Bills, how much is too much?

Have you been wondering how much is too much for your utility bills? We will explore good, average and poor in this article as well as what makes up your utility bills. For a rough score estimation of your bills, you’ll need your annual total bills for gas and electric, and the square footage of your home.

Divide your total annual gas and electric bills by your square footage.

Great = less than 0.40 \$/ft²
Good = less than 0.80 \$/ft²
Average = less than 1.20 \$/ft²
Poor = less than 1.60 \$/ft²
Awful = more than 1.60 \$/ft²

Example:
Monthly power bill = \$225
Monthly gas bill = \$65
Home size = 3,850 ft²
\$225+\$65 = \$290 Utility bills per month
\$290 * 12 = \$3,840 Utility bills per year
\$3,480 / 3,850 ft² = 0.90 \$/ft²

This example home would be considered average.

What do these numbers usually indicate?

Great has small energy savings still possible. Typically newer buildings with tight, well-insulated building shells. Energy-efficient mechanical systems and appliances, most likely all Energy Star rated. Careful occupants that understand how they consume energy and how best to conserve. These homes are a candidate to consider solar or other sophisticated energy saving or producing ideas. These homes typically have year round excellent temperature and humidity comfort.

Good homes will have notable air leakage, insulation or space conditioning efficiency problems. These will have average appliance and water heating usage and fairly careful occupants. The occupants are likely to have addressed basic usage costs like lighting or a programmable thermostat. Major mechanical equipment or appliances are well maintained. These homes typically are mostly comfortable year round and throughout the home with few uncomfortable spots or days.

Average homes have major problems with air leakage, insulation or space-conditioning efficiency problems. High hot water usage and inefficient appliances and/or high electricity use by occupants. Typically energy efficiency and cost has not been considered when buying appliances and mechanical equipment for home. The owners may turn off light switches, but little else to save energy. These homes often have poor comfort spots in the home and struggle to maintain proper humidity as the seasons change.

Poor and Awful scored homes will have little or no insulation, plentiful air leakage and inefficient space-conditioning systems. Often these homes will have Swimming pools or hot tubs with old style fixed speed high energy pumps. Occupants have little regard to their utility consumption. These homes have numerous hot or cold spots through the home and humidity tracks the seasons. The occupants typically complain of dryness during the Winter months and too humid in the Spring and Fall.