Furnace Bill

When Furnace Bills Are Through the Roof!

The cost of buying your furnace is just part of the equation; where you live can play a huge role in how much it costs to heat your home.

Forbes recently conducted a study of major metro areas around the country and their predicted temperatures to determine expected costs of heating in these locations. Ten years’ worth of National Weather Service data was used to create a table of “heating degree days” when furnaces or boilers were likely to be used.

It’s more expensive to heat a home to a comfortable 65 degrees when it’s 10 degrees outside compared to 50 whether you use a furnace or a boiler. Every degree you need to add requires more BTUs — an integral part of the equation. Your home’s efficiency also dictates quite a bit.

Warning: Furnace Bill Shock Ahead

By far, the most expensive U.S. city in which to heat a home is Boston. The average cost is $1,635 per year, and just over 47 percent of residents use gas fuel. However, a lot of homes use oil (35.6 percent), which is the most expensive fuel in the U.S. The long, chilly winters, high oil usage, and historical homes that traditionally don’t have great insulation make Beantown the most expensive city in which to have a furnace.

At No. 2 is Buffalo, New York, where the average heating bill is $1,618 per year. You may be surprised to find out that fewer than 3 percent of homes use oil; a whopping 88 percent use natural gas!

However, even though gas is a more efficient fuel, it’s no match for the blustery New York winters. Still, the price of local natural gas around New York state is higher than the U.S. average, so this also contributes to the cost.

Save More & Stay Warm

Minneapolis takes the bronze, with average heating bills hovering at $1,475 per year. Just 1.2 percent of homes use oil, while 82.8 percent use natural gas. In an interesting twist, technically Minneapolis uses more fuel to heat homes than any other city in the country. However, with local natural gas being more affordable, homeowners save enough for the city to rank third.

Fourth place goes to Washington, D.C., where the average bill is $1,461 per year. Nearly 6 percent of homes depend on oil here, and 54.2 percent use natural gas. But D.C. is another historic city where the insulation might not be that impressive. D.C. has heating degree days half as often as Minneapolis, but with a shocking 36.3 percent of residents using electricity to heat their homes (expensive!), that makes the two cities almost even.

Fortunately, there are many ways to save. Improve your insulation, bundle up in the winter, close off doors to rooms that aren’t being used, and make sure your heating source is maintained, be it boiler or furnace. In Utah (which doesn’t make the list!), depend on Roberts Mechanical to keep you warm and flush with green during the winter.