Skip to content Skip to main navigation

Ask RiotACT

Charity and fundraising auctions for the Canberra community

Winter gas bill

By Watson - 3 August 2012 93

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?

What’s Your opinion?


Please login to post your comments, or connect with
93 Responses to
Winter gas bill
Filter
Showing only Website comments
Order
Newest to Oldest
Oldest to Newst
KB1971 11:41 am 14 Aug 12

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.

poetix 10:49 am 14 Aug 12

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.

Madam Cholet 10:33 am 14 Aug 12

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.

steveu 7:03 am 14 Aug 12

Try engaging the H.E.A.T. team – costs $30 for an audit (alot better than the fed govt green loans audits). I found Kath Byrne very good – knew her stuff and came up with some great ideas. There are rebates of up to $500 (+30 back) if you implement some of the recommendation in the report they do. The real value is in how they explain whats going on, and their recommendations. Kath did a great job of this.

JimCharles 6:54 am 14 Aug 12

Our previous quarter was $225. This “winter” quarter it was $770.
We rent a newish house with partial insulation, though the sun only hits the bedrooms and not the main living areas. Although it’s new, it’s a cold house with all tiled floors…nothing to retain the heat.
We set the thermostat to a min of 16.5 and it’s never dropped below that except on really cold nights, and it goes to 20 between 6am-8am, then 6pm and 10pm.
We cook on gas.
We have one of these Rheem instant hot water heaters, about 1 year old…it’s absolute rubbish, but maybe it’s a cheap underpowered model, as you see in rentals. Takes 1 minute before you notice the water warming so the water and gas wastage is awful.
Next winter we’ll try electric convectors for the mornings and just heat the bathroom.

MMR 10:18 pm 13 Aug 12

I submitted comment #3 to OP. Today I got our gas bill for the last 3 months. Am happy to advise it’s dropped down from $1100+GST last year to $476 (GST incl) this year.

Changes we’ve made this winter include:
– not using the heater of a morning or before 5pm
– using heater for max 2hrs a night
– reduced thermostat to 19 degs max
– closing doors to bathrooms & toilets
– ensuring blinds are closed when the heater is on
– reducing the length of showers

Because there’s ducted gas heating in this place, we can’t really restrict the heating to only the rooms we want. Even so, I’m pretty happy with the results of our “experiment” to see how we could reduce our bill. We now have a good baseline to budget for – from the extreme high of the first bill to the low of the second. I’ll admit we were cold sometimes, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Feels good to keep $700 in our pocket, rather than give it to ACTEWAGL.

Have also made some changes with our electricity usage and that bill has decreased too – by about 30% from same time last year.

Power to the consumer!!!

birder 7:09 pm 06 Aug 12

Ours was $1150 for the last 3 months. Absolutely shocking. We’re in a rental with basically no insulation. With ducted gas heating, we keep it heated to 20 at night because otherwise it’s freezing. We have it set on a timer during the day so it goes down to 12 and then up to 18 when we get home, and then we turn it up to 22. But we spent 3 years in Auckland where we had to run electric heaters all the time and we were always freezing, and the electric bills were $500/month. We’re paying about the same here but at least we’re warm. We’ll buy our own place within a year or so, so at this point, we’re just chalking it up to the cost of renting.

steveu 5:51 pm 06 Aug 12

$826 for March to June this year. Gas heating & Water. equiv of R6 insulation in roof. Use of blockout blinds on windows. 4 females in 25sq house, 2 males. Heating set on 16 at night as we have a 3 year old.

Avg usage for period last year was 496MJ where this year its 375MJ…which shows the difference in getting the insulation topped up I presume.

JC 5:10 pm 06 Aug 12

dtc said :

aidan said :

I’d be interested if anyone has replaced an old gas central heating unit with a more efficient new model and noticed significant decreases in their bill. Clearly new ducting would also have a big effect, but I’m wondering just how much. Our unit is getting close to the end of it’s useful life and I’m wondering what to replace it with..

When I had my (oldish) central heater serviced, the service guy reckoned the new heaters are a bit more efficient but not hugely – not worthwhile if your existing heater was operational. However, if you are moving from a heater that doesnt allow zoning to one that has zoning, then it is a saving.

Not quite true. All systems have a minimum number of outlets. So unless you can zone into blocks that go that small you won’t benefit from zoning. For example my place has 7 outlets but the system has a minimum outlet requirement of 6.

