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Old 11-12-2006, 02:07 AM
2 posts, read 26,274 times
Reputation: 11


Hello Folks,

I plan to retire in Iowa City next January to be near the veterans hospital there and I wonder about typical cost of heating a small home during the winter.

I am in Las Vegas where monthly costs for air conditioning can run $200+ in summers with little need for heating in winters so I am about to reverse the situation and I hope to be prepared in advance so I don't faint when I open my first gas bill.

Come to think of it, do you primarily use natural gas for heating in Iowa? It's about all we have here in Nevada but I recall that my folks furnace burned liquid fuel in Wisconsin where I grew up.

Many thanks - Joe
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Old 11-13-2006, 11:09 PM
Location: Keosauqua, Iowa
9,595 posts, read 20,747,686 times
Reputation: 13575
Most folks in Iowa heat with gas. And depending how efficient your house is and what the price of gas does, you could easily see $200 a month heating bills in the winter.

The bad thing is, while the summers here aren't as hot as in Nevada, the humidity makes it pretty unbearable in July and August; so you still could have the big electric bill in the summer.
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Old 12-03-2006, 02:22 PM
4 posts, read 73,079 times
Reputation: 22
Default Re: How are the winters in Iowa?

Your heating costs and cooling costs will be higher in Iowa. In Iowa City, there is one utility you deal with for natural gas and electric needs and that is MidAmerican Energy Company (http://www.midamericanenergy.com/). Controlling your energy bill by purchasing a home that you know is energy efficient. The newer homes in the last 10 years will definitely fill that bill. I live in a modular home on the southeast side of town. My home is 8 years old. MidAmerican has a billing arrangement that bills you for the average costs spread out over one year. Once they have a record of how much it costs for each month of the year, they can spread the total annual costs out over each month and your bill is averaged for each month throughout the year. For example, if your annual heating and cooling costs comes to $1200, each month would be billed at $100 regardless of the actual costs be they low or be they high. Now this doesn't mean that if the following year comes to $1300 that you would get $100 free. You would still pay the actual cost. They try to adjust it towards the end of your annual billing cycle so you would not get stuck owing a whole lot at the end. In my experience, they actually overbill me so that there was at least two or three months of the following year, I didn't have a bill as I had a lot of credit left over to use up first. Neat, huh?

So you're still sitting in the dark asking just how much my monthly costs come to. $140 a month currently. A modular home is a mobile home size home on concrete foundations. We also turn the thermostat down each night about 5 or 10 degrees. That means it's cool when we get up before turning the thermostat back up which is usually around 70 degrees.

Now you say you are retired. How's your blood circulation? Is it hard for you to keep warm? If so, your energy costs will be higher in the winter as you will be like some other elderly residents I know that keep their thermostat set on 80 degrees year round! If this is you, you would be wise to invest in some winter clothing and put away your summer clothes. This means buying long sleeve shirts (flannel), sweatshirts and sweatpants (which are more comfortable to wear as they are not as binding as regular clothes), maybe a good heavy winter coat if you want to spend anytime outdoor, heavy socks and fur lined boots if you go walking through deep snow, thermal underwear, warm scarf, warm gloves, and, if the coat isn't hooded, a warm hat to cover your head.

You would also be wise to buy some warm blankets or an electric blanket to keep you warm at night. Also buy some insulated drapes for your windows. Also check your windows and doors for heat leaks. Our daughter and husband bought a home built back before the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973. They had to replace all the windows with energy efficient ones and place extra insulation in the attic to slow the heat loss.
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Old 12-04-2006, 07:51 AM
Location: Ocala, Florida
140 posts, read 721,540 times
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I agree with Lew321's outstandingly informative post. Iowa winters are typically NASTY, BRUTAL, long, severe, unrelenting. Being mostly flat topography, the winter wind just whips across the countryside with high winds, creating blowing snow, huge snowdrifts, and during snowstorms, often whiteout conditions. The windchill factor is what is extremely dangerous and lifethreatening, especially for older folks who may get stuck out in the weather for some period of time. I recall that when I lived in Iowa and was going to school there, one morning the actual air temperature was a -32 degrees and I had a mile to walk to class. I wasn't sure if I could make it, even though my mother had sewed an extra lining in my winter coat. Because the winter weather was so nasty, I left Iowa and returned to upper New York State to complete my college education.

Are you sure you really want to relocate to Iowa and live in such nasty winter weather?
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Old 12-04-2006, 11:17 AM
Location: Phoenix metro
20,004 posts, read 76,302,794 times
Reputation: 10353
Winters are only like that in short spurts. EVERY day from December to February are NOT like that. Yes, it happens, but you can dress for it. The desert heat is far more likely to kill you than winter cold. Just play it smart and youll be 100% ok. Ive lived up here for 29 years and have yet to get even frostbite. Just dress accordingly and winters are quite comfortable. Summers can get oppresively hot and humid, but thats only for a few weeks at best, the rest of summer is rather pleasant with nice cool nights.
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Old 12-12-2006, 06:34 PM
162 posts, read 449,952 times
Reputation: 36
it snows ..... it can be down right cold, but dressing warm with layers is key.... the iowa hawkeyes are fun to watch during football season its a darn fun time to look forward too!
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Old 01-03-2007, 04:35 PM
5 posts, read 81,083 times
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Smile Global Warming's Affecting Iowa, Too.

This year, the winter has been very mild, so far. A record LOW amount of snow for December in Des Moines (0.1 inch for the month). The snow, when it does fall, isn't too deep usually. However, the temps can really go down and the wind makes the wind chill index scary. Seems like January and February are the really cold months. I do remember a snowstorm on Thanksgiving Day, 1985 or 1986 but usually we don't have any snow until March.
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Old 01-10-2007, 07:31 PM
28,802 posts, read 46,829,585 times
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http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k315/Tek_Freek/March2004snow01.jpg (broken link)

http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k315/Tek_Freek/March2004snow04.jpg (broken link)

http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k315/Tek_Freek/March2004snow03-1.jpg (broken link)

I do remember a snowstorm on Thanksgiving Day, 1985 or 1986 but usually we don't have any snow until March
How about October a couple of years ago? 13 inches I believe. Not the the storm shown in the pictures BTW. That was March. Also had a winter a few years back that set a record in DSM. More than one inch of snow on the ground for 90 days.

The snow, when it does fall, isn't too deep usually
Where in Iowa do you live?
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Old 01-12-2007, 05:02 PM
Location: WPB, FL. Dreaming of Oil city, PA
2,909 posts, read 13,926,730 times
Reputation: 1031
Hmmm im not sure if ill like the cold too much. I am from Florida and I am relocating but not to where it gets oppressively cold, windy and snowy. Its zone 4b and can get up to -25 but the winter average temperature is below 32f, gets down to 10-20 quite often. I want a milder climate. Right now its 5-20 degrees depending where in Iowa you are.
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Old 01-26-2007, 12:38 PM
20 posts, read 129,996 times
Reputation: 16
Do not move to Iowa for good weather.
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