From the Forum – Tub Refinishers and Washington Gas Bill

Photo by PoPville flickr user nevermindtheend

Recommendations for Tub Refinishers in DC metro area:

“My wife and I are looking for recommendations for a tub refinisher. We have a claw foot tub that the previous owners had used 2 part epoxy to coat the interior. We were looking to have the interior professionally refinished and wanted to work with a good company that was priced reasonably. Any help is much appreciated!”

What are Your Washington Gas Bills Like?

“I bought my first house in D.C. last spring. It’s a typical federal-style row home, semi-detached. The (radiator) heat, stove, and water heater all run on gas. My bills from Washington Gas, which were about $25 in the summer, have regularly approached $200 since December. Can anyone tell me if this is typical? What do you spend on utilities in a typical month?”

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28 Comment

  • Is that gas question serious? Of course your gas bills are going to be much higher in the winter – your furnance is running all the time. The numbers you’re seeing don’t seem out of line.

    • If anything, that’s on the cheaper side. I have a small rowhouse with radiator heat and my bills have been more like $300 the past few months. Remember, it’s been a very cold winter! Plus these old rowhomes can be drafty, and if it’s semi-detached it’s not as insulated by the neighboring houses.

    • Maybe the person just moved here from someplace that has mild winters and wanted to get an idea of what it should be costing them.

      • Or maybe they’ve never paid a utility bill before and have no idea how much bills cost.

        • No need for the snark.

          • It wasn’t snark. It’s a distinct possibility (OP did say s/he bought their first house) and if we’re idly speculating as to OP’s situation, as the previous commenter did, then I figured I’d throw my thought in as well.
            None of us were born knowing how much a typical gas bill costs, you know.

        • I didn’t read that as snark. The sticker shock hit me, too, when I bought my condo. My utilities had been included with my rent ever since I moved to DC, so I had no realistic concept of what they should be. That being said, my first winter in my condo, Pepco (electric only for me, but still same concept) messed up my metering and overcharged me for a couple months. They ultimately refunded me, but I learned through that process that you can ask the utility company to come out to check your meter to ensure that it’s functioning properly. I suggest that the OP call to do a check just in case. At least then you know your baseline.

          • Fair enough on the electricity-included-with-rent scenario — I just thought it was unlikely that the OP had never paid a utility bill before.

          • Yeah, I’ve had rentals with utilities included but they were definitely the exception and not the norm. Seems unlikely that someone would make it to homeownership without ever paying utilities.

  • that’s half what I’m paying for my detached craftsman. consider yourself lucky 🙂

  • Those bills seem realistic. When I first bought my row house, my top winter bills were $250. I have replaced the thermostat, the doors, insulated the basement a lot and got a new boiler. Now my top bills are $150.

  • epric002

    1921 wardman style rowhome, not an end unit. ancient boiler, but new windows. like the OP, our heat (minus the basement, which has electric baseboards), stove, and hot water are gas. just checked our bill history and february’s is the first bill that has been over $100 ($108). we keep our house b/n 65-70, and there are only 2 of us.

    • Wow that’s pretty low. Is your house otherwise pretty updated? Is the attic well-insulated?

      • epric002

        yeah, i didn’t realize how how low until i saw the other posts. most of our rooms have been renovated, but not sure how that helps energy costs- what specifically do you mean? we had the attic re-insulated right after we moved in, but just roll insulation, not the spray stuff.

        • My experience from house shopping is that most attics in older, unrenovated houses had minimal insulation and/or it was very worn out. Just wondering if modern building codes (which probably at least include heavier attic insulation) explain why your bills are so much lower.

  • I think that sounds about right. I have a single family 1550 sq ft (not including attic or basement) brick home with gas stove, heat (radiator), and water heater. Summer bill usually runs around $60-70/mo and winter $160-$200/mo. Previous bills were much higher ($300-400/mo in the winter), but recently we had renovations done with new insulation and the gas company came out to fix a leak. We switched our curtains to heavy drapes for the winter, took A/C units out of the windows and taped some of the drafty windows. We also purchased those things you put in front of the doors to keep out drafts.

  • Three bedroom townhouse. $235 in December.

  • For the bathtub question–when I worked at the Brass Knob Warehouse we used Porcelite in Beltsville, and they did great work.

  • I used bathroom magic and they did a great job. They resurfaced the bathtub and surrounding tile for $1000 using automotive paint. It was a messy job and the fumes were terrible. My neighbors even complained, but the end result was stunning. The bathtub and tiles were shiny and very hard. You can get kits at home depot to do this work – and a lot of contractors just use those – but the result is pretty bad, at least compared to what Bathroom Magic did.

  • Around 3500 sq ft including the basement. Old boiler, radiator heat. I’ve never gone over $250 bucks since I insulated the heck out of the house (wherever it was possible), typically around 150-175 in the winter and spikes during especially cold months.

    Electrical is far higher in the summer.

  • Renovated, well-insulated interior rowhouse here. Gas furnace, cooktop, dryer, and water heater. All new appliances. 1800 sf w/ a conditioned basement. Wife works from home, so we keep it at 70 deg F 24/7.
    Gas bills so far this winter have fluctuated from $98-140.

  • Yeah, unfortunately, that’s just the cost of gas in winter. Especially a polar vortex winter. Ours for last month (in a 2-story town home) was about $250. Just be happy you didn’t come home to a burst pipe on top of it like we did 😉

  • gotryit

    We refinished the inside part of a clawfoot tub in 2009 with PTR Tub & Tile Restoration. They did a great job – clearly much better than the DIY kits or the contractors that would use those and charge ~$100-$150 less. When we sold in 2013, it still looked like new.


    Great Stuff – Big Gap Filler

    It is spray foam insulation, order a few cans on your next amazon order, and go down in the basement. Find cracks, spray the stuff into the cracks/holes etc.

    You will spend $25 on 6 cans, and it will save you that many times over.

    Best is to be in the basement when it is windy. When you hear a breeze loudly in any particular spot, that is where it needs it. Also, insulate anywhere that isn’t insulated. Further, get blown in insulation in your attic. It will cost like $700, but again, will likely pay for itself in 2 years or so.

  • We used Porcelain Tub Restorations too – we have a old cast iron tub original to our 1928 row home. Its built-in, not a claw foot. Overall we were pleased with the work, but I noticed there were some drip marks on the inside of the tub where I guess the worker used too much glaze (or whatever substance they use). I called them back out the next day to fix it which they did promptly (for no additional charge of course). I think the total was around $400.

  • Gas bills for us are about $300/month in the winter. Interior rowhouse, radiators, high-efficiency boiler, 75 degrees, two-story completely non-insulated enclosed sleeping porch, and original non-restored non-weather-stripped windows and doors. Just image how low it would be if we fixed all the energy efficiency leaks!

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