When your heating bills arrive, do you take the time to read them or do you simply accept your fate and pay the dollar amount next to the due date? By spending a few minutes learning how to understand your heating bills, you’ll have a better idea of where your money is going and how you can take charge and start saving.
What are my heating bills trying to tell me?
Unless you understand gas company lingo, you may have no idea what your heating bill is trying to tell you. Here are a few common terms that you should be familiar with:
- BTU – The British Thermal Unit is a common expression used to describe heat energy consumption. Sometimes it’s written as Btu.
- Therm – Therm or “thm” is a simplified way of describing BTUs. Each therm represents 100,000 BTUs.
- CCF/MCF – Each CCF equals 100 cubic feet of gas, whereas an MCF stands for 10 CCFs (or 1,000 cubic feet of gas)
- Base allowance – Most utility companies will determine a base allowance, or the minimum amount of gas that they believe customers require each billing cycle in order to meet their basic needs. Those who consume gas within this range will be billed at the lowest rates, while those who exceed the base allowance will be billed at higher intervals or “tiers” for the amount above the base allowance.
How can I lower my heating bills?
Once you understand the basic terminology used by your gas company, you can start applying that knowledge in order to reduce your energy use. By comparing your gas consumption against the base allowance, you can determine whether you are consistently exceeding the limit. If this is the case, you need to figure out why. Is your household using too much energy? You may consider talking to your HVAC contractor about upgrading your furnace to a more efficient model. And because EnergyGuide labels on appliances reveal how many BTUs they will consume each year, you can find the model with the lowest energy consumption for your budget. Alternatively, you can schedule an energy evaluation or audit of your home, in order to find ways to reduce its heating and cooling loads.
For more energy-saving tips or advice on upgrading your HVAC equipment, please contact us at Geisel Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing. We proudly serve the greater Cleveland area.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Western Cleveland, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about lowering heating bills and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
For those Do it Yourselfers who would rather take control of your own indoor comfort, you can shop our online store for replacement parts, products and accessories!
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