General Question

Phobia's avatar

Is it safe to use an electric stove as a heater?

Asked by Phobia (1470 points ) January 22nd, 2012

We recently ran out of gas at our house and we haven’t had enough cash to buy anything outside of the necessities. We’ve been toughing out the weather until we can afford more, but it has been getting pretty cold lately. I know using a gas stove in such a manner would be dangerous, but if monitored, is an electric stove safe to just rise the temperature to a comfortable level?

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14 Answers

LuckyGuy's avatar

Yes it is safe – as long as you are careful about not putting anything on the stove. All
UL approved electric ranges are rated to run 24 hours without damage. You will not be using up oxygen or putting out CO.
On a cost per BTU basis, you might even find electricity is cheaper than LPG for heating your home. You need to do the math.
I can help you with the calculations if you need it. What do you pay for electricity per kWr? What do you pay for LPG per gallon? From that we can see which is the best deal.

Where I live Natural Gas is cheapest, then electricity, then oil, and finally LPG (most expensive).
Oil and Electiricy are very close here.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Yes, but expensive…. And it may not raise the temperature that much.

Phobia's avatar

@Tropical_Willie yeah I’ve thought of the costs. I just wanted to get the temperature above freezing :P

marinelife's avatar

There are charities that provide heating oil available. Have you contacted your utility?

Example:

“Pennsylvania’s major gas and electric utilities are required to provide Customer Assistance Programs (CAPs), which generally provide a percentage of bill plan or a percentage of income payment plan, wherein low-income customers’ utility payments are based upon their incomes and/or utility bills. Some programs include utility arrearage forgiveness; others provide flat rate discounts or bill credits.”

Source

bkcunningham's avatar

@Phobia, have you considered phoning Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP)? (I saw in a previous post you are located in Wisconsin.) 1–866-HEATWIS (432–8947)

“Crisis Assistance
A household may be eligible for crisis assistance if you have no heat, have received a disconnect notice from the heating vendor, or are nearly out of fuel and do not have the money to purchase more. Crisis assistance is available through local WHEAP agencies that provide a 24-hour crisis phone number to help with emergencies that occur after business hours. WHEAP crisis assistance provides both emergency and proactive services.

“There are also non-emergency or proactive crisis services that include providing information on how to reduce fuel costs, counseling on budgeting and money management, providing payments to a fuel supplier, and co-pay agreements.”

http://homeenergyplus.wi.gov/category.asp?linkcatid=239&linkid=118&locid=25

LuckyGuy's avatar

You can also use small 1 kW electric space heaters to warm a single room
@bkcunningham – GA.

Phobia's avatar

@marinelife & @bkcunningham Thanks, I didn’t know programs like that existed. I’ll be looking into those.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Phobia, please let us know what your local WHEAP agency tells you.

john65pennington's avatar

People, who live in the projects. use this method of heating all the time. Like someone else stated that it is expensive, is true. But, people who live in the project get their electricity for free.

HungryGuy's avatar

Yes. Electric is perfectly safe. Running an electric oven continuously is no different from running a light bulb continuously.

Gas, on the other hand, is not as safe as electric, even though it’s cheaper than electric.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Phobia Contact your county government offices, usually social services, or your local church. They may have some help available.

JLeslie's avatar

Can you close off the room you are in? I have thick plastic hanging to close of my bedroom area in the winter (I have a separate heating zone for the bedrooms downstairs). I also have Tyvek Polystyrene blue foam board blocking the stairs, so the heat does not escape to the second floor. We barely heat upstairs, unless we are up there of course. Even with all that sometimes I go into my small office close all the doors and use an electric space heater to heat up the little space. Within 10 minutes it is very warm.

@bkcunningham GA

flutherother's avatar

A small fan heater would be more effective and you can move it around. They don’t cost much. Maybe you could borrow one.

gasman's avatar

It may be safe but it’s horribly inefficient, as the appliance is designed to hold in heat, i.e., to NOT radiate externally. But sooner or later thermal equilibrium sets in, turning it into a giant radiator.

Assuming a good-sized kitchen, I’d put a fan in front of the open oven (not too close!) or even blowing toward it to better distribute room air. I’d also make sure that the ceiling above the oven doesn’t get too hot. (Have the fire department on speed-dial lol)

Those inexpensive 1500 watt 120V space heaters (used to be $15 at Home Depot) are very inefficient but still quite effective for small spaces—I still use them in my drafty house. Because its power is equivalent to a hair dryer, you can typically only run two at a time on the same circuit breaker.

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