How Much Fuel Does Home Heating Use?

Heating Energy Use

This is the second post in our Beginner’s Guide to Heating Bills, it follows average heating bills.

Do you know how much energy a home uses for heating?

Most people have a rough idea of what they spend, but few understand how much energy they use.

Winter Fuel Use in the US, UK and Germany

In the image above we compare the average winter fuel use for the same five homes we used in the first post.  This time instead of cost we look at kWh of fuel used per home over the winter heating period.

Although heating system efficiency also plays a role in these differences, the main drivers are climate, quality of insulation and house size.

Take the US examples.

Heating oil is only used by about 6% of US homes, most commonly in New England (the northeast) where it gets pretty cold.  Natural gas is the primary heating fuel in half of US houses, and dominates in the West, Midwest and Northeast (where is the Mideast?).  As a cheaper fuel it is common in cooler states where they need more heat.  Electric heating is used by 38% of US homes, most commonly in the South where they need less heat.

The German and UK heating use for gas is quite similar.  Germans have slightly larger houses on average, with better insulation, but it is colder.

If you really want to start digging into heating use then it is useful to consider it per unit of floor area.  An older post of ours , how much heating energy do you use, does this for European countries and also looks at climate adjustments.

To get from heating fuel use back to bills you need to consider prices, which we do in the next post of heating cost comparisons.