Where zoning comes into play is if you have a house large enough to make it worthwhile. Say 10-12 outlets, where you could zone them down to zones of 7-8 (noting with zoning you usually have a common zone).

davo101 4:48 pm 06 Aug 12

aidan said :

Thanks for that. The COP ranged from about 2.3 to 3.0 for typical Canberra morning temperatures. The heat pumps in that graph were air-to-water models designed for hydronic (radiator) heating applications. As an air-to-air heat pump is likely to operate at lower output temperatures the COP would probably be higher.

Here’s one for air-to-air, the only catch is that the outside temperature is the wet-bulb temperature, but given that the humidity tends to approach 100% at dawn it wouldn’t be too wrong to assume it’s the same as the dry-bulb.

aidan 4:24 pm 06 Aug 12

dtc said :

aidan said :

I’d be interested if anyone has replaced an old gas central heating unit with a more efficient new model and noticed significant decreases in their bill. Clearly new ducting would also have a big effect, but I’m wondering just how much. Our unit is getting close to the end of it’s useful life and I’m wondering what to replace it with..

When I had my (oldish) central heater serviced, the service guy reckoned the new heaters are a bit more efficient but not hugely – not worthwhile if your existing heater was operational. However, if you are moving from a heater that doesnt allow zoning to one that has zoning, then it is a saving.

Thanks.

I’ve subsequently found this very comprehensive “Product Profile” of Gas Ducted Heating systems:

http://www.energyrating.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/201102-gas-ducted-heaters.pdf

Table 9 gives some estimation of the benefits of a 4-star system over a 5-star system when a new heater is to be installed. It is a useful place to start when thinking about this stuff.

dtc said :

The easiest way to save heating costs is to only heat the area you are using and block off the rest of the house. For example, a heater (or wood stove) in the living room can mean you dont need to turn your heating on for the rest of the house until just before bedtime. However, it does mean that you cant wander around the rest of the house in comfort – toilet breaks can be a very quick dash!

We already zone our heating by partially, or fully, closing the “heating registers” (floor vents) in different parts of the house. However, we are a family of 5, with 3 children 10 and under. We just tend to use most of the house most of the time.

dtc 2:54 pm 06 Aug 12

aidan said :

I’d be interested if anyone has replaced an old gas central heating unit with a more efficient new model and noticed significant decreases in their bill. Clearly new ducting would also have a big effect, but I’m wondering just how much. Our unit is getting close to the end of it’s useful life and I’m wondering what to replace it with..

When I had my (oldish) central heater serviced, the service guy reckoned the new heaters are a bit more efficient but not hugely – not worthwhile if your existing heater was operational. However, if you are moving from a heater that doesnt allow zoning to one that has zoning, then it is a saving.

The easiest way to save heating costs is to only heat the area you are using and block off the rest of the house. For example, a heater (or wood stove) in the living room can mean you dont need to turn your heating on for the rest of the house until just before bedtime. However, it does mean that you cant wander around the rest of the house in comfort – toilet breaks can be a very quick dash!

aidan 2:53 pm 06 Aug 12

davo101 said :

aidan said :

Those who have heat pumps, are they effective on really cold mornings? As far as I can tell their efficiency plummets when the outside temperature is very low, and this is when we need the bulk of our heating.

See this curve. The other variable is how often the outside unit has to go through its defrost cycle. Apparently this is more of an issue when the outside temperature is in the 0-5 deg.C range.

Thanks for that. The COP ranged from about 2.3 to 3.0 for typical Canberra morning temperatures. The heat pumps in that graph were air-to-water models designed for hydronic (radiator) heating applications. As an air-to-air heat pump is likely to operate at lower output temperatures the COP would probably be higher.

What I really need for my place is more thermal mass. It is very pleasant during the day, but it cools down too quickly at night. Unlike the European systems, I don’t really want to heat my house to a constant temperature pretty much 24/7.

It would be great if phase change energy storage systems were mainstream, e.g.

http://solar-thermal.anu.edu.au/low-temperature/air-heaters/

We have heaps of solar gain during the day, just need to save it up for the mornings and evenings.

davo101 1:27 pm 06 Aug 12

aidan said :

Those who have heat pumps, are they effective on really cold mornings? As far as I can tell their efficiency plummets when the outside temperature is very low, and this is when we need the bulk of our heating.

See this curve. The other variable is how often the outside unit has to go through its defrost cycle. Apparently this is more of an issue when the outside temperature is in the 0-5 deg.C range.

