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fartness
computersoc dot com
Premium
join:2003-03-25
Look Outside

3 edits

Space heater or furnace?

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I live alone in a ~1400 sq ft house. I am in Upstate NY so it gets cold in the winter. I have a 90% efficiency furnace but to me it is a waste heating the whole house when I will only be in one room at a time. I pay my gas and electric on same bill (the most recent bill is attached)... the therms they are billing me for on that bill are higher than my actual usage because they haven't come inside for an actual reading (that's just an estimate).

What will probably be cheaper in winter, running the furnace (using gas) or buying a space heater (using electric)?

What about therms versus kwh in general? What is cheaper if comparing something that could use both?

Are there any efficient space heaters or those fake fireplaces that run on electric?

Ideas so far if this is the route to go:
»www.amazon.com/Dimplex-CS3311-Co···01WJ5TE/
»www.amazon.com/Lasko-755320-Cera···0TTV2QS/
»www.amazon.com/Lasko-758000-Cycl···00QC77A8


Gbcue
Premium
join:2001-09-30
Santa Rosa, CA
kudos:8
Reviews:
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1 recommendation

said by fartness:

I live alone in a ~1400 sq ft house. I am in Upstate NY so it gets cold in the winter. I have a 90% efficiency furnace but to me it is a waste heating the whole house when I will only be in one room at a time. I pay my gas and electric on same bill (the most recent bill is attached)... the therms they are billing me for on that bill are higher than my actual usage because they haven't come inside for an actual reading (that's just an estimate).

What will probably be cheaper in winter, running the furnace (using gas) or buying a space heater (using electric)?

What about therms versus kwh in general? What is cheaper if comparing something that could use both?

Are there any efficient space heaters or those fake fireplaces that run on electric?

Ideas so far if this is the route to go:
»www.amazon.com/Dimplex-CS3311-Co···01WJ5TE/
»www.amazon.com/Lasko-755320-Cera···0TTV2QS/
»www.amazon.com/Lasko-758000-Cycl···00QC77A8
Putting on more clothes will be the cheapest.
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newview
Ex .. Ex .. Exactly
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join:2001-10-01
Parsonsburg, MD
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reply to fartness
quote:
To figure out the cost of operating a space heater you need to multiply the kilowatts used per hour times the cost per kilowatt hour for electricity. Multiply that by the length of time that the heater is actually on. You can get the kilowatt hours by dividing the wattage by 1,000. Your electric bill should show you how much you pay per kilowatt hour.

-snip-

The U.S. Dept. of Energy estimated that an average conventional gas system cost 43% as much as a space heater when heating a whole house. So on average the gas central system is more efficient.


»www.thefrugallife.com/space_heater.html
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gregz

join:2009-10-01

1 recommendation

reply to fartness
Spend the extra on a zone damper system, so that those areas you do not use can be made to only have heat/air when you want them to. As for thermostat settings, try 60 for low when in bed or out for the day, and when home, try around 64. If uncomfortable at 64, then bump a degree.

We keep ours at 60 at night, 64-66 (68 at the peak of Winter) for heat. For summer, around 75 at night, 76 away, and 73-74 when home (72 at peak of summer) for A/C.


jrs8084
Premium
join:2002-03-02
Statesville, NC
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Reviews:
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reply to fartness
Most all electric space heaters are very efficient-like in the 98% range.

But, that is at the point of use. There are inefficiencies in the distribution of power to your house, and those costs get transferred to you in your bill. So, you net efficiency drops down to more like 70%. Hence why electric heat is much maligned in terms of cost. (unless you live in an area with dirt cheap rates)


John K

@conquesthousing.com
reply to Gbcue
quote:
Putting on more clothes will be the cheapest.

Not a bad idea, actually.

Once you get your space heater vs. central heating question answered, you might also want to take a look at what you usually wear around the house during winter. Obviously, being in NY state, you have to have heating of -some- kind. It's just that investing in something like a surplus store Air Force parka might allow you to turn the space heater/thermostat down more than you might otherwise be able to do.

If you want to lounge around in a T-shirt in shorts, you can do that, but it's going to run you more money than if you throw on a jacket when you get up in the morning. Of course, wearing a jacket around the house can be awkward, so I guess you'll have to weigh the awkwardness vs. the money saved.

PS: I -love- the "bill issuance charge" line item on your bill. That's some pretty Mickey Mouse shit there, sir. : )

(If I were to take a guess, I'd guess the company charges you that sixty-two cents -regardless- of whether you choose paper or online billing, which, if true, makes it even more outrageous.) : /


rex0

join:2002-02-10
reply to fartness
The gas is probably going to be cheaper and you'll feel a lot better. If you want to save you can always turn the heat down and wear more clothes. When my furnace broke down 2 winters ago I ran some space heaters(the honeywell oil filled type) for a couple days until my hvac guy could get the replacement parts in. It was very uncomfortable and used so much electricity.

