The “Treat” today with Space Heaters is the fact that they are inexpensive to buy and much safer. However the more decorative looking units, such as the ones resembling a fireplace or wood burning stove, will cost more money to buy.
The “Trick” remains the same:
How to save money on your home’s heating costs by using a Space Heater?
Most Space Heaters use electricity, functioning like a giant toaster, to create heat. That of itself is inherently costly to operate. Especially if you don’t have solar electric panels and pay a high Kilowatt hour rate from your electric utility. So despite the marketing claim that Space Heaters save on heating bills, they can actually cost you more money if the owner does not acknowledge and adhere to the following facts:
1.) A Space Heater cannot heat your entire house.
2.) Using a Space Heater in a room that is always cold because your house heating system fails to provide sufficient heat to that room, will not save you money. This will cost you more via your electric bill. Suffice to say, you will save more money in the long run, by having the heating and delivery system for that room evaluated and repaired. If you need a Space Heater to supplement the heat levels in your house because you have no other choice, then obviously you will have the additional cost on your electric bill.
3.) Operating a Space Heater with a timer every day, will cost you more. Just being plugged in with the timer running will use electricity and if your schedule changes for arriving home on several days or evenings, you will be paying to heat an empty room with electricity, the most costly way to heat.
4.) Going to bed or leaving the room where you are using the Space Heater without a timer and forgetting to shut off the unit, will cost you much more money. For example: If you heated only your bedroom for the night, then in the morning went into the cold kitchen to make coffee, you perhaps decided to get coffee and breakfast on the way to work because the kitchen was freezing! Thus, in your haste, you left the Space Heater on in your bedroom… All day.
5. & 6.) Trying to delay turning on your oil or gas heating unit in the cool days of autumn, with a Space Heater, will most likely cost you more money AND Trying to lower you oil or gas heating bills by supplementing the heat level in your house with a Space Heater will most likely cancel each other out. Here is why:
Most home heating units maintain a minimum temperature that you are already paying for. I trust your service company lowers the minimum temperature for the summer months (about 120 degrees Fahrenheit) and increases that temperature only for the winter months. If they don’t, ask them to do so! Subsequently operating an electric Space Heater can prevent the need to turn on the heating unit or keep the thermostat at a lower temperature, but now you have the higher electric bill to pay. Turning on your home heating unit for a brief time, in all likelihood will not cost you any more than the electric Space Heater that just heats one room. What do you prefer, briefly warming the whole house or just one room? The key is using the home heating unit for a “brief” amount of time on "one or two" cold fall nights. On the issue of supplementing your heat level and lowering the thermostat a few degrees by turning on an electrical Space Heater, that will have the savings wiped out by the electric bill for the Space Heater.
7.) I do not recommend buying a Kerosene Space Heater in place of an electric unit. Kerosene has been linked to causing cancer and refilling can cause spillage. That alone leads to numerous issues from a stained house rug, odors, and outside spills getting into our drinking water supply.
“Warm Room Concept” in the following and only effective way:
Dinner is over, you and the family are settling down to watch a movie together in the family room. You lower all the thermostats in the house to 62 degrees Fahrenheit and turn on your family room holographic fireplace with the heat setting at medium. After the movie is over, everyone helps clean up the snacks and you shut off the holographic fireplace with heat. Everyone gets in bed and under the covers. About 45 minutes prior to waking up the next morning, your multi-set back clock thermostats, kick-in as scheduled and raise the heat to 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
So by using the “Warm Room Concept” for the evening and all night, along with a Space Heater that has several temperature settings (never use the highest setting which can be thousands of electrical watts) and multi-set back clock thermostats, that is how an electric Space Heater can save you money.
Bill Lauto, GTG
International Sustainability and Energy Consultant
Contribute your comments!