Saving money with portable heaters is something anyone can do. Larger and older homes or apartments, and those with already relatively inefficient or energy-wasting heating systems will see the biggest savings, but anyone can try.
Imagine shutting down an over-sized or too big furnace. A unit that’s no longer burning any fuel, and no longer heating an otherwise unused or under-used space, might seem to be a big money saver. The problem is, it’s not always totally possible.
Homeowners can keep the furnace thermostat set to a minimum temperature and, using portable heaters only in the occupied rooms, keep energy costs to a minimum. Almost any home with unused or little-used rooms could be better served with a space heater or some kind of radiant heating.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that for a space heater to really save you money it needs to have a good thermostat. Just like with a furnace, portable heaters save you more when they switch themselves off. And likewise, overheating rooms will simply transfer the cost from the furnace to the heater. You’re still going to pay for it.
How much anyone can save by running a space heater really depends on the room size relative to the rest of the house. And like with an entire house, then it comes down to insulation, curtains and weatherstripping. The difference is, now you’ve also got to consider the interior, probably uninsulated, walls and one or more interior doors. How often your portable heaters need to run to keep that space comfortable depends on all of these things.
Remember, on average, electricity is about twice as expensive as natural gas. So for the same price, you can only heat about half the same area. Cold drafts from underneath inside doors will quickly cut into the savings by making your space heater run that much longer.
Heating an entire house with only electricity is normally out of the question, but we do frequently work with customers who only plan on occupying a limited number of rooms. In some cases, we’ve even installed much more cost-effective natural gas heaters or similar appliances. These need to be professionally vented and installed and the cost doesn’t always agree with homeowners already looking to save, but the cost of running them can be surprisingly low.
Please remember, also, any space heater can present a fire hazard, along with other hazards not normally associated with a central heating system. Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and call us if you need any questions answered.
Filed under: Energy Efficiency