Choosing a Space Heater
Calculating Space Heater Electric Usage
Air Pockets Reduce Heating Bills
I was wondering if anyone can give some advice on which space heater is the best choice to reduce heating bills. What do you watch for? Are they expensive on electricity to run? Is it worth purchasing one? We have a bungalow home with a sunken living room and that room seems to always be cold.
I live in a huge 5-bedroom home, and for some reason, the kitchen is always the coldest room in the house. I even invested in a brand new energy efficient furnace and ran new ductwork. It was still chilly in the kitchen, so I bought one of those oil-filled portable electric space heaters. I think they are great! They are very efficient and not all that expensive to run. I can turn it on and off as needed. It was a great investment for about $50. I would highly recommend it!
We have two Hydro Sil space heaters. They look like a baseboard heater, never get too hot to touch, and have a thermostat to keep the room at a comfortable temperature. They come in 2' to 6' units. They're very economical to run. We saw an ad in our local paper and bought them about six years ago, and they are still going strong. Also, we had one go out on us, and when we called the rep, he sent a replacement with no questions asked. He also gave us a return tag, so it didn't cost us a dime to send the broken one back. The website to look at them is www.hydrosil.com.
The answer is a bit more complicated than most would believe. You need to take a look at where you will use the heater and how you will use it.
Space heaters work best in smaller places, so look at ways to make your comfort zone contain the heat. Close the door, set up your bedroom or kitchen as your winter sitting area, so you can get multiple uses from one heated area. (The kitchen will have the advantage of warming up when you cook or run the appliances and you will get more done by being there.) I use an electric blanket and several blankets/quilts on the bed to avoid heating my bedroom when I only sleep in there. A hot water bottle or a warm pet makes a good bedwarmer, too. A comfortable chair moved to the kitchen lets me "live" in that room comfortably.
A simple cardboard reflector lined with aluminum foil can reflect heat back onto your chair and prevent cold drafts. You can pick up huge pieces of cardboard at newspaper offices, appliance stores, etc. I placed a screen made of plexiglass set into a wooden frame to block drafts from a leaky window. Even thin gauzy curtains can help prevent drafts from a window, but the thicker the better.
The oil-filled heaters produce a more even warmth in the area. I was told that the one I bought uses the same electricity as two 100W light bulbs when on medium. The ceramic ones produce a draft of warm/hot air and can make you feel colder. And avoid the old ones with the wires that get hot. They are very wasteful of electricity and can easily start a fire.
I would recommend you buy any other heater than the oil-filled electric heater. We had one and it was not satisfactory. It does not heat a large enough area. Any of the ceramic space heaters would do a much better job.
We are seniors living in Ontario, Canada. We supplemented our heating by buying two Reiker Room Conditioners. They are ceiling ceramic fan heaters that cost us a hefty $600 each because we bought them directly from Reikers in Florida. They are now much cheaper and can be bought from some home hardware stores. They are controlled by remote. The fans distribute the heat from four ceramic heaters that are in the unit, sending the warm air down the walls, which keeps the windows and walls warm. As the desired temperature is reached, the ceramic heaters cut out, leaving one on to keep a constant temperature. An added bonus is that it is a regular cooling fan in summer and it has a fluorescent light. For us, it is great and made very little difference on our hydro bill. Check it out on ReikerRoomConditioner.com.
I have no experience with these heaters, but the advertising sounds like an economical solution to your heating needs. Check out the EdenPURE Quartz Infrared Heater. This is sold by Biotech Research in Canton, Ohio. The website is BiotechResearch.com. I have ordered one to help with a cold room in my house.
June in Maine
The least expensive to run and the least messy to help heat your home is a vent-free natural gas (or Propane) heater. We have been researching exactly this topic for the past month or more. When one includes the cost of the unit, installation, BTU output and the fuel, being electricity, gel or wood, the vent-free gas stove has them all beat with no mess. It doesn't smell like wood-burning of course, but it does put moisture into the air. In the cold north and mid-west, our homes become very dry without running a humidifier or air drying clothing all over the house. We actually have found one that fits into all decorating designs beautifully and costs less than $300 for the initial purchase.
Kathy H. in Northeastern IL.
We used a space heater last year and it turned out that the month we used it we had the highest electric bill ever. The trick to using a space heater is to only use the heater to warm the room you are in (like while watching TV or to take the chill out of the air when you go to bed and then later turn it off). We had used the heater while our electric furnace was also on. You can try using the space heater for one month and then compare your electric bill to the one in the month you only used your furnace. We live in Florida and usually turn our heat off at night including the space heater. Unless we have unusually cold weather, this works for us.
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