This is a guest post from Jeff at Sustainablog.org who has many great ideas on products that will move you more to Self Sufficiency by being more energy conscious.
After the recent record cold spells experienced by much of the United States, you may be dreading the arrival of the electric, gas or heating oil bill. Now’s the time to start planning to handle the next cold snap more efficiently and cost-effectively… and energy efficient space heaters might work well as a part of the plan.
Now, you may be thinking “Aren’t space heaters energy-hogs?” In most cases, yes… and setting up multiple space heaters around the house to run constantly won’t help with the utility bills… it’ll probably raise them even more. But if you approach your home heating more strategically, and choose the proper space heater for your situation, you can cut those energy bills while staying warm.
Use energy efficient space heaters to heat spaces… not the whole house
Your furnace is designed to heat your whole house. While newer models are very efficient, they’re still heating spaces that you may not be using. By turning the furnace down, and using a space heater in a room or rooms that you’re using frequently, you can save energy. Keep these tips in mind to get the most out of this approach.
- Only use electric space heater inside. Fuel-burning heaters are designed for outdoor use or permanent placement (with proper venting). Carbon monoxide poisoning isn’t an appropriate trade-off for energy savings!
- Use a newer-model heater to get the highest energy efficiency. If you need to buy a new one, make sure that it’s thermostatically controlled (so you don’t overheat the room), and that it’s certified by Underwriter’s Laboratory as having all of the current safety features.
- Consider purchasing a radiant heater rather than a convection heater. Traditional convection heaters rely on moving air to heat a room; radiant heaters emit infrared radiation that directly heats up objects and people that are within their line of sight. They heat up quickly, and are more efficient that convection heaters.
- If you buy a convection unit, consider one with heat transfer liquid. The liquid (often oil) stores heat, so the heater doesn’t have to cycle as often. You may also want to consider a ceramic heater, which is also more energy efficient.
- Turn the space heater off when you’re not in the room. This is smart not only for saving money, but also for safety.
Finally, always keep in mind that improperly used or monitored space heaters are a major fire hazard. According to the U.S. Department Consumer Product Safety Commission, space heaters, along with fireplaces and chimneys, cause nearly 25,000 fires and 140 deaths every winter.
Stay safe, stay warm, and keep the utility bills down. Please share any tips you have with us on making the most of space heaters as a part of your strategy to save energy and money.
Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of sustainablog, which now offers green shopping in addition some of the best eco-themed content on the web. You can follow him on Twitter @sustainablog.