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 12:26 pm 06 Aug 12

It’s important to remember also that the temperature you set the heating at makes an ENORMOUS difference to the amount of energy consumed. And as the differential between inside and outside temperature increases, so does the rate at which heat bleeds from inside.

aidan 12:16 pm 06 Aug 12

Gas central heating, ducted through floor. Heater is an old (20+years) Brivis Buffalo, original ducting. 140m2 single level 4bdr 70s brick veneer (extended recently, ceiling and wall insulation, floor insulation in the new bits).

Thermostat set to 17 in the morning. Comes on at 7am and typically takes 45-50 mins to reach temperature (falls to 12 overnight, maybe colder on REALLY cold mornings).

North facing living areas mean the heater isn’t needed at all on sunny days.

The heater is set to come on in the evenings, again 17/18, but it cycles on and off fairly infrequently and is off overnight.

Mid Apr -> mid Jul $400. Usually the same for the next quarter.

I’d be interested if anyone has replaced an old gas central heating unit with a more efficient new model and noticed significant decreases in their bill. Clearly new ducting would also have a big effect, but I’m wondering just how much. Our unit is getting close to the end of it’s useful life and I’m wondering what to replace it with.

Those who have heat pumps, are they effective on really cold mornings? As far as I can tell their efficiency plummets when the outside temperature is very low, and this is when we need the bulk of our heating.

GardeningGirl 12:13 pm 06 Aug 12

Sustainable House Day 9 September
http://www.sustainablehouseday.com/

GardeningGirl 12:05 pm 06 Aug 12

JC said :

GardeningGirl said :

I agree, landlords should be required to provide a reasonable minimum appropriate to the climate without imposing on the tenants to fund what should have been provided in the first place. I’ve know of some landlords who paid part or all the water bill or paid for a gardener, in order to keep the exterior of their investment in good condition. Why can’t there be some system of penalties/incentives for them to put money into the inside of the house? Something such as make it compulsory for landlords of properties below a certain energy rating to either pay and keep paying half the electricity bills or pay once for the improvements that will bring the property up to that energy rating? Unfortunately I don’t think much of the energy rating system, but that’s a whole other discussion.

Time to come into the real world I am afraid. For one if you force people to spend money then that money needs to be recouped through higher rental costs. Simple economics. Secondly a lot of rental properties are private residencies rented out whilst the owner is living elsewhere. So are you suggesting that someone looking to rent out for 1, 2, 3 years should be forced to upgrade just for the convenience of the tenant?

Personally the rental market is open to market force. Owners ask for the rent they think the property is worth and the tenant agrees by signing a lease. As a tenant if you are not happy with the property you inspect then you do have the choice to not rent and look elsewhere. Of course doing so may mean you pay more, but that is the market at play.

And before I get accused of being a greedy landlord, please don’t. I was a landlord for 3 years when I lived overseas and I looked after my tenants, even installing aircon. However you wouldn’t believe that the tenant in the house at the time then seriously asked me to pay for the water that the aircon used.

I know. It just doesn’t seem right.

On a personal level, it’s unfair that most tenants will not have the luxury of rejecting one property because there’s always a broadly comparable one but with better comfort and economy just around the corner, and if there ever was such an oversupply that tenants could easily pick and choose then it wouldn’t be a good situation for landlords. (I’ve been both.)

In the big picture, as long as there’s a proportion of housing that is inefficient and the owners have no incentive to change that, it makes the compulsory cfl’s and plastic bag bans and other token efforts at saving the planet an even bigger joke. I don’t know what the best answer is but letting those houses continue wasting energy because the tenants have no choice and the owners have no interest isn’t something that can continue to be ignored.

frankie said :

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!

It isn’t only how the electricity is produced (solar) but how efficiently it is used that matters. I remember seeing comparison charts that showed reverse cycle was very good but that was many years ago so I don’t know how things have evolved since those measurements were done. We’ve been told to keep the heating on overnight otherwise the booster has to work harder to bring the temperature back up and it’s the booster that’s the most inefficient part. If you want to find out more you should go on the annual Sustainable House Tour, I think it’s this month?

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 9:22 am 06 Aug 12

Erg0 said :

Didn’t the Greens propose some sort of scheme along the lines of that being discussed above? No idea what came of it, a more motivated individual could probably find it with the search function.

They did, and it got thrown out (as it should).

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd 9:20 am 06 Aug 12

MERC600 said :

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

Depending on your window frames, you can install a secondary piece of glass to the inside of the frame, not as effecient as double glazing but a lot cheaper and still makes a huge difference.
Or things like magnetite, although im not sure of their costing.
also glass fitted in a aluminiyum sliding system to be fitted onto existing reveals. There really are lots of cheap options.

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2018 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
www.the-riotact.com | www.b2bmagazine.com.au | www.thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site