How I Eliminated My Natural Gas Bill

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I want financial freedom, and I want to earn my income without being tied to a job. In 2013, I am actively working toward those two goals by cutting my expenses and increasing my income. Here is how I got rid of my natural gas bill, saving me a couple hundred dollars per month. Before I made the changes listed below, I used natural gas to heat my home and my water, to cook, and to dry clothes.

  • I Switched to Wood Heat

Heating my house with my 75,000 BTU gas furnace was costly, so I installed a woodburner and turned off the gas furnace. Most woodburners often cost $1000 or more, which can be quite a hefty amount for someone on a tight budget. I paid a welder $300 to convert a 55-gallon drum into a woodburner and install it. I spend my spring and summers gathering free wood during my spare time. The woodburner heats well, and now I heat my house throughout the long Ohio winter for free. Gathering wood takes a lot more time than running the gas furnace, but for me, the money I save is worth it.

  • I Quit Using the Clothes Dryer

To eliminate my gas bill completely, I had to quit using the gas dryer. I could have gotten an electric dryer, but I want to reduce the electric bill, too – not add to it. For several months, I washed clothes in the washer then hung them up to dry in the house. I found that to be too cumbersome, though, so I decided instead to just take the clothes to the Laundromat once a week. That helps me reduce the electric bill as well. It only takes about an hour once a week to do my laundry at the Laundromat, and it costs me under $10.00.

  • I Turned Off the Water Heater

One of the trickiest parts of eliminating my gas bill came with the issue of how to get hot water. Foregoing my gas water heater meant no hot water in the house. There are electric tankless heaters, but I don’t want to add to the electric bill. I’ve read articles on how to build a solar hot water heater, but I haven’t tackled that task yet. Instead, I now heat water in a turkey-fryer pan on a propane burner. When I need to shower, I either just take a bath instead, or I heat water and put it in a portable, camp-shower bag. Sometimes I just fill up a bucket with warm water, sit in the tub and soap myself up, then use a pitcher to rinse off with the warm water in the bucket. Similarly, to do dishes in warm water, I heat the water on the propane burner. Since I’ve opted to do laundry at the Laundromat, I no longer need hot water to wash clothes.

  • I Purchased a Propane Oven

Before the change, I cooked on a gas stove and in a gas oven. I could have bought a converter kit to convert the existing stove to run on a propane cylinder, but I wasn’t sure that would have been energy-efficient. Instead, I purchased a camping stove that has an oven and that runs on a propane cylinder. The oven is small and there are only two burners on the stove, but it is sufficient for me, and it only cost $162.00.

Implementing these four steps allowed me to disconnect my home from the gas company’s pipeline. Instead of paying over $100 each month for gas, I now pay $9.69 to fill up a 20-lb. propane cylinder that lasts an entire month.

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Cook n Save Money profile image

Cook n Save Money 3 years ago from Minnestoa

Did homeowner's insurance have an issue with your home made wood burner? How efficient is this barrel compared to a proper wood stove? I've heated with wood in the past, and still use quite a bit of gas to drive around gathering enough "free" wood throughout the year to last a Maine winter, not to mention running the chainsaw to cut it all to length.


kidnappedkids profile image

kidnappedkids 3 years ago from OH Author

Proper wood stoves often have a built-in blower which circulates the heat throughout the house better. As for efficiency, I believe that the converted 55-gallon drum is just as effeicient as any woodburning stove as long as you use the right wood. I used to burn pine (not a good idea) which provided lower BTUs. Now I'm burning oak and ash which provide plenty of BTUs. It does take a lot of effort (and gas) to go around and gather your "free" wood, but I get lot of free wood in the spring when, driving around, I see trees that have been down ed by the spring storms. Homeowners are usually happy to let me cut up and haul away their downed trees instead of paying a tree company hundreds of dollars to do the same. Also, I always peruse craigslist for ads that say "free firewood". The listings are usually about trees that have fallen down or need to come down. Last summer, I hard about a church that wanted to clean up its yard, and I cut and collected 5 large trees in that one job, and it took me under a week to finish. I got nearly a winter's worth of wood off that one job.

I'm sure the home insurance company would have an issue with a woodburner, but I don't carry homeowner's insurance. I know I should, but I'd rather save my money. I've not had house insurance in six years. If someone else has comments on the effect of the woodburner on house insurance, I'd like to hear their comments. (Sorry I can't answer that part of your question).

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