A regular space heater is 1400-1500 watts on high, running 12 hours a day at it looks like you pay about 8.5 cents a kwh that's about $50 a month or almost $100 for 24h heat; plus all your other electric use. That's assuming it can even keep up, in the really cold weather. In my little experience with the space heaters running 24h a day and everyone wearing sweaters inside it was still not warm enough. On top of that I have very good insulation. Technically it wasn't warm enough to meet the health code here.

scooper

join:2000-07-11
Youngsville, NC
kudos:2
reply to fartness
What you may want to do is use your furnace to keep the whole house at some reasonable temperature, then use the space heater where you are if you're not warm enough. At that - I'd keep the thermostat at 60-67 (depending on personal preferences).

In general - electricity is not favored as a heat source (possibly for heat pump, but upstate NY is probably not a good location for that in deep winter).


sbrook
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Ottawa
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reply to fartness
One of the problems with "heat rooms in use" is that as you move around the house, the things in the rooms you aren't using will feel cold and will take several hours to reach "room tempertature" so no matter how hot the air, you won't feel warm.

This is one of the failings of the night setback thermometers ... even though you might warm the house up in the morning to room temp, it will feel cold until you leave. Then you come home and it will feel cold for a couple hour until the things in the room warm up enough ... then you turn it down to go to bed and start all over again. More than about a 4 to 5 degree setback will start to be really uncomfortable. Some people don't mind - but it's not for everyone!


rex0

join:2002-02-10
reply to scooper
said by scooper:

What you may want to do is use your furnace to keep the whole house at some reasonable temperature, then use the space heater where you are if you're not warm enough. At that - I'd keep the thermostat at 60-67 (depending on personal preferences).
You'd probably have to keep the furnace on anyways to keep the house warm enough to keep your plumbing from freezing and your appliances/electronics within their operating temps. Assuming you want to keep the house between 67-72 room temperature range. The cost from going to 60 -> 67 can't be that great.

Another though is how is your insulation? A small investment here might let you lower the bills while staying comfortable.


cowboyro
Premium
join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT

1 edit

1 recommendation

reply to fartness
You paid $23.8 for 9.2 therm. $14.4 is the base charge, so your gas cost was $9.4 With 90% efficiency it's 828,000BTU net for $9.4, so 88,000BTU/$
Your electricity was $65.6 with a $20 base for 525kWh, so 11.5kWh/$. 1kWh will give you 3413BTU, so ~39,300BTU/$
The only thing giving you more than 100% efficiency (heat energy equivalent/electric energy) is a heat pump... so any resistive heater will give you below 100% efficiency (only losses are heat losses in the wires outside your living space).
Therefore it costs less than half to generate the same heat with gas. I am willing to bet that it will be a bit cheaper to heat the whole house and just close some vents in the rooms that are not being used.
In my tests closing the vents in 2 unused rooms at the top floor decreased my usage by ~25% for that floor (I monitor my heat pumps independently).

cwm1276

join:2004-01-16
Stillman Valley, IL
reply to scooper
I'll second this, keep the gas furnace at a low level and then only boost the area you will be in. (plus you can't let parts of the house freeze, ) Also the electric heat then only has to make up the difference between your base temp and your comfortable temp.

Then extra clothes, a blanket while sitting on the couch, or a space heater all could boost the temp where you are actually.

Then of course if expect guests you can just turn up the gas and warm the entire house, so they don't have to snuggle up with you .


The Pig
I know you want to be me
Premium
join:2009-09-11

1 edit
reply to fartness
While space heaters are cheaper to run if you have old wiring in your house it may prove dangerous. I had one that shorted out the main. Plus they do not heat up a room very fast.
If you go with a space heater get the ones that have a Oscillator (moves back and forth) and a fan to blow the heat towards you ( they do make noise) and whatever you do do not get the Radiator type heater the heat just goes straight up to the ceiling.

Here read some reviews from Amazon users.
This page has all types of space heaters!
»www.amazon.com/Space-Heaters-Hom···e=510182

Me myself I'll take gas over electric anyday!


sbrook
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Ottawa
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It's important to remember that every electric space heater is as efficient as any other electric space heater. They just get you warm in slightly different ways.

Fan assisted heaters do blow the heated air around, where radiators do rely on conduction ... it will fill the room in due course, but ... and "radiant" heaters (the visible glowing elements) will make your front feel hot, and your back will remain cold.


nunya
LXI 483
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reply to fartness
Normally NG is the cheaper heat source. All electric space heaters operate at the same "efficiency" regardless of type (contrary to what they might try and lead you to believe). Resistance heat is resistance heat.

