Household Heating Statistics

Posted October 9, 2017

It can be difficult to look at your home heating expenses and figure out where you stand. Is it normal for your power or gas bills to be getting so much higher in the winter? Should you worry about changes in fuel costs over the years? Is it time to consider making the jump to more efficient technologies, such as heat pumps or geothermal systems? To help you understand household heating enough to make an informed decision, we've put together a few key household heating statistics you'll find quite useful!

Basic Energy Expenses

Basic household heating statistics vary across the country, but we can still gather useful data from national trends alongside regional trends.

  • Percent of household energy. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates roughly 48% of all residential energy use goes towards heating and cooling systems. An improvement in heating efficiency means a significant improvement in overall utility costs in cold climates.
  • Average annual costs of heating nationwide. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimated winter household heating expenditures averaging $578 for natural gas users, $1,437 for propane users, $930 for electric heat users, and $1,392 for heating oil users.

In Chicago, as in the rest of Illinois, the vast majority of homes use gas furnaces for heating; 80% at last count. Of the rest, most use electric heat, with a small minority using heating oil, propane, or other heating solutions as their primary source of heat. Natural gas and electricity costs in Illinois both come in below the national average, with residential natural gas at 5% below national averages and residential electricity 2% below.

Energy Saved

  • Adjusting thermostat for empty home. The Department of Energy estimates savings of 10% annually for homes which adjust thermostats by 7-10 degrees for 8 hours a day. These benefits are reduced in more extreme weather and more consistently severe climates.
  • Per degree of adjustment. According to the Department of Energy, each degree you drop your thermostat by in the winter will save you a minimum of 3% on your heating bill. Other sources give higher savings, such as the 5%+ estimate of Energy Hub.
  • Upgrading to ENERGY STAR® furnaces. According to the EPA and other U.S. government statistics, ENERGY STAR certified gas furnaces are up to 16 percent more efficient than alternatives, saving an average of $94 annually.

Fuel Cost Trends

  • Natural gas. The cost of natural gas declined nearly 34% in Illinois between 2011 and 2016, with a notable spike in costs during 2014 before a return to the downward trend.
  • Electricity. Electricity costs have held an average increase of 1.9% annually over the last five years, roughly keeping pace with inflation.

The overall trend of energy use has gone down, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.  48% of residential energy consumption may be a lot, but it's less than the majority of energy consumption used for heating and cooling in earlier years.

More Information with ABC in Chicago, IL

Want to find out more relevant information about your home heating and cooling systems? Keep up with the ABC blog where we discuss topics that include benefits and savings for our clients. When you need reliable heating and air conditioning services you can count on, be sure to contact us at any time!

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