The debate is ongoing when it comes to the question of whether homeowners will save more cash by using portable electric heaters as opposed to a central heating system. For better or worse, a variety of circumstances factor into whether using electric “space” heaters is more cost effective than running an HVAC system.
With energy and fuel costs on a steady incline, homeowners are constantly seeking ways to keep their utility bills manageable without sacrificing comfort. Therefore, many have turned to electric space heaters to supplement their existing systems or to use as a primary home heating method.
Some of the Pros and Cons
In weighing the cost effectiveness of using space heaters, and comparing their use to a continuously-running central heating system, several of the aforementioned factors include:
- The size of the rooms or living spaces to keep warm.
- The amount of time during the day that the electric heater will be operating.
- The cost of electricity versus the cost of other fuels in a particular area.
In the U.S., fuel and electricity rates vary according to region. An electric heater is “technically” 100 percent efficient, in that it directly converts all electricity it uses into heat. This does not mean there is no waste involved in using these apparatuses or that solely relying on them to heat a home won’t use up a significant amount of electricity.
Therefore, as many have found, portable electric heaters must be used judiciously. They are often most effective when used in conjunction with home heating systems. For instance, homeowners who desire to use space heaters to cut costs should consider turning their thermostats down during the day and locating these devices only in spaces that are occupied, moving them from room to room if necessary. For safety and energy-saving purposes, set the thermostat at a comfortable level at night, and turn space heaters off.
Homeowners should examine and compare their monthly energy bills to determine the efficiency of a heating strategy such as this, and adjust accordingly. Through trial and error, homeowners should eventually discover what works best for their particular situation.
Written and published by Thompson Electric, Plumbing, Heating & Cooling.