When you open your natural gas bill as the cold weather moves in, you probably have the same reaction each time. You glance at unknown terms, grumble over the amount charged and reluctantly pay the bill. Understanding your natural gas bill can help you save on heating costs, and here's how you can decipher it.
How gas companies make money
Before you begin understanding your natural gas bill, you have to understand how your gas company makes its money. First, gas companies usually don't charge customers for the gas they supply. Your gas comes from an outside supplier, to your gas company and then to you.
There usually isn't a markup for gas like this. Gas prices also fluctuate like fuel for your car. So this means that your gas company makes its money from the charges involved in getting the gas to you — delivery charges, service charges, commodity charges and other necessary customer charges.
Some necessary terms
Something you'll see on your bill is energy usage. Instead of measuring your gas usage by quantity, gas companies measure by energy used. This may differ from company to company. You may see BTUs, CCFs, MCFs or therms as the unit that measures your energy use from gas.
Understanding these terms is quite easy.
- BTUs are British thermal units
- CCFs and MCFs are units measured by volume of gas. A CCF is 100 cubic feet of gas, while an MCF is 1,000 cubic feet of gas -- 10 CCFs are the same as one MCF.
- Therm is shorthand for thermal units and is abbreviated as thm.
How to save on your bills
The best place to start saving is to cut down on energy use. Switch to using Energy Star appliances and make sure windows and doors are well sealed and insulated. Energy calculators can help, as well as doing an energy audit to identify leaks and problems.
Knowing what appears on your natural gas bill helps you save money and anticipate heating costs in the future. As the seasons change, winter will be less of a challenge for you once you understand the charges that show up each month. For more information about understanding your natural gas bill or for other HVAC related information, contact P.K Wadsworth Heating and Cooling. We've proudly served the greater Cleveland area since 1936.Follow @PKwadsworth
Paul Wadsworth is the President and Owner of P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling. For 37 years, Paul has been providing heating and cooling services to the Greater Cleveland area. P.K. Wadsworth has been a trusted Cleveland HVAC service company for over 75 years. The company understand the area's construction and local heating and air conditioning needs. Paul has an MBA from the University of Michigan and a B.S., Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. Paul is the Chairman of COSE's Energy Advisory Council. He's been President of the Cleveland Air Conditioning Contractors of America and a founding member of the local chapter. Paul was born and raised in Cleveland and has been active in the local community. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and two sons.
The opinions and statements contained in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not instructions. Only trained, licensed and experienced personnel should attempt installation/repair. The author assumes no liability for the opinions/statements made in this article. Any individual attempting a repair or installation based on this article does so at their own risk of loss.photo credit: Duke Energy