0

My gas usage seems constant for the past 6 months (summer/fall time) so perhaps this is normal usage for my house but my gas company says my gas usage is Tier 2, which is a higher amount per therm.

Before I hire someone to inspect or before I spend a few dollars buying a gas leak detector from Amazon, I wanted to know if 1/2 a therm per day sounds reasonable? The items in the house that use gas are:

  • stove/oven
  • water heater (50 gallon tank)
  • dryer
  • fireplace (not used or turned on since it's summer/fall time)
  • gas line outside for a grill but we don't have one

I'm not too privy to how my local utility company sets up the tiers but the fact that I'm already at Tier 2 before the winter comes concerns me. I would expect more gas usage during the winter and thus being pushed up to Tier 2 but not right now when I'm just normally using the gas appliances.

  • The stove we use almost every day to cook dinner or heat water for tea.
  • The water heater I set to 120F or 130F? Not sure the temp but it's at the second lowest setting so I'm not sure but it's probably around that temp
  • The dryer we use once a week when we have a load of laundry. Not sure the temp in Fahrenheit but we dry on Low heat for about 1 hr
  • The fireplace isn't used since it's summer
  • The gas line outside isn't used and is in the closed position from what I can tell.

In any case, hopefully someone can tell me if this sounds reasonable for the appliances and usage we're using.

2
  • 1
    Google gas water heater therms per month yields "Most gas hot water heaters use between 20-50 therms of gas per month. A therm is a unit of measurement for natural gas and is equivalent to 100,000 BTUs. So, if you have a gas hot water heater, it's likely using around 2,000-5,000 BTUs per hour."
    – popham
    Oct 21, 2023 at 3:33
  • Is it possible your utility has your house misclassified as using electric heat? In my area, the tiering for gas and electric rates differs for houses with gas vs electric heating. Oct 21, 2023 at 18:18

1 Answer 1

4

Assuming you live in the USA (based on your reference to Fahrenheit for temperature), if you had a gas leak, you'd smell it since odorants are added to natural gas to help identify when there is a leak. The odorant is quite powerful, so if you're not smelling a foul rotten odor, then you likely are fine. But I'd guess that a 1/2 therm of gas per day is probably quite reasonable (and probably lower than average for most houses that use natural gas for all of their main heating appliances), even during the summer with minimal usage. Your gas appliances (especially the water heater) may have pilot lights which consume a small amount of gas all the time, so that may be a source of unexpected gas usage. If you have all those gas appliances already, I wouldn't be surprised if your furnace also is a natural gas furnace, which would be an additional usage source in cold weather.

To figure out where the gas is being used when you're not actively using any appliances, first make sure you can see indications on your gas meter that gas is being consumed. Usually this is via dials on the front of the meter. If so:

  • Find all of the pilot lights in your house, extinguish them (assuming you're familiar with the procedure to relight them), and turn off the gas to these appliances.
  • Observe your gas meter and confirm that there is no usage taking place. If you're still seeing usage, then contact your gas provider to come out and do a gas leak check. They'll have the experience and all the equipment to find where the gas is going if you have no appliances or their pilot lights lit.
  • Turn on your appliances one at a time, light the pilot light, and observe gas usage after each appliance pilot light is re-lit.
  • By turning the appliances back on one at a time and watching your gas meter after each one is re-lit, then you should be able to tell which appliance (or appliances) are using the gas for pilot lights.

Then if you're satisfied that you don't have a small leak anywhere, then run your heating appliances one at a time (stove, dryer, furnace, and water heater (run a bunch of hot water to cause it to fire up)) and watch the gas usage and get a sense for what various appliances use for gas consumption.

You can also contact your gas provider and get historical usage trends to see if your usage is in line with previous owners.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.