Gas Bill Anecdote
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Gas Bill Anecdote (by Deanna [TX]) Dec 4, 2018 9:26 AM
       Gas Bill Anecdote (by Oregon Woodsmoke [ID]) Dec 4, 2018 9:37 AM
       Gas Bill Anecdote (by Paulio [PA]) Dec 4, 2018 9:51 AM
       Gas Bill Anecdote (by S i d [MO]) Dec 4, 2018 10:23 AM
       Gas Bill Anecdote (by Deanna [TX]) Dec 4, 2018 10:48 AM
       Gas Bill Anecdote (by Robert,OntarioCanada [ON]) Dec 4, 2018 10:53 AM
       Gas Bill Anecdote (by Richard [MI]) Dec 4, 2018 11:48 AM
       Gas Bill Anecdote (by David [MI]) Dec 4, 2018 3:51 PM
       Gas Bill Anecdote (by David [MI]) Dec 4, 2018 3:56 PM
       Gas Bill Anecdote (by Chris [CT]) Dec 5, 2018 1:07 PM
       Gas Bill Anecdote (by Small potatoes [NY]) Dec 5, 2018 1:48 PM
       Gas Bill Anecdote (by DON [PA]) Dec 5, 2018 11:33 PM
       Gas Bill Anecdote (by elliot [RI]) Dec 6, 2018 3:23 AM
       Gas Bill Anecdote (by Busy [WI]) Dec 6, 2018 9:17 AM
       Gas Bill Anecdote (by Busy [WI]) Dec 6, 2018 9:31 AM
       Gas Bill Anecdote (by Deanna [TX]) Dec 6, 2018 10:15 AM
       Gas Bill Anecdote (by Ray-N-Pa [PA]) Dec 7, 2018 5:41 AM

Gas Bill Anecdote (by Deanna [TX]) Posted on: Dec 4, 2018 9:26 AM

Dear Mr Landlord, I never expected it to happen to me---

I'm at school picking up my kids and having a quick teacher's conference. The cellphone rings. It's my tenant from a block away. They just moved in last month. They're an older couple, not the sharpest knives in the drawer, but they had lived together for about five years before they had a fight and broke up, and now they had gotten back together after realizing they couldn't make it on their own, and so I took a chance on them, given the time of year and their initiative and all that, despite his alcoholism and their collective IQ.

The GV voicemail transcription is along the lines of, "I got my gas bill in today and it was $91 and I am concerned it's so high. Do I have a gas leak?"

Anyhow, I'm in conference, so I finish up what I'm doing, load the kids in the truck, and drive the block over to the rental. The Atmos truck (gas company) is also pulling up.

We walk up to the house together. The tenant is sitting there with no shirt on. It's in the 40*'s, and the house is set to 71*.

The Atmos guy says, "Well, I pressure-tested the line, but there's no gas leak."

And he's like, "I've lived in this town for 12 years, and I've never had such a high gas bill! It's never been over $40!"

And I have also lived here for 12 years, and know what gas bills run, depending on the time of year. (Hint: they're like an electric bill in the winter, and down to $15-$25 in the summer if you're not heating.) "What kind of heat did you use in the past? Gas or electric? Did you have central heat & air in the past? And it's December and 40-something degrees outside. If you're going to sit around with no shirt on, yeah, I can see how your heating bill would be a little high."

And he's like, "I don't see how my shirt has anything to do with this. If I had known the utilities were so expensive, we wouldn't have rented this place."

The Atmos guy says, "I've turned the gas back on."

And I'm like, "Uh.... You turned the gas off?!?! Have you re-lit the hot water heater?" Because the igniter has been a little finicky, and I have to have my plumbers light it for me... because replacing the igniter is about as expensive as replacing the hwh.

Of course, the Atmos guy tries and can't get it re-lit. "I'm not allowed to disassemble the assembly," he said. "You'll have to call your plumbers to do it."

