Heating Cost Per Square Foot Calculator ($0.00049836 Average)

How much does heating costs per square foot?

If you know the average heating cost per square foot, you can calculate the total heating cost for your house. Of course, the exact heating costs per sq foot depending on several factors. The two most important ones are:

  1. Heating needs. In the US, you would need anywhere from 30 BTU per square foot (South US) to 60 BTU per square foot (North US) to heat your home. You can use this heating requirements map to figure out how many BTU per sq ft of heating you need.
  2. Heating source. This can be natural gas, propane, heating oil, electric heating, and so on. The cost of heating per square foot depends on the current price of the heating source, as well as the energy efficiency of the said fuel (and furnace, stove, heater, etc).

Note: Estimation of heating costs per sq ft includes a lot of averaging heating needs, averaging highly volatile and state-specific fuel source prices, location, insulation of your home, and so on.

When you figure all of these factors in (to a sufficient-enough extent), the calculation will show that a typical US home will spend about $0.00049836 per sq ft per hour for natural gas heating. You will find the explanation for this calculator further on. Here is a quick summary of the results:

  • Natural gas: $0.00049836 per sq ft per hour.
  • Propane: $0.0011716 per sq ft per hour.
  • Heating oil: $0.0009662 per sq ft per hour.
  • Electric heating: $0.0015463 per sq ft per hour.

These numbers are exceptionally low because we are only heating 1 sq ft of living space for 1 hour. However, a keen eye will notice that, on average, the most cost-effective way to heat is with natural gas and the least cost-effective way to heat is with electric heating.

To help you estimate heating cost per sq ft for your specific situation, we have prepared a ‘Heating Cost Per Square Foot’ calculator. With the calculator, you can determine exactly how much you will pay to heat 1 sq ft of living space per day.

Heating Cost Per Sq Ft Calculator

To adequately use the calculator, you first need to choose a fuel source (natural gas, propane, heating oil, electric heating).

Once you have that, you have to check what is the current price of the fuel source in your area. Example: US national average electricity cost is about $0.1319 per kWh, and the average natural gas cost is $12.92/Mcf, according to this EIA report.

In the calculator, we used average fuel costs and energy efficiencies to illustrate how much does heating cost per square foot.

Note: This is merely a rough estimate, based on the average prices. Below the calculator, you will see how you can calculate a more exact heating cost per sq ft for your home.

 

Here are some heating resources that will help you calculate how much does heating cost per sq ft:

BTU Content Of Heating Fuels + Cost Per Sq Ft Calculation

Let’s say that you have a 2,000 sq ft house that requires 40 BTU of heat per sq ft. That means you will need an 80,000 BTU furnace. In 1 hour, you will have to use enough fuel to produce 80,000 BTU of heating output.

How much natural gas, propane, heating oil, or electricity is that? How much does it cost?

Here’s a useful list to calculate that:

  • 1,000 cubic feet (Mcf) of natural gas contains 1.037 MMBTU or 1,037,000 BTU of energy. Average price (very variable): $12.92/Mcf of residential natural gas. (Source: EIA)
  • 1 gallon of propane contains 91,500 BTU of energy. Average price (very variable): $2.68/gallon of residential propane. (Source: EIA)
  • 1 gallon of heating oil contains 138,690 BTU of energy. Average price (very variable): $3.35/gallon of residential heating oil. (Source: EIA)
  • 1 kWh of electricity contains 3.412 BTU of energy. Average price (very variable): $0.1319/kWh.

Now, what does this mean?

Well, it means that we have to pay $12.92 for 1,037,000 BTU of energy if we use natural gas for heating.

To heat up 1 sq ft in our case, we only need 40 BTU per hour. How much does natural gas cost to heat per square foot? Here’s the calculation:

Cost Per Sq Ft (Natural Gas, 40 BTU) = (40 BTU ÷ 1,037,000 BTU) × $12.92 =

$0.00049836 Per Sq Ft Per Hour

If we have a 2,000 sq ft house, we have to multiply this very low cost by 2,000, and we get, surprisingly, exactly $1.00 per hour for heating. That means that we spend a total of $24.00 per day to heat a big house with natural gas.

Here are the results for this case (40 BTU/h per sq ft) for heating with all 4 specified heating fuels:

  • Natural gas: $0.00049836 per sq ft per hour.
  • Propane: $0.0011716 per sq ft per hour.
  • Heating oil: $0.0009662 per sq ft per hour.
  • Electric heating: $0.0015463 per sq ft per hour.

It’s actually hard to compare these numbers because heating per 1 sq ft per 1 hour costs are less than 1 cent. However, to a keen eye, it’s evident that, given current average prices, using natural gas to heat your house is the most cost-effective choice.

Of course, that depends on your local fuel prices significantly. In order to check what is better for heating – natural gas vs. propane vs. heating oil vs. electric heating – you need to do calculations for your specific area. It’s also not a piece of cake finding all these heating fuel prices.

If you do find solid numbers, you can write them in the comments below, describe your situation, and maybe we can help you out with a calculation.

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