If you live in a large house, winter can get a little chilly. Windows can be drafty and furnaces so-so. But rather than crank up the thermostat and cringe when the bill comes, you can save money by using a space heater.
Energy.gov says that space heaters can be an effective way to save on heating costs. They’re especially useful in older homes where the furnace is inefficient and replacing it would be costly. It’s suggested that you buy a space heater that’s the right size for the room so you don’t waste money on overheating. There are guidelines on each model explaining the room size it’s intended for. It’s also best to buy a space heater with a thermostat so you can turn down the temperature and save money.
Space heaters can work by convection, or circulating air, or by radiation. You can save money with a radiant space heater. Radiation warms people and things within line of sight, so you’ll save energy by not heating the whole room. However, with space heaters you always have to balance savings with safety, and radiant space heaters are not as safe as convection space heaters. They’re mainly useful for when you’re in the room for a short time.
The government recommends that you buy an electric space heater, another example of balancing savings with safety. Electric space heaters are not quite as energy-efficient as oil or wood-burning heaters, but they’re the only unvented space heaters that are safe to operate indoors. They can still be helpful money-savers, especially if you buy one with a fan.
Consumerreports.org also says that space heaters save on energy costs and that how much depends on a few factors. One is the size of the space you’re heating. If you use the space heater in one room and lower the temperature in all the other rooms, you’ll save money if the heat required is less than half the total to heat the rest of the house.
Another factor is whether or not you have a gas furnace or an electric furnace. Electric heat is about twice as expensive as gas heat. So if you have electric heat, the room you heat should require less than a fourth the amount of heat as the rest of the house. Either way, it makes sense that the room you pick to heat should be small relative to the rest of the house.
To make your space heater work even more efficiently, close the door of the room you’re heating. Close the curtains and blinds to shut out drafts. Make sure the space heater is in a central location. Soon you’ll have the warm, cozy feeling of saving money.