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Why is my heating bill so high? Over $500!

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Question: I am just a regular person trying to help/ gain knowledge about a Payne furnace.  My niece rents a house and the landlord is not a good landlord.  During the winter I was at the home she rents and I noticed to this month the furnace turns on more than off.  Her first months electrical/heating bill was over $500.00.  I did implore her to get on the landlords you know what, she calmly did.  That house was very, very cold. He had someone come and look at stuff and that did not solve the problem.  I don’t think  my niece dealt with the situation.  I was there when she spoke with the landlord and he was very complacent even though she has 3 little children. The furnace is running ON and when off, NOW 10 seconds.  What kind of suggestions can I pass onto her to give to the insensitive landlord?  I appreciate any knowledge and suggestions about what may be wrong for this occurring, other than sending a technician out, which of course she cannot nor will not do seeing this is the Landlords responsibility.  He seems to think the girl knows nothing about nothing.  Very sincerely yours Donna  HELP!


Hi! Thanks so much for your interest in our website and the opportunity to do business with you! There are many different variables that can cause a heating bill to be that high. Unbelievable you say the house is pretty cold with a $500 bill! Wow! Some causes of a high heating bill would be:

1. The building or home itself: Is the home well insulated? What is the heat gain and heat loss of the structure? Are the windows good leak tight windows? The only way to access this would be to visually inspect or have a contractor do a heat/gain heat/loss calculation on the structure.
2. Furnace mechanical problems: Is the thermostat heat anticipator (if equipped) set properly to keep the heat on until the furnace is satisfied? Is the furnace clean, burning the gas correctly? Is the blower wheel, blower motor and evaporator clean and unobstructed? If the furnace is stopped up you will not get much air flow out of the furnace and the furnace will go off and on limit like you described. We have a furnace troubleshooting page that might help: A furnace that is sized too small can cause a large heating bill because it runs all the time.
3. Furnace location: I have seen problems with furnaces that are located in the attics causing high bills because since heat rises it is hard to bring the heat down in a home from the attic. If the heating registers are located in the ceiling. It would be best if the registers were in the wall or floor.
4. Furnace duct work problems: If the duct work is too small or if the duct work is leaking in the attic it will cause high heating bills. 
If I was a renter and had this high of a bill and if the Land Lord would not help, I would check with the Better Business Bureau, or Angie’s list and ask them to recommend a good HVAC contractor to find out what the problem really is. We have a regular size (1,800 sq. ft.) home in Louisville, KY and our bills have never been over $250 during Christmas time in the coldest part of the winter. I hope you can find out the problem without too much more expense! Please email us anytime if you have questions. Our email address is: We would love to help you our and have your business!  I hope that you have a great day!

Steve Arnold,


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