27 February 2011

Heating Costs

So I’ve been wondering about heating costs. It takes about 1/2 ton of coal every month to heat a home here, relatively speaking. Most Americans would use a ton of coal. Anyway. Coal is about 5 som a kilogram, so it costs about $53 a month to heat a house. Remember than a typical salary is less than $100/month. And that coal is nasty to burn.

We’re lucky that we have a gas furnace, because it’s a lot cleaner, but it’s a lot more expensive to heat with gas. One friend who lives just outside Bishkek said it cost 6000-8000 som a month to heat her house with gas, which is about $125-$175. Our bill for this month was 4400 som, or $95 (that keeps the house around 60 degrees and the heat is off at night, which is pretty much standard here). It’s unfortunate that the cleaner and much easier gas is so much more expensive than coal. Coal is also at least a little more dependable because you don’t have to worry that the gas goes out. That hasn’t been a problem for us this winter, but it certainly has been a huge problem other winters in Central Asia.

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