As the cold months approach, we want to be warm and will go to any extreme to get warm, sometimes overlooking simple solutions to our simple problem: sweaters and sweatshirts made from wool, blends, or fleece; slippers; hats; and blankets. Sure, we might feel a little silly layering our outfits or bringing a blanket to school or work; but realistically, this is the most cost-effective and energy efficient solution to solving our cold problem.
While space heaters can sometimes be a practical heating solution, many people who use them end up inflating their heating bills. The reason space heaters are often more expensive to use is because they are often used for “comfort heat” on top of central heating systems and to solve heating inadequacies that can be resolved in more cost-effective ways.
If donning a nice cable-knit sweater does not do it for you, maybe you should look at some environmental issues that might be adding to your chill. There are serious ways to lower your heating bills.
- Add insulation to attics, basements, crawl spaces, ceilings, and floors to help keep warm air in and cold air out.
- Caulk around the points where electrical and plumbing lines pass through your house.
- Lower your thermostat 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours to cut your heating bill by five to 15 percent a year.
- Check out Energy Star for loads of useful tips.
If you are considering using an electric space heater to save money, you will have to lower the heat in other rooms. As the Department of Energy points out, small space heaters can be less expensive to use, in some cases, if you are only heating one room or supplementing heat in one room. Using space heaters to heat more than one room is rarely as efficient as a central heating system, says the Alliance to Save Energy, an advocacy group.
If you do need to use a space heater, do it wisely. Here are some tips:
- Purchase an energy-efficient, portable one. Check out this recommendation list.
- Turn down the thermostat while using a space heater.
- Dress adequately. The more layers you wear, the less you will feel the need to crank up the heat.
Source: Minnesota Chamber of Commerce; Consumer Reports; Paycheck Chronicles