I just got our utility bill in the mail for last month. It looks like we dodged another bullet for the 2022-23 heating season. With our local utility co-op, we participate in the budget plan, so that we don’t have to pay the full bill month to month. Which has been a blessing ever since we opted to do it, as when we had just started living here, there were some months when our bill was somewhere between $400-500. Of course, living in a house that was constructed in the late 1830’s has a lot to do with that, since it doesn’t have insulation in the walls, and though it does have a double layered brick exterior, I would imagine there are plenty of things we could do to alleviate some of the cost, but we don’t have thousands of dollars to spread in those directions.
We did upgrade the heating/cooling equipment in the house over the past 2 years, however. We’d been getting the NG furnace serviced by a local business, but after having a disagreement with them about a misdiagnosis of carbon monoxide (their tech had stated we had a buildup of CO in the house and needed to have the furnace replaced immediately, we contracted with another outfit and they said no such buildup was present) we decided to switch to the company that gave us the green light, we’d heard good things about them from others, and it seemed like a good fit for us. We asked for an estimate on upgrading the furnace and what they offered was far and away better than many of the other providers in the area. Too, they were willing to work with us on possibly adding a central air component to the system for a reasonable cost, so we went ahead with the conversion beginning in the fall of 2021. The following spring we added the central air and immediately our utility prices became more manageable.
Even with the cost of natural gas spiking this past year, the upgraded furnace didn’t soak us for a lot of $$. Granted, we kept the thermostat between 67 and 65, and at night dropped it to 62-64 depending on what it was doing outside. Even when it was bone-chillingly cold outside, the house managed to stay fairly warm, though at least one of the rooms in the house didn’t manage to stay toasty (the master bedroom if you’re wondering) but we usually sleep under several blankets, so we made do without something like a space heater in the room.
Lastly, we discovered in 2022 that our utility bills actually went down over the course of the summer. Previously we were running 2 window AC units on opposite ends of the house, and utilizing fans in the remainder trying to keep the house cool. With the central air component running things, the house stayed cool for the most part, at the very least the downstairs was very nice. The upstairs, another story entirely. I’m thinking we need to have someone come look at our attic and determine whether or not we need to upgrade the insulation. That’s one thing that hasn’t been attended to in at least 20-plus years.
Adding that to the 2023 to-do list.