Piles of Fleece and Blankets of Snow: Can a Space Heater Save You Money?
One of my favorite things about winter is sitting under a huge pile of blankets and quilts with a good book and a cup of homemade hot chocolate. In the cozy glow of candles and lamps turned on low I can imagine the snow as a thick down comforter covering the house and the yard outside. At least, I would imagine it that way if we had any snow right now!
As the winter chill finally creeps in, it's time to go about the tasks of winterizing our homes: caulking around windows, weather-stripping doors, moving furniture away from heat registers, changing furnace filters and plastic-ing older window (while making plans to replace them with energy efficient ones!) - all those good things.
In our home, we use a programmable thermostat to set the temperature to cooler while we're away during the day and at night when we're buried under layers of down, fleece, and hand-stitched quilts from Grandma. This is a great way to save a little money on our heating bill (about 3-4% for every degree to turn your thermostat down - for the amount of time you have it set to that temperature)!
I only wish I could program myself as well as I can program my thermostat. We set ours to switch to the "night" setting at 10:30 p.m. 10:30 seems like a pretty reasonable time that a person should be in bed, right? Unfortunately, and to my husband's consternation, I'm a bit of a night owl and the 10:00 mark seems to be the time when my creative juices start flowing. So when the rest of the house is slumbering under their layers, I'm ready to start rearranging furniture, begin a new scrapbook page, or work on a new blog post or craft project.
In terms of energy conservation, it doesn't pay for us to heat the whole house when it's just me puttering around in one room. These are times that I pull out our trusty space heater so I only have to warm up the space I'm using.
This is a good strategy when you only want to heat a small space. Since electric space heaters are not as efficient as central heating systems, it might be more efficient for you to just keep your central thermostat turned up if you want to heat multiple rooms.
Want to know for sure whether your furnace or a space heater would be cheaper to run? An advocacy group called Alliance to Save Energy provided the following formula to help anyone calculate how much money it would cost to run a typical 1,500-watt space heater:
1.Multiply 1500 watts by X hours of use = A
2.Multiply A by your electricity rate per kilowatt hour = B
3.Divide B by 1000
Compare your findings with what you've been charged to use your furnace on your utility bill and you can determine which type of heating will save you more.
Now if only I could find a formula for the perfect living room furniture arrangement...
To simple, green living,
Changing the world, one home and office at a time.
"You must be the change you hope to see in the world." -Gandhi
Carrie Brusven is an Independent Green Irene Eco-Consultant based out of Moorhead, MN and her website can be found at www.greenirene.com/carriefargo. Carrie offers Green Home Makeovers and "Go Green" Workshops/Parties to help you on your own path to greener living. Contact Carrie to schedule a makeover for your home or office: firstname.lastname@example.org.