Monday, November 21, 2016

Reviewing and Budgeting for 2017: Natural Gas and Electric

As I am sitting here this morning listening to the horrible wind, it seemed fitting to tell you about our utility bills for the past year. We have had winds up to 50 miles an hour yesterday and today along with grapple and snow. It was a reminder of what winter is like in this area. I expect the commute will be icy for most people here. When I don't have to venture out in it anymore to go to work, that makes me very happy.
Before I give you the totals, let me explain a little about our home and our weather situation here. As you know we live just a few miles from two of the Great Lakes. We have a wind tunnel that comes right through our yard. It actually blows on the right hand side of the house and then wraps around the front. The wind is so bad that our trees on that side permanently lean. As my son did one last minute thing for us yesterday out in the yard, he reminded us of how bad that wind tunnel is since he walked through it in the snow and ice that was coming down. We were hoping that when they build more homes behind us that we would get some protection. But that hasn't happened yet. So we live with it.

We have 2112 sq. ft. on our main living floor. We have cathedral ceilings in our breakfast room(dining room) and one of the guest bedrooms. We have a  tray ceiling in our huge master bedroom. The rest of the rooms and hallways have 9 foot ceilings. So we are heating and air conditioning a huge amount of space. When our home was built it received an energy star rating for energy efficiency. The builder advised us that with this rating our model of home would cost us $2172. in heat and electricity annually in our area.

We also have a full basement under the living floor so that is another 2112 square feet that has heat run to it. We keep the heat registers closed but I am sure some of the heat leaks out. The basement is insulated.

We don't heat the two car garage and it does have a well insulated door between the house and the garage the same as our other outside doors are. Our attic is well insulated. 

We have 21 large windows in our main living space  and 4 basement windows. These windows are energy efficient.

We also have an upgraded energy efficient furnace and tankless hot water. We heat, heat water, and cook with natural gas. The rest of our appliances are electric.

This is our dreamed about retirement home which we love so we are not about to downsize any time soon.

Okay that all being said, our total for the past year for natural gas and electricity was $ 1585.00. For the first 10 months of this year, it was $ 1361.95.  The annual total is $ 585.00 less than the builder and energy experts predicted. So I think we have done pretty well considering the house is now 6 and 1/2 years old and there have been many increases in electric and natural gas rates. I feel we also have done well since we live in one of the coldest, snowy, windy regions of the country.  

I think we have gone about as low as we can considering that Hubby is always cold in the winter so we keep the heat at 71 during the day and 65 during the night while we are sleeping. I would love to lower the daytime temperature but Hubby already lives in a fleece coat and fingerless gloves in the house when it is 71 in here in the winter. I am the opposite. I am always hot. So when the temps are 71 in our home, I am in jeans and a T shirt. 

Heat and air conditioning are the biggest two expenses. When we air condition, Hubby wants the temp at 76, so that is where it stays. I am always hot in the summer, so I also use a fan if I am in a room other than the one Hubby is in. 

I have shown you many other ways that we keep our utility expenses low. You can see them Here and

In 2017, if we can keep our natural gas and electric bills under $1600.00 for the year, we will be very happy. It would be very nice if the rates would go down but they usually increase. So we have budgeted $1600.00. 

Have you looked at your utility bills for the past year? Can you do better? These are the questions we ask  every time we look at any budget category.    


  1. Wow, that is awesome that you are able to keep your electric bill so low. I have a smaller house, but it is all electric with heat pump, and our bill is $200/monh. Definitely going to check out the ways you keep your utilities low. I can do better, I think.
    What a change in the weather the past few days, temps were in the 70's on friday and today the high was in the 30's. The wind is so bad that we lost electricity last night for a few hours.
    Stay safe and warm! Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Hi Kathy,

      Thanks. I find I can always do better.

      So sorry to hear that you lost your electricity. I hate that in this cold weather.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family also.