With average winter temperatures in the teens, Minnesota is known for its harsh climate during wintertime. If you're relocating to the Minneapolis-St. Paul area from a warmer climate, you may be wondering want an average heat bill will be during the cold season. If you already live in the area but are moving from a place that pays your heat to a home where you'll cover the cost, how much should you budget for heating costs?
Average Heat Bill
In Minnesota, the heating season is from November to March. For large, single-family homes, bills can be as high as $500 a month when it's especially cold but average more around $400 during warmer winters. Medium-sized homes, heated moderately, can be heated for about $200 a month. Small apartments can be heated for $50 a month.
The actual cost for heat depends on many things, mainly the size of a house or apartment. Another big factor is the type of energy used to provide heat. In Minneapolis-St. Paul, approximately 80 percent of homes are heated with natural gas and 17 percent are heated with electricity. Other factors determining heating cost are how well insulated the home is, how warm you want to keep it and how often you have the heat on.
Do Your Research
When you are looking at apartments or houses, ask the landlord or previous owner for the amount of last year's heating costs. Most potential tenants or buyers want to know this, so landlords and sellers should have that information. If they can't provide previous costs, contact the local energy companies. Xcel Energy provides natural gas and electricity, and CenterPoint Energy provides natural gas.
Tips to Reduce Heating Costs
Heating prices in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area may seem high if you are moving from a warmer part of the country, but there are ways to lessen sticker shock when the bill comes. Aside from replacing an older, inefficient furnace, many precautions can be taken in both houses and apartments to lower heating costs.
The most effective way to save energy is to keep the thermostat at 68 degrees while at home and turn it down to 60 degrees while at work or sleeping. Better yet, buy a programmable thermostat that automatically adjusts the temperature settings for you. Don't forget to also take care of the furnace by getting it professionally tuned up regularly and replacing the furnace filter every few months.
Other cost-savers include caulking and weatherstripping doors and windows, adding insulation film over windows and patio doors and turning off the fireplace pilot light. Setting the hot water heater at 120 degrees and replacing shower heads and faucets with low-flow aerators will help save costs not just in winter but all year long.