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How I Eliminated My Natural Gas Bill
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.