I do not like space heaters because of their propensity to cause fires.
If you do decide to buy a space heater and it trips the breaker or blows fuses, discontinue it's use. I can't tell you how many times I've seen people just keep resetting the breaker or pop in a larger fuse and burn the wiring up.
I'd suggest a very small heater if you go this route (750 watts or less). Also, make sure it has a "tip over" safety switch.
A 15A circuit can handle 1440 watts total continuous load. A 20A circuit can handle 1920 watts total continuous load.
Unless the receptacle you use has a dedicated circuit, you can count on the heater as only being part of the load on the circuit.
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Nancy Pelosi - House Minority Leader 2010
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c1590

join:2010-02-28

1 recommendation

Space heaters don't last very long. I've been using space heaters for the last three years as my primary heat source since i've only lived in rooms/small apartments. I buy the $30-$40 coil-fan kind and they have all died at the end of winter.

You know, you could always get a bunch of old computers and get them running some distributed program like seti or folding.


Snakeoil
Ignore Button. The coward's feature.
Premium
join:2000-08-05
Mentor, OH
kudos:1

1 edit
reply to fartness
Drop the thermostat to about 50/60 degrees. Use a space heater in the rooms you use the most.
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linicx
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United State
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reply to fartness
I had a space heater I bought in '89 and was still running in 2007 when i sold my house, but the fan was squeaky.

I'm looking at this now for aesthetics as much as heat simply because I only need heat where I am... not in the whole house. Now, unless heat pumps have improved remarkably in the last few years they don't work well - at least in the Midwest above 80F or below 20F.
.
»www.heatsurge.com.
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jchambers28

join:2007-05-12
Alma, AR
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reply to fartness
I would run both. get one of these. They are safe I use 2 of these in my house.


dandelion
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Germantown, TN
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said by jchambers28:

I would run both. get one of these. They are safe I use 2 of these in my house.
I use one also in a room that seems cooler then the rest, they seem to last forever and provide a good heating alternative.


jchambers28

join:2007-05-12
Alma, AR
Reviews:
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1 edit

1 recommendation

said by dandelion:

said by jchambers28:

I would run both. get one of these. They are safe I use 2 of these in my house.
I use one also in a room that seems cooler then the rest, they seem to last forever and provide a good heating alternative.
I live in a apartment the heating system sucks ass. I use 2 of those to heat my whole apartment . The so called heating system is a air handler with 15 KW heat strips that costs $200 a month to run it barley keeps my apartment warm. Using 2 of those cost me about $130 a month at most.

Feramors

join:2010-05-07
Saint Louis, MO
reply to fartness
Find a hunny to snuggle with.


Camelot One
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join:2001-11-21
Greenwood, IN
kudos:2

1 recommendation

said by Feramors:

Find a hunny to snuggle with.
That will NOT save you money!


jchambers28

join:2007-05-12
Alma, AR

1 edit
reply to fartness
get yourself a fat women. LOL

bkjohnson
Premium
join:2002-05-22
Birmingham, AL
Reviews:
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reply to fartness
I prefer the oil filled space heaters mentioned by jchambers28 when I use a space heater. I used to use one to heat the room I was in, keeping the rest of the house colder. However, for the past 2 winters I've been using electric throws ( I have some from sunbeam & another manufacturer). I really like them and they have significantly cut my heating costs. I also use a Serta electric blanket that I like a lot.


carp
Rejected

join:2002-10-30
reply to fartness
Set thermostat to 55-60 and space heat. I do that and pay 48 a month for gas and 64 electric.

Most of my time is in the sun room with a 10,000 BTU NG heater on the wall. All rooms also have electric baseboards along with the 90% efficient furnace.

patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1
reply to sbrook
said by sbrook:

One of the problems with "heat rooms in use" is that as you move around the house, the things in the rooms you aren't using will feel cold and will take several hours to reach "room tempertature" so no matter how hot the air, you won't feel warm.
Thats why you want infrared heaters, but some people find them uncomfortable since the shadows are still painfully cold.

patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1
reply to c1590
said by c1590:

You know, you could always get a bunch of old computers and get them running some distributed program like seti or folding.
+1

the more the merrier


sbrook
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Ottawa
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reply to patcat88
Infrared heaters ... same thing. Hot front, cold back.

Go to England ... that's how so many people heat there homes there. Climb into a freezing bed even though the room feels warm. By the time you wake up, the bed is just about warm, providing you don't roll over!


AnonEMouse

@rr.com
reply to fartness
Oil filled heaters are crap IMO, I had one ruin my carpet when it developed a leak at the seam and spilled it's contents.

Radiation heaters heat up the area in front of them, but don't really heat up the air that much. I like ceramic heaters with a fan to circulate the air.

I've used this one the last three winters:
»www.amazon.com/DeLonghi-DCH1030-···00G1CXYY

I do not leave the heater unattended and always make sure the circuits I'm plugging it into are free of any large loads, I've never had a circuit breaker trip, even running it on the highest setting for hours. I keep the furnace set on 52. Easily would get the room I'm in up to 70. I don't think I've had a electric bill top $60 in the winter.