Ah yes – it’s 28 degrees today and it feels like it’s 100 degrees below zero. You dread the bill from Pepco only a little more than those blistering temps and chapped lips. Most Northern Virginia homeowners are presented with the age old question: If I use a space heater, will I cut down on my utility bill this winter? And we’re here to finally debunk the mystery of staying warm at a good price.
For those of you who are just here for the quick version and “don’t need no science” behind it, you’ll save more money using your furnace to heat your whole home. On the flip side – according to the Department of Energy, space heaters “can be less expensive to use if you only want to heat one room or supplement inadequate heating in one room.” So when it comes to heating just a room (not a house), it makes sense to turn down the thermostat and use a space heater to just heat that one area.
Space heaters are not more cost-effective than central heating systems when they are used beyond one or two small areas in a home or business. The Energy Department estimates that when used to heat a whole home or business, gas furnaces cost 43% less than the cost of using electric space heaters to heat the same area. Holy Money Savings!
If you’re only going to be heating a small area of a home or business, and you decide to opt for the space heater route (which in that case, will save you a few green backs), then here’s a few tips for you provided by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce’s energy saving initiative:
Now we can’t say “Space Heater” and not mention the phrase “You must be extremely careful with them.” “The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that space heaters spark nearly 22,000 residential fires annually, leading to about 300 deaths and thousands of burns.”
Here’s a few safety tips (found on safeelectricity.org):