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10 Cities Where It's Most Expensive to Heat Your Home, New Data Shows

The country's northernmost cities didn't even make it into the top 10.

When it comes to heating costs, you probably assume that residents of the coldest, most blusterous cities have the highest bills. However, according to a new study from the team at HVAC Gnome, the most expensive U.S. cities to heat a home in winter aren't exactly what you'd expect. The research compared the 500 largest U.S. cities across three categories: energy costs, cost inflators, and lack of energy efficiency. Keep reading to find out which 10 cities topped the list.

RELATED: The 10 Riskiest U.S. Cities for Natural Disasters, New Research Shows.


downtown Detroit Michigan
f11photo / Shutterstock

Overall score: 65.72

Energy costs: 57

Cost inflators: 26

Lack of energy efficiency: 177

To arrive at their findings, HVAC Gnome determined the most relevant factors in each of the three categories and assigned each one a weight. They then calculated scores (out of 100 points) for each city to determine its rank in each factor, each category, and overall. The lower the number in each category, the more expensive it is.

Coming in at number 10 is Detroit, the first of two cities in Michigan that make the top 10. The city was the 26th highest in the cost inflators category, which is comprised of the following metrics: average home square footage, share of homes built up to 1999, historical average number of extremely cold days in winter, historical average number of heating degree days, and cold wave risk score.

Dayton, Ohio

Dayton, Ohio downtown skyline, view taken during Autumn.

Overall score: 66.20

Energy costs: 6

Cost inflators: 150

Lack of energy efficiency: 159

Dayton is much lower than Detroit in the cost inflators category, yet this city is ranked sixth for energy costs. That category is broken down into average residential electricity price (as a percent of average monthly household income) and average residential natural gas price (as a percent of average monthly household income, adjusted by cost of living).

Columbia, Missouri

columbia missouri

Overall score: 66.24

Energy costs: 82

Cost inflators: 92

Lack of energy efficiency: 22

Missouri is quite expensive for heating a home; five cities in the top 10 are in this state, including Columbia, which comes in 22nd for energy efficiency. This category is based on the following factors: residential code efficiency score, number of LEED-certified homes, and number of Energy star-certified homes.

RELATED: 6 Mistakes You're Making That Are Increasing Your Water Bill, Experts Say.

Kansas City, Kansas

Kansas City Kansas

Overall score: 66.43

Energy costs: 46

Cost inflators: 128

Lack of energy efficiency: 10

Kansas City, Kansas (not to be confused with Kansas City, Missouri), is the seventh most expensive city to heat a home in the winter. It's also the first of two cities in the state to make the top 10. While its cost inflator score falls on the lower side, the lack of energy efficiency ranking is one of the highest.

Topeka, Kansas

topeka kansas

Overall score: 67.21

Energy costs: 68

Cost inflators: 91

Lack of energy efficiency: 13

HVAC Gnome points out that the "Kansas City metro area is particularly not budget-friendly to cold-natured folks," which is why Topeka lands on the list.

St. Joseph, Missouri

St. Joseph Missouri
APN Photography/Shutterstock

Overall score: 67.41

Energy costs: 54

Cost inflators: 96

Lack of energy efficiency: 1

While St. Joseph, Missouri is fifth in the overall ranking, this city is the least energy efficient. The study also revealed that St. Joseph has zero LEED-certified (a sustainability measure) homes.

RELATED: 9 Essential Tips to Winter-Proof Your Home.

Flint, Michigan

Flint Michigan
Linda Parton/Shutterstock

Overall score: 70.77

Energy costs: 4

Cost inflators: 78

Lack of energy efficiency: 92

With the third-highest electricity prices and the largest share of homes built before 1999, Flint, Michigan comes in at number four.

Independence, Missouri

Independence Missouri
Jon Kraft/Shutterstock

Overall score: 71.08

Energy costs: 22

Cost inflators: 76

Lack of energy efficiency: 1

Independence, Missouri is the second city in the top 10 to be ranked as least energy efficient. Like St. Joseph, they also scored a one in this category. They have 0 energy star-certified homes, plus their cold wave risk score is 96.31, which contributes to their overall costs.

Cleveland, Ohio

Skyline view of downtown Cleveland Ohio USA looking over the Marina by Lake Erie

Overall score: 72,27

Energy costs: 2

Cost inflators: 66

Lack of energy efficiency: 166

Not only is Cleveland ranked 21st for high electricity prices but it also has the third highest natural gas prices.

Springfield, Missouri

Springfield Missouri
Kenyon Gerbrandt/Shutterstock

Overall score: 72.94

Energy costs: 7

Cost inflators: 113

Lack of energy efficiency: 20

Springfield, Missouri tops the list as the most expensive U.S. city to heat a home in the winter. According to HVAC Gnome, Springfield pays among the 100 largest monthly energy bills. They're tied for having the lowest residential code efficiency score, and they have the second most expensive natural gas prices.

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Courtney Shapiro
Courtney Shapiro is an Associate Editor at Best Life. Before joining the Best Life team, she had editorial internships with BizBash and Anton Media Group. Read more
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