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Old 12-29-2010, 11:26 PM
 
42,391 posts, read 47,526,931 times
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Lightbulb Ceramic Space Heaters Keep Heating Costs Down????

My brother has been using ceramic space heaters for the past two winters. He says their gas bills are lower than the budget payment both years. The gas compay has had to PAY THEM BACK two years in a row. And his electric bill hasn't increased very much because they dont' use them all the time.

Here's what they do:

They keep the temperature in the house just below their ideal comfort level. When they're a little chilly, they turn on the space heater in that particular room for just a short while. The area heats up fast and then they turn it off.

He said he came up with the idea because he was sitting and watching TV one night and felt a little cold. He went to turn up the heat and he realized it was silly to turn up the heat for the entire house when he was cold momentarily in one room.

These little heaters are in a few rooms (living room, computer room, bedroom). They're not run when they aren't in the room. And they're only run for about 10 minutes to warm up a space, like the bedroom when getting dressed in the morning.

Has anyone else ever done this? We use a space heater in one bedroom that is always colder than the rest of the house, but it never occurred to me to turn down the heat slightly in the entire house and use this concept to reduce energy costs. The heater we use in the one bedroom only needs to run a small amount of time each day so I do believe he is saving money on heating his home.
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Old 12-30-2010, 12:18 AM
 
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The only guarantee saving money here is if you already have electric heat. Electric heat like a ceramic heater is going to be the most expensive per BTU in most places so it might be a wash compared to something like natural gas heating a much larger space.

Here's the calculations from a previous post of mine if you want to figure it out:


Quote:
Originally Posted by thecoalman View Post
Whether an electric space heater is worth it depends on the rates you are paying and the size of you house compared to the room you want to heat. If you have a smaller house, the gas rate is really low and electric rates are really high where you live it might not be worth it.

You can get a rough estimate, This isn't perfect but you can first figure out the total inside space of your house you're heating now, divide it by the square footage of the room you want to heat. As an example if your house is 1000 sq. ft. and the room you want to keep warmer is 300 sq. ft.:

1000/300 = 3.33

Now use this calculator to get the cost per million BTU's according to the rates you are paying for both electric and NG. In this case the default numbers come out to:

Electric: $35.17 per million BTU
Natural Gas: $14.75 per million BTU

Multiply the natural gas by the 3.3 to get $49.11.

In this case for every $35.17 you spent on electric to heat that one room you could heat your whole house for $49 with natural gas.
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Old 12-30-2010, 08:04 AM
 
42,391 posts, read 47,526,931 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thecoalman View Post
The only guarantee saving money here is if you already have electric heat. Electric heat like a ceramic heater is going to be the most expensive per BTU in most places so it might be a wash compared to something like natural gas heating a much larger space.

Here's the calculations from a previous post of mine if you want to figure it out:
That's not their experience. It's not a wash for them. They're saving lots of money. They have gas heat.

I think you're missing the factor that they only turn on the space heaters for very short periods of time.

They find that quickly heating a small space with electricity costs less than turning up the heat in the entire house with gas.
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Old 12-30-2010, 08:36 AM
 
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Your not comparing aples to aplles from just what you said they are doing. To heat the same spcae is cheaper with natural gas and certainly more so than ceramic heaters unless they have a bad gas system setup.
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Old 12-30-2010, 11:28 AM
 
42,391 posts, read 47,526,931 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by texdav View Post
Your not comparing aples to aplles from just what you said they are doing. To heat the same spcae is cheaper with natural gas and certainly more so than ceramic heaters unless they have a bad gas system setup.
I never said I was comparing apples to apples. I'm saying that they found that using ceramic heaters lowered their overall energy costs because ceramic heaters allowed them to keep the temperature slightly lower overall in their house and only spot heat certain rooms briefly on occassion.

If you think about it, they're right. For example, it's wasteful to heat an entire house at 70 degrees constantly when you can keep the house temperature at 66 degrees and only spot heat certain areas briefly when necessary.

We live in big houses. We're not using all of the rooms at once. There's really no reason to keep the heat up in the entire house. Their solution was to use the ceramic space heaters to quickly heat up rooms they were using. As a result, their gas bill went down and their electric bill didn't go up very much. There is an overall savings that is significant.

People might think they'll be uncomfortable waiting for a room to heat up. But those ceramic heaters are powerful. They can heat up a space in just a few minutes.
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Old 12-30-2010, 11:43 AM
 
22,186 posts, read 16,263,001 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopes View Post
That's not their experience. It's not a wash for them. They're saving lots of money. They have gas heat.

I think you're missing the factor that they only turn on the space heaters for very short periods of time.

They find that quickly heating a small space with electricity costs less than turning up the heat in the entire house with gas.
Again your results are going to vary depending on many factors. It may work for some and it may be pointless for others. Each situation is going to be different. For example I use coal for heat which is cheapest fuel you're going to find, I could probably heat a 2000 sq ft. home for the same cost of keeping a small room heated with ceramic heater. Since we have all our rooms on their own zones even if we were using NG it would still be pointless because I can already keep just one room warm.

The biggest factor is going to be the rates because the cost of electric is all over the place in different parts of the US. It goes from something like 6 cents kWh to highs of somewhere near 25 cents kWh. The rates for the NG are in the same boat.
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