I'm incredibly fortunate, because my guys, who are booked solid through the New Year, are currently a few blocks away at my current renovation pressure-testing a gas line. (It didn't hold. It needs replacement, of course.) So I'm like, "Okay."

And my tenant sez, "That's not going to cost me anything, is it?"

And I'm like, "It very well might. I'll find out when they send me the bill. I'll go talk to them right now to get the hot water turned back on before they go home for dinner."

"That's just not right... That's just not right..."

He calls me a few minutes later to confirm that someone will be by to re-light his hot water heater. I tell him yes. He apologizes very nicely, saying that he had panicked, and if he had known I was coming over, he would have put a shirt on. I suspect the point entirely missed him. He said that now he knows what to expect, they'll make the bills work. I tell him please don't shut off my utilities in the future, because they can be expensive to re-activate. He reassures me about his gratitude, and Merry Christmas, and they'll stay off my radar until next year...

Ooo, I was upset... :)

But the moment I saw him with no shirt on--- every anecdote from ll's who foot the heating bill flashed through my head. :)

Gas Bill Anecdote (by Oregon Woodsmoke [ID]) Posted on: Dec 4, 2018 9:37 AM

That's exactly why I won't ever pay for heat. My family was looking at a mobile home park, 26 old mobile homes, low rent, and every tenant in there, no exceptions, had the heat set so high I could barely breathe. They were all barefoot and wearing the skimpiest summer clothing.

Eery one of them was complaining about their heat bill, usually while they were standing there with the door wide open with snow on the ground.

It makes me wonder if poor people have something different about their metabulism, that they need a room heated to 92 degrees in the winter. It was way past the point of being uncomfortable with overheating and every one of them was doing it. --174.216.xx.xx

Gas Bill Anecdote (by Paulio [PA]) Posted on: Dec 4, 2018 9:51 AM

I must say....I enjoyed that story. I even did the voices in my head. :) So typical....

Gas Bill Anecdote (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Dec 4, 2018 10:23 AM

Is the combined IQ higher than the gas bill? This is why I no longer "Take a chance" on tenants.... Posts with those word rarely also contain the phrase "...and it worked out GREAT!"

Gas Bill Anecdote (by Deanna [TX]) Posted on: Dec 4, 2018 10:48 AM

The fun part was the gas guy trying not to laugh out loud when I pointed out how he was not dressed for the weather. :P

The woman had tried renting from me earlier this summer, when she was separate from him. However, it was clear she wasn't sharp enough to live independently. When they got back together, they seemed like they had a better chance as a team, especially when combined with the power of autodraft. I have a soft spot for senior citizens... I tend to have better luck on my gambles with them than I do on younger people. Once they get settled in their rut, they're far more stable and have less energy for shenanigans.

Gas Bill Anecdote (by Robert,OntarioCanada [ON]) Posted on: Dec 4, 2018 10:53 AM

If the building was upgraded to net zero where super insulated there would be heat loss where there would no need for a heating system. Installing a demand water heater would be over $1,000 dollars where the heat loss of a direct fired hot water heater is 7 to 12 degrees per hour when no water is being used. A indirect hot water tank can only be used with a gas boiler where there is immersion coil where the heat loss is less then one degree per hour in standby. So in the end would the tenant be willing to pay $100 to $300 more per month to live in a rental unit that has lower natural gas consumption or less electrical power consumption. I wear long under wear along using a comforters on the bed at night where the heat is turned a few degrees to 18 degrees Celsius instead of 20 degrees normal room temperature. There is a demand water heater which only fires when there is hot water demand which has no standing pilot along with no standing pilot on the natural gas stove or natural gas clothes dryer.

Gas Bill Anecdote (by Richard [MI]) Posted on: Dec 4, 2018 11:48 AM

Same thing here.

In the summer they want the a.c. at 60.

I don't even have an ac (heck, it's northern Michigan in the summer). If tenants want ac they have to get their own window units.

Gas Bill Anecdote (by David [MI]) Posted on: Dec 4, 2018 3:51 PM

Tenants don't keep the heat high in winter and a/c low in summer just for giggles.

My work had the heat set to 73-74, and guess what, the humidity is 15-20%. In the summer, the a/c is set to about the same temp, but the humidity is 50-55%. Yeah, it feels a lot colder in the winter.

So the reason tenants who aren't paying the bills keep jacking up the heat is because lower humidity makes the temperature feel cooler.

Gas Bill Anecdote (by David [MI]) Posted on: Dec 4, 2018 3:56 PM

And apparently, in the really cold climates, using a whole house humidifier to maintain a comfortable humidity of 40-45% in the winter would cause ice to form on the inside of your windows and damage the wood in your walls.

Gas Bill Anecdote (by Chris [CT]) Posted on: Dec 5, 2018 1:07 PM

You can always tell when someone has no concept of what things cost or are not paying utilities. The heat is always cranked to an uncomfortable level.

Gas Bill Anecdote (by Small potatoes [NY]) Posted on: Dec 5, 2018 1:48 PM

Or the ac is running while the window next to it is wide open. I wasn't paying for that. But I did inherit a tenant when I bought a bldg who kept the ac at 71 around the clock in the summer for their dog

Gas Bill Anecdote (by DON [PA]) Posted on: Dec 5, 2018 11:33 PM

Everyone seems to be missing that 71 degrees set on the thermostat in winter is completely normal. Whether he has a shirt on or not, it is a normal temp. Yes, he could put a shirt on and drop the temp a few degrees more, but that does not change the fact that 71 degrees setting should not be causing abnormal gas bills.

Gas Bill Anecdote (by elliot [RI]) Posted on: Dec 6, 2018 3:23 AM

"Is the combined IQ higher than the gas bill? "

I have to say that, most low income (not all of them) are definitely low IQ and they breed like rats.. Imagine the percent of low IQ people in this country in 5,10, 20 years.. The gov't need to stop the welfare or else the low IQ will run the country one day once they become majority.

Don[PA], 71 degrees is absolutely normal, so is $91 absolutely low/nothing if the heating system is running..

Gas Bill Anecdote (by Busy [WI]) Posted on: Dec 6, 2018 9:17 AM

Like Palio, I too was doing the voices...

Tenants make me appreciate that my parents had higher IQs than average.

Gas Bill Anecdote (by Busy [WI]) Posted on: Dec 6, 2018 9:31 AM

Other thing tenant probably isn’t thinking of- they are OLDER now. Two three years ago, I was still getting irritated when my husband was always wanting to crank up the heat. (He’s a couple years older than me.) Now we ‘fight’ over who gets the dog to sit on our laps while we watch tv. Might need more

Gas Bill Anecdote (by Deanna [TX]) Posted on: Dec 6, 2018 10:15 AM

@Don... the gas bill was normal for heating this time of year.

I don't know how he managed to heat a place all winter for under $40/month for the last 12 years, as he claimed--- if that's the case, sign me up!!! --but there was nothing unusual about his gas bill.

But he saw the gas bill, panicked, reported a nonexistent gas leak, and was sitting around with no shirt on a day I'm standing there wearing a sweater, an overcoat, and gloves while talking to him. (OK, so the gloves were actually in my pocket at the time, but they had been on for most of the day.) So the contrast was very... picturesque. :) I wasn't criticizing him for having a 71* thermostat-- but for not making the connection between the weather, how you dress for the weather, the cost of utilities, and how you can keep the cost of utilities-for-the-whole-house down somewhat by proper management of the air that's directly next to your body.

I can understand young kids having to figure it out, where their parents have always paid for stuff and it magically gets taken care of. But for people who have been around since the Truman administration to not have caught on by this point, and who were probably running their own households while I was in diapers--- it caught me off guard. :)

Gas Bill Anecdote (by Ray-N-Pa [PA]) Posted on: Dec 7, 2018 5:41 AM

Just part of living the American dream. Just remember that at 2 AM someone is watching an infomercial (probably the same one I saw 29 years ago)....and as they are watching it they are thinking - I want to be just like YOU.

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