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how much does heating cost in nyc?
August 11, 2008 5:09 PM   Subscribe

How much does it cost to heat an apartment in Brooklyn? My roommates and I are about to put down a deposit on a 3-bedroom in Greenpoint. The only unknown is that heat isn't included, and we have no idea what that will cost for a winter. Rough estimates and anecdotal evidence appreciated. 1000 a year? 500? 3000? Thanks much.
posted by boots to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
I live in the NYC metro area, but not in Brooklyn. Our heating is by gas which also heats the water. The combined electric and gas bill ranges from 50-60/mo in the summer (we rarely use A/C) up to 150+/mo in winter.
posted by spacefire at 5:24 PM on August 11, 2008

If your apartment has its own gas meter (assuming it's gas heat) then you should be able to call the utility, find out how much gas was used last year, and project a cost based on current rates.
posted by jon1270 at 5:35 PM on August 11, 2008

That was our first idea, but it's a brand new building
posted by boots at 5:39 PM on August 11, 2008

is it electric heat? gas? oil?
posted by sharkfu at 5:54 PM on August 11, 2008

If it's a new building, the heat might not be so bad. But my apartment last year (upstate New York) was decently well-insulated for an old place, and it was running us a solid $200 a month during the winter months (of which there are a lot around here). One thing to consider is where you are in the building; an upstairs apartment may be able to leech the downstairs neighbors' heat, but if you're on the ground floor you'll be paying to heat the people above you.
posted by you're a kitty! at 6:11 PM on August 11, 2008

If i had to do this, this is how i would go about it. I would take the estimate heating load per sq foot multiplied by the square footage multipied by a factor to deal with inefficiencies of the heating system multiplied by the number of heating hours to get gas usage.
I estimate that you need 50 to 55 btu per sq ft to heat a space.
Lets use 1500 sq ft for this example.
Furnaces and boilers tend to be 80 to 85 percent efficient so we will use 1.25 for the factor.
Lets use the number of of hours in the month for this number, so 720.
Pluging all this in you get
55*1500*1.25*720=74,250,000 BTU
Which is 75 therms. The july rate was 1.5$ per therm (it has since dropped but i would bet it will rise again with demand)
So this is all a rather long winded way of saying 112 dollars per month for a 1500 sq ft apartment.
posted by ihadapony at 6:17 PM on August 11, 2008

I've heated living space on my own dime, and though I haven't done it in NYC, utility prices aren't terribly different on a national level. What does vary a lot is building style and condition, and there, particularly in old buildings, NYC can bite you right in the ass.

Since it seems to be a new building and heat isn't included, you won't be using the centrally-heated water-pumped radiators, for which you can thank your lucky stars. They suck and they're loud. Newer buildings are also more likely to be well ventilated and well insultated, both of which are good things.

It's going to depend a lot on the kind of heat you're using. Electric is going to cost more than gas (I'd be very surprised if you're using oil), but either way, if my experiences are analogous at all, you should plan on paying between $100-$200/month on heat to whichever utility bill heats your space during the winter. It can cost almost that much to cool a place down too, so don't forget that.

ihadapony's solution is elegant, but perhaps lacking in precision. It's also full of wild-ass guesses. I'll take real-world anecdotes over abstract hypothesis.
posted by valkyryn at 6:48 PM on August 11, 2008

It kind of depends on what you keep the thermostat set at and how big the apartment is. In the winter, we keep our heat at 64 during the day and turn it down to 62 at night. We think this is normal and are fine with wearing layers of clothing indoors when it is cold, but to a lot of people that is crazy cold and they set their thermostat at least to 70, which leads to a heating bill that is easily at least $50 higher.
posted by pluckysparrow at 7:44 PM on August 11, 2008

My wife and I are in a large two bedroom in the Bronx. Our bills can range from a low of about $120 to as high as $260. I run a couple servers at home though, so my usage is probably a bit high.
posted by JaredSeth at 9:10 PM on August 11, 2008

Just to make everything even MORE fun --

Some gas/heating accounts bill you every TWO months rather than every month, so it can be difficult to figure out the monthly rate.

I'm also in a 2-bedroom in Brooklyn, and up until June the gas was on my roommate's account (and she was NOTORIOUSLY bad at remembering to ask me for my share of the bills, so I don't really know how much things were), but...i think our bills were about $200 per bill, which meant $200 every two months for us. I just took over the gas bill and the bill I got in June, which covered June and May, was about $65.

But our electric bill, which covered having the AC on for much of July, was $200. It's a tradeoff.

Also of note: we are on the 4th floor of a brownstone, living one floor above a guy who really likes to keep his apartment well heated. So we got a lot of his residual heat.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:49 AM on August 12, 2008

I live in a 2-story 4 bedroom in Williamsburg and we've never paid over $200 a month.
posted by atomly at 4:25 PM on August 12, 2008

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