In a number of recent posts, I've discussed how I've successfully use electric heaters to reduce the monthly heating bill my wife and I pay on our three-story home. But, while many readers have used my recommendations to lower their heating bills, I'm not without my detractors. For example, Mark from Levittown, New York, recently wrote in and asked me to back up this assertion with some math.
Not being a mathematician by trade, I'll do my best to break it down into layman's terms. Most portable electric heaters – whether they are convection, radiative or another major type – produce heat relative to the amount of electricity they use.
Now, most smaller heaters – those that usually retail for around $50 dollars – generate up to 1500 watts of heat or 1.5 per kilowatt hour. A heater at this setting will cost about 10 cents run per kilowatt hour. (These figures are courtesy of the Nebraska Public Power District. Using the example of an electric bill of around $70, the energy provider indicates the cost per hour of operation for this unit would be around 10 cents.)
Still, you can take further steps to reduce your bill, according to experts.
"The best thing to keep your bills down is to keep heat in and drafts out by insulating – low cost solutions such as lined curtains, draft excluders, thermal blinds will help," Ross Lammas, of U.K. consumer electronics provider sust-it, said in a press release. "You must also make sure the heater has a thermostat, and set it to the correct setting to avoiding overheating rooms."
When compared to the costs of raising the heat in a home by a few degrees over a longer period of time, this is where the real savings comes from, as using electricity can be less costly than relying on extra oil, natural gas and other alternatives.