Calculate Your Average Monthly Heating Cost for Your Budget
Heating is a necessity, but it’s certainly an expensive one. That’s why many people find it necessary to create a heating budget in order to ensure they don’t spend more than they need to. Putting such a budget together, however, requires a few calculations.
By following the advice in this article, you’ll be able to calculate your average monthly heating cost as well as discover what factors are driving your heating bill up. Once you have done that, you’ll be able to make adjustments as necessary and possibly save quite a bit of money over the course of the year.
The Different Methods of Heating a Building
Needless to say, one of the largest factors in your monthly heating cost is the method of heating your home or business makes use of. Most commonly, buildings are heated through the use of some sort of fossil fuel, such as natural gas or propane. These fuels burn extremely hot, which means they are fairly efficient at creating heat for a home, but they require a number of other elements to be in place to heat effectively.
Other potential methods include electric heating: this comes with the benefit of not needing a furnace or ventilation for toxic byproducts. However, using an electrical element to generate heat can be expensive and inefficient.
Heating can also be performed using advanced modern technology, such as the heat pump, which utilizes the same type of technology that a refrigerator does to transfer heat from place to place. This allows the home to be heated by ambient heat from outside, avoiding the need to generate heat at all. This can save a great deal of money, although the up-front installation costs tend to be high.
Factors That Affect the Cost
Besides the actual method of generating the heat, there are a number of other factors that affect your monthly heating costs. Insulation is a major one of these. Any weakness in the insulation can lead to a serious increase in your bill, as your heating devices will have to work extra hard to balance against the warm air seeping out. A hole in the insulation can allow cold air to sneak in. Old, wet, or missing insulation can do the same.
Maximum energy efficiency requires ducts to be cleaned regularly as well. If they become full of dust and dirt from regular use, without being cleaned, warm air will struggle to get from room to room, and the heating unit will run longer than necessary, once again driving the cost up.
The size of the heating unit also has a major effect on the cost of keeping your home comfortable during the winter months. If you have a furnace that’s too big for your home, it will have an unnecessarily high cost to run as it constantly cycles on and off. On the other hand, if you have a furnace that is too small, it will struggle to generate enough heat for the entire building. Talk with your HVAC professional to ensure you have the right-sized heating unit.
First Step in Calculating Your Heating Costs
The first step in calculating your average monthly heating cost is to determine the square footage of your home. This is usually a fairly easy task since all you have to do is measure the length and width of each room and multiply them together. Then take all of these numbers and add them up to get the final square footage of your home. You don’t need to include any rooms that don’t have access to the heating and cooling: for example, the garage usually isn’t heated.
The next step is to break down your monthly energy bill. By taking your monthly energy costs and dividing them by the number of days in the month, and then again by 24 hours, you can get your average energy cost per hour. You’ll need to time exactly how long you usually spend running the heating unit and get an idea of this as well.
Making the Calculations
Once you have the basic numbers, you’ll need to determine the cost of the fuel you are using. If you heat your home with propane, know the cost of a gallon of propane. If you are using a heat pump, it will be using ambient heat from the environment, which doesn’t cost anything; however, the unit itself still runs on electricity. In that case, or if you have electric heating, you’ll need to know the cost of a kilowatt per hour, which is measured by the abbreviation kWh.
If you want to go into real detail, you can also determine the British Thermal Units (BTUs) that these elements generate, which will then allow you to get an even more accurate number for your average energy usage. When you take these numbers and add them up, you can subtract them from your full energy bill to figure out just how much you’re spending on heating.
Lowering This Number
Once you’ve figured out your average monthly heating costs, you’ll probably want to look for ways to reduce those numbers. Contact the professionals at Entek HVAC and ask what we can do to improve the energy efficiency in your home. We can help, using one of the methods we’ve already mentioned in this article. Cleaning and maintenance of your HVAC system is the first step, as is improving the insulation in your home.
Finally, you may need to consider upgrading your system, especially if it’s not the right size for the square footage of your building. You may even consider making the move toward a more energy-efficient method of heating the home, further reducing your need to include a high heating bill in your monthly budget.