General Question

kidkosmik's avatar

What type of heater do you use?

Asked by kidkosmik (452 points ) January 25th, 2010

My wife and I moved from San Diego to the Denver Metro area a few weeks ago. We got part of our electric bill and it did not look pretty. What types of small heaters do you use in the winter? We currently have Honeywell Surround Heater that I find a bit weak. Also, what are your thoughts on Oil-filled heaters?

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23 Answers

The_Idler's avatar

Is there no gas supply and central heating?

rangerr's avatar

Hm. I use blankets.

Snarp's avatar

Oil filled heaters are supposed to be safer. I have a gas furnace and radiators and do not use a space heater.

kidkosmik's avatar

@The_Idler We have central heating. We’re trying not to use it as often due to how costly it is. When we first moved in we used it all of the time. Now it’s in the morning and evening for about 30 – 45 minutes. We need a solution for the in-between.

jrpowell's avatar

I used a oil filled radiator style one when I lived in a 22’ RV. It kept me pretty warm when the roof had six inches of snow on it. They work really well. My RV wasn’t really insulted. It was like living in a beer can with windows that someone dropped in the snow.

Snarp's avatar

I don’t see how using space heaters can make you comfortable more efficiently than central heat, unless you have a really bad central heat system or are barricading yourselves in a small room with mattresses on the walls.

kidkosmik's avatar

@Snarp The central heat is great, it’s just too expensive to run for an extended period of time.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@kidkosmik
Electric space heaters tend to be very inefficient, they cost a lot to run. Electric heat in general is expensive. I know I lived in an all electric house in New England.
Insulate, insulate and seal the windows and doors. Stop all drafts, if you have drafts moving curtains, you have air moving heat out of the room.

kidkosmik's avatar

@johnpowell
@Snarp

Thanks! Will definitely look into oil-filled heaters.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@kidkosmik
Checked a couple of places on the web, some people are paying $200 to 300 a month . I know you were not paying that in SD.

jrpowell's avatar

@kidkosmik :: Is your thermostat programmable? I installed one in our house. It was about $50 bucks and easy to install. I have it set to drop the temp at 10pm (blankets), up the temp in the morning while the kids are getting ready for school. Drop it at nine AM and then it kicks back on at 2PM, one hour before the kids get home.

This has saved us a bit. And you can set it to be different on weekends.

edit :: I should add that you don’t have to say on or off. You can select the temperature range for different times.

andrew's avatar

I just spent a bunch of time researching and purchasing heaters for our office.

Get a Mica heater. It retains heat more than oil, so it uses less energy.

Also look into radiant heat if you’re staying in one spot and don’t want to heat the air.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I use an Ashley wood heater in the cabin. The main house (closed up now) uses a wood fired hydrionic system that stores heat in an insulated tank of Glaubers Salt solution and distributes it through fluid filled tubes under the flooring.

The_Idler's avatar

Yeah, I don’t know about the relative cost of electric and gas heat in Colorado, it could be a lot different to the UK.

If you are looking to heat a space, though, I would recommend against electric rads, as the electricity cost would make it inefficient.

For efficiency, storage heaters are great. They are electric, but they take the power when the electricity is cheap, and release it slowly over time, when you need it (when direct electric heating would be much more expensive).

kidkosmik's avatar

@Tropical_Willie
Gas & electric in San Diego was always under $75 monthly. Here, it’s over $100 so far.

@johnpowell
I will look into that. Coming from San Diego thermostats are foreign devices to me.

@andrew
Good suggestion!

jrpowell's avatar

And contact your utility company. The will often weatherize for your house for free if you qualify. At my old house they even replaced all of our windows for super cheap. Like 5K of windows for around $1,500. They even installed them.

Snarp's avatar

@kidkosmik Welcome to variable weather. My gas bill has gone as high as $400 in a month. A lot of that is that it’s an old house with poorly insulated walls and windows, but $100 is nothing to heat a home. Really though I just don’t get how using a space heater will be cheaper, unless you confine yourself to one room and let the rest get cold. What exactly is your plan here?

Snarp's avatar

@The_Idler A lot of places in the U.S. don’t have hourly billing, the rate is the same all winter long, so storage might not matter much (yet, but it’s coming).

@johnpowell Yes, a lot of people don’t realize this, but utilities will spend some money to help you be more energy efficient because it is often cheaper than upgrading equipment to deal with increasing demand.

kidkosmik's avatar

@johnpowell
Awesome! Did not know that.

@Snarp
2 Bedroom 2 Bath 944 sq ft. The master bedroom being the coldest.

judochop's avatar

I use a cute little heater. She is about 5’ 7”.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@kidkosmik

One room that is colder than the other means something is different. Windows leaking air, a wall that is not insulated next to garage, upper floor no insulation in attic and thermostats may not be working.
Or the heater stopped working…. I had one room that the baseboard heater stopped working VERY VERY cold.

Response moderated
peachpit's avatar

