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How to Calculate Therm Usage for Natural Gas

John Woloch

Light a single kitchen match; that's about one British thermal unit (BTU) of heat energy. Light 100,000 kitchen matches; that's about one therm of heat energy. Manufacturers of natural gas appliances such as stoves, furnaces, water heaters and fireplaces rate their appliances by input BTU, which is the amount of fuel energy the appliance uses per hour when it is operating. If you have a natural gas appliance, you can calculate its therm usage too.

You can measure the energy released by burning natural gas in therms.
  1. Find the manufacturer rating plate attached to your natural gas appliance.

  2. Read the line on the rating plate that describes your appliance's BTU input. For example, the third line from the top of the rating plate on your gas stove reads "INPUT BTU 74,000 TYPE GAS NATURAL."

  3. Make an estimate of how many hours each month your natural gas appliance is operating. For example, you estimate you use your gas stove 10 minutes every day. Ten minutes of daily use for 30 days is 300 minutes (10 x 30 = 300) of use per month, or 5 hours (300/60 = 5) of use per month.

  4. Multiply the BTU input of your natural gas appliance by your monthly usage in hours, using a calculator. For example, 74,000 x 5 = 370,000.

  5. Divide your answer by 100,000. For example, 370,000/100,000 = 3.7. Your gas stove's therm usage in a month of 30 days is approximately 3.7 therms.