what caused a 30% increase in gas use (per degree-day)?

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Bought a house with hot water heat (built 1920). Old boiler, but had it serviced and cleaned and thermostat replaced; they saw no problems with the unit.
Gas company gave us last year's usage (i.e. by previous owner). Of course the dollar cost is affected by the weather and the price of nat gas, but I was able to do get the data to calculate therms used per degree-day, which is independent of those variable factors.
We are using nat gas at a rate that is about 30% higher than the previous owner.
I know they might have had their thermostat set low (ours is at 69), but while that would make a difference, it wouldn't make such a huge difference. I have looked at the rate of gas use by the dryer and the hot water heater, and these seem normal (about 300 cu. ft per hr for the dryer, for example) and wouldn't make a big difference to the total. When all the gas-using devices are off, the gas meter dials do not move.
All our windows are closed and the house is in fact better sealed (more weatherstripping and some fiberglass batting in attic) than when we moved in, and we also insulated the hot water pipes in the basement. So we expected to be slightly ahead of the previous owner, not far behind.
All suggestions greatly appreciated.
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On Fri, 05 Dec 2003 17:56:22 GMT, Chuckles

Perhaps the previous owners neglected to mention to you that before they started using a kerosene space heater, they had much higher bills, too.
BB
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Snowbirds?
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wrote:

Another excellent possibility!
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BinaryBillTheSailor@Sea++.com wrote in wrote:

Yes, this is something I had not thought about.
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wrote:

old people tend to not shower or bathe daily. thats one reason they smell old.
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On Sun, 07 Dec 2003 23:59:04 GMT, Chuckles
Which relates to my previous post. They would STILL have the furnace running.
The mean setting makes a huge difference.
Turn the heat way down at night...and anytime yer gonna be gone for 4 hours at a time or more.
How many zones do you have? Do you need them all at the same temperature?
Have a nice week...
Trent
Dyslexics of the world ... UNTIE !
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do you have 30% more people living there than the previous owner? maybe the previous owner was exceptionally frugal? maybe they wore sweaters, rather than turning the heat on? didnt shower or use hot water every day?
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Did anyone mention keeping your windows closed and your doors closed? Are your storm windows in place? Are you using a fireplace? Perhaps it is because the winter season is upon us (in the northern hemisphere). Etc. --Phil
SoCalMike wrote:

--
Phil Munro Dept of Electrical & Computer Engin
mailto: snipped-for-privacy@cc.ysu.edu Youngstown State University
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140 is to low for hot water heat, wait till its -20 you wont heat and your pump will run all day Even now running a pump is expensive. 2 to 350 watt 20 to 35 a mo. 24 x 7 . Raising the boiler temp will not increase your gas bill, actualy you will have longer more efficent cycles, 170 - 185 is normal. In Chgo elec is double the cost of gas,per Btu. cook with gas your total utilities will go down And yes water heater temp makes a difference. Compare summer bills fom previous owner. It could all be in your hot water.
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140 is to low for hot water heat, wait till its -20 you wont heat and your pump will run all day Even now running a pump is expensive. 2 to 350 watt 20 to 35 a mo. 24 x 7 . Raising the boiler temp will not increase your gas bill, actualy you will have longer more efficent cycles, 170 - 185 is normal. In Chgo elec is double the cost of gas,per Btu. cook with gas your total utilities will go down And yes water heater temp makes a difference. Compare summer bills fom previous owner. It could all be in your hot water.
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I keep my house about 75 year round and pay only $68.67 per month for gas

previous
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Hi, If hot water is by NG. That's the guy uses most gas in a household. Tony
profft wrote:

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Two posts have said this now. This is completely unreasonable, unless you live in Florida. Hot water costs are negligible compared to heating costs.
I have checked the gas usage by my dryer and hot water heater and these are reasonable, and the same as in our last house. (I checked usage by drying a load while furnace is off, and by taking a shower while furnace is off, reading the meter before and after gas usage stopped.)
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On Sun, 07 Dec 2003 23:32:54 GMT, Chuckles

Water heater and dryer are negligible...but can be significant if you have a large family and use them often each week.
Probably the biggest difference is where you set the mean temperature...especially at night.
I have forced-air gas...and keep our thermostat at 60 at bedtime. During the day (there's always someone here), I keep it at 68...which is very comfortable...with our central humidifier.
Every home has an OPTIMUM temperature...the temperature where the heating system can operate the most efficiently. You may simply have your comfort setting higher than the previous owner. And that can make a HUGE difference.
Have a nice week...
Trent
Dyslexics of the world ... UNTIE !
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but had it

problems with the

Of course

gas, but I

degree-day, which

the previous

69), but

huge
There's not much else that could make the difference. Turn it down and wear sweaters. Turn it significantly down at night or when you are not there. A couple thick comforters and you can sleep comfortably at 55F. Make sure you have all windows and storm windows firmly closed.
Bob
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Hi,
Did they leave the gas clothes dryer? A different dryer could use more gas. What temperature is the hydronic heat system set at as far as water temp in loop? Should be at 140 degrees. I wouldn't worry so much about why you are 30% higher but instead about how to lower it. Here are a few more ways to consume less gas. In rooms not used much close the isolation valves to the heat coils. Make sure you dryer exhaust is clean. Lower hot water tank temperature to 119 degrees. Check air adjustments on all burners/boilersand make sure you have a blue flame with a very small orange tip. Adjust pilots down if possible. Cook less food LOL <kidding>.
candice
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (CLSSM00X7) wrote in

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. I did turn the heating water temp down to 140, but this being Chicago, that's not going to work every day in January and February. Already the recovery time after a setback period is 2 hours.
I will look at the other things, but I suspect that the hot water heater doesn't make a big difference. Unfortunately some of our radiator valves are broken and can't be turned off; this is something we need to fix.
PS Cooking is electric! We were thinking of getting a new gas cooktop, but then we would have to cook less.
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Look at total cost of operation, though. Sure, you'd be using more gas, but obviously less electricity. My brother used to live in Chicago, and according to him the electric rates there are pretty high -- so you might use less money if you switched to gas.
Be aware that gas and electric ranges cook *very* differently. IMO, gas is easier to use, but if you're accustomed to an electric cooktop you might not like it.
-- Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
How come we choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America?
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snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote in wrote:

It was a JOKE, based on the remark made in the previous post.
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