Space heater works to save on power bills

This winter I decided to heat the room I’m occupying with a space heater, rather than use the central HVAC system (a heat pump) to warm the entire house. At night, I’m turning the heat off altogether.

The electric bill just arrived: $90.99. Last January it was $128.14. That’s a $37.15 savings. More, in reality: the power company raised its bills by 6 percent this year.

It’s up from last month’s bill of $63.52, probably because this January was cooler than December and I did turn the central heating on a few times to take the chill off the morning. This winter has been warmer than usual—only a couple of nights in the low 30s, though the neighbors’ roofs are white with frost every at every sunrise. January was rainy and gray. In December, the sun shone most every day, warming the house through the south-facing windows by 10:00 a.m. Still, if you believe the graph included in the power company’s bill, I used a little more than half the kWh I expended last January…and last winter was pretty cold.

So, now we have two months’ worth of data suggesting that the use of space heaters, sweaters, and warm blankets works to beat ever-expanding power bills.

Was I cold? A few times. But never unbearably so. When I felt cold I put on some more clothes. You are, after all, supposed to be cold in the winter.

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lulugal11 January 10, 2009 at 7:21 am

I have been using space heaters as well (2 bedroom apartment) and my bill was generally about $40. I decided to run the central heat a few times one month and the bill went to $82 so it is back to using space heaters for me.

The only thing was that I needed to move the fishbowl into the bedroom so he would not freeze at night in the living room. But the space heater really does save you money.

SimplyForties January 10, 2009 at 6:28 pm

I’m so jealous of your success with lowering your bills. Happy for you but jealous! I lowered my thermostat way down (compared to last year) and mostly stay upstairs where I can take advantage of heat rising and still have been outpaced at every turn by rising fuel costs. Like my gas bill, my electric bill is about the same as last year’s – haven’t dissected that yet but I suspect the culprit will again be rate increases. Congratulations and keep warm!!

copyeditorsdesk January 11, 2009 at 7:06 am

It seems as though if you can keep the power bill from going up, you’re sort of ahead of the game. My gas bill is $2 more than it was last January, which I assume represents the price increase, since I haven’t made any changes in gas usage. However, because I figured out that I could wash in the backyard hose during the hot weather, my August 2008 gas bill was $19.32 less than this month’s bill.

Backyard showering requires a high fence around the yard, warm weather, and few helicopters hovering overhead. We have an oversupply of helicopters, but I finally decided that if they wanted to ogle an elderly woman’s flab, that was their problem. LOL!

You actually can install a shower thing in the backyard — I saw one at Costco last summer. You attach it to the hose, and it has a little wooden base for you to stand on. In theory, you could run a PVC pipe around the top, I suppose, and hang a shower curtain.

Nancy December 2, 2009 at 4:40 pm

This is a great way to save. However, be extremely careful when using the space heaters. They have been known to be fire hazards. Thanks for the good tip!

Rebecca Wood December 3, 2009 at 6:42 am

My experience with space heaters was they cycled on and off, causing power surges and ran my electric bill about double what it should have been. I have a wall air conditioner with a “heat” feature on it which warms my apartment in about 20 minutes, meanwhile I keep my thermostat low to off. The apartment is upstairs so it’s warmer. The holiday oven helps too.

funny December 3, 2009 at 7:29 am

Check the wattage on space heaters before purchasing. Higher wattage means higher power bills. Some are more efficient than others.

kristina December 3, 2009 at 7:30 pm

This was interesting to read. Last month I bought a space heater and we’ve been using it in our living room in the evenings with all the other doors closed. I’ve notice the central heat doesn’t kick on hardly at all, after seeing that other people have noticed a change in there heating bills I will be anxiously waiting to see if we have saved any money. We live in a manufactured home and our heating bills seem very high for the size of our house, so I really hope this helps.

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