a jumper on, the air is cold and breathing is the issue.

That seems way wrong to me.
Why don’t you post your MJ/day amount here and people with similar-sized houses could compare with theirs and see if the amount of gas being used is similar?
We haven’t got our winter bill yet (due soon) but this time last year our bill said 351MJ/day (and was 192 the year before!). That is for a smaller house (~17sq), but with the temp set at 20 *all* day (as people are home all day) and 14 overnight. We also have a gas-plumbed BBQ which we use ~fortnightly over winter for one dinner. If your MJ is over double that, then i’d say there are problems.

Also our house would be about 20 squares.

#83
poetix10:21 pm, 14 Nov 12

Sorry to zombify, but I just paid the gas bill for the last three months, which was $968, making a total of whatever $881 and $968 is for the last six months. (I remembered this thread, where I mentioned my last bill, which is the only reason I can quote the amount. They’re too depressing to keep.) This strikes me as quite a lot for a two bedroom house with three people in it.

As I think I said before, in the 1950s, when the house was built, I think people had a different idea of what was acceptable. Certainly, insulation meant wearing a vest if our house is any indicator. They must have accepted cold as part of life, I think.

This is also for cooking and hot water though.

#84
dpm11:08 pm, 14 Nov 12

dpm said :

Coldandsad said :

We just got our $1800 bill for the last 105 days. Devastated. We only bought the house in May. We don’t have gas cooking or water, it is just the ducted gas heater. Have already had three people come and look at the heater (as it wasn’t working properly) and now I don’t know what to do, whether we should gt it looked at again or is that just throwing more good money after bad.

We don’t heat excessively. It’s a 4 bed, 2 living area house. We heat to 20 degrees between 7-8am and 5 – 9pm, 14 degrees overnight (as we have an 11 month old) and despite the people saying put a jumper on, the air is cold and breathing is the issue.

That seems way wrong to me.
Why don’t you post your MJ/day amount here and people with similar-sized houses could compare with theirs and see if the amount of gas being used is similar?
We haven’t got our winter bill yet (due soon) but this time last year our bill said 351MJ/day (and was 192 the year before!). That is for a smaller house (~17sq), but with the temp set at 20 *all* day (as people are home all day) and 14 overnight. We also have a gas-plumbed BBQ which we use ~fortnightly over winter for one dinner. If your MJ is over double that, then i’d say there are problems.

Following on from above, our gas usage for Jun-Sept 2012 was 317MJ/day, FYI. As mentioned above we only have gas heating (and BBQ). The heater is supposedly a ’5 star’ efficiency one, but that really shouldn’t explain why yours would be 2* the usage!

#85
Hosinator11:48 pm, 14 Nov 12

poetix said :

Sorry to zombify, but I just paid the gas bill for the last three months, which was $968, making a total of whatever $881 and $968 is for the last six months. (I remembered this thread, where I mentioned my last bill, which is the only reason I can quote the amount. They’re too depressing to keep.) This strikes me as quite a lot for a two bedroom house with three people in it.

As I think I said before, in the 1950s, when the house was built, I think people had a different idea of what was acceptable. Certainly, insulation meant wearing a vest if our house is any indicator. They must have accepted cold as part of life, I think.

This is also for cooking and hot water though.

That is a very expensive bill and probably worth having an assessment done by the Home Energy Assessment Team (HEAT) (http://www.heat.net.au/).

If you own the home and intend on being there for at least another 5 plus years, it would be worth investigating wall, underfloor, ceiling insulation and secondary glazing on your windows. Alternatively, it’s simply an issue with your gas heating system, it may not be operating properly.

#86
JC7:25 am, 15 Nov 12

KB1971 said :

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.

What a stupid statement. Think about underfloor heating ducts, isn’t that outside the insulated part of the house too? Umm yep. Fact is the ducts themselves are insulated so that is not an issue, though yes floor ducts are in fact better than roof for one simple reason. That is heat rises.

One other thing with central heating that people don’t realise is to get maximum efficiency you really need to leave doors open. The reason being is the return air is there to pull the heat through the house so that air needs a good free path to flow properly. If you block it with closed doors then you will get draughts under closed doors and the air in closed rooms does not get enough newly heated air from the duct and rooms that are open will get more.

#87
mezza769:23 am, 15 Nov 12

poetix said :

Sorry to zombify, but I just paid the gas bill for the last three months, which was $968, making a total of whatever $881 and $968 is for the last six months. (I remembered this thread, where I mentioned my last bill, which is the only reason I can quote the amount. They’re too depressing to keep.) This strikes me as quite a lot for a two bedroom house with three people in it.

As I think I said before, in the 1950s, when the house was built, I think people had a different idea of what was acceptable. Certainly, insulation meant wearing a vest if our house is any indicator. They must have accepted cold as part of life, I think.

This is also for cooking and hot water though.

As a benchmark for you. Our gas bill was about $668 for the last 3 months. 3 bedroom townhouse, 2 levels, ducted gas, gas cooktop and instant gas water heating – for two people though.

For us it’s high – the winter period was cold and we ran the heater most of the time we were there. We dont take much notice of showers, washing in hot water, etc. Our next one should be half this or below.

I think you should get the place checked and look to so some changes were you can – im horrified at some of the bills mentioned in this thread.

#88
dtc9:27 am, 15 Nov 12

I have a similar sized house to coldandsad, which is partly monocrete (and hence fairly cold) plus lots of windows (10 in the living room alone including some with metal frames) which are only covered with roman blinds (ok but not serious cold blocks) plus cathedral ceilings plus roof ducts plus school aged kids so the heater starts from about 3.30 every day. And mostly wooden floors. Central gas heating, instant gas hot water and gas cooking. So my usage should be similar if not greater – but my bill was just over $1,000.

I do have underfloor insulation (bats) and about 40yrs worth of ceiling insulation (looks like they just kept piling new stuff on top of the old stuff).

Anyway, to get an $1800 bill suggests something is wrong. I second the HEAT assessment. Also basic things like blocking drafts in doors and windows, closing heating ducts in rooms that arent being used (and then closing the doors to those rooms)

#89
RedDogInCan10:04 am, 15 Nov 12

Wow, you guys are really supporting the lavish lifestyles of gas company executives.

We have an early 1980′s four bedroom house with poor solar orientation, cathedral ceilings and floor to ceiling windows. Two adults and two young kids. Gas for heating only. I work from home so the central gas heating is on a comfortable 21C from 6am to 11pm and on 17C during the night. My gas bill for the entire winter (ANZAC Day to Remeberence Day) is only $866. Our average daily usage is 171MJ.

Three things keep our gas bill under control.

Firstly, we had our system zoned so that the bedrooms/bathrooms, kitchen, and lounge are in separate zones and are only heated when used – no point in heating the kitchen and lounge overnight. Our house design is ideal as these three areas can be sealed off from each other by closing doors.

Secondly, we had wall cavity insulation installed. Cost us over $1000 but easily reduced our gas usage by two thirds and paid for itself by the third year.

Finally, we insulated our windows with Duet honeycomb blinds over our large windows and double glazing fitted to the bedroom windows. This was quite expensive at $500 to $700 per window but did make a noticable difference. As we needed to replace the existing blinds anyway, the extra cost for the Duets was not excessive. Our blinds have side channels that totally seal the window – when you open them in the morning a cascade of cold air flows out.

We also did the other basic things like seals around external door, removed downlights and installed flaps over exhaust fans in the ceiling.

#90
Watson11:27 am, 15 Nov 12

poetix said :

Sorry to zombify, but I just paid the gas bill for the last three months, which was $968, making a total of whatever $881 and $968 is for the last six months. (I remembered this thread, where I mentioned my last bill, which is the only reason I can quote the amount. They’re too depressing to keep.) This strikes me as quite a lot for a two bedroom house with three people in it.

As I think I said before, in the 1950s, when the house was built, I think people had a different idea of what was acceptable. Certainly, insulation meant wearing a vest if our house is any indicator. They must have accepted cold as part of life, I think.

This is also for cooking and hot water though.

Ha, I beat you! Mine was $975. Only for heating and cooking too. And that is the last time I will think of that bill. I am moving out of my badly insulated, poorly equipped and inefficiently heated rental and next winter we will be living in a brand spanking new 7 star EER house. I hope I can come and gloat about my low gas bills then!

But for now: what gas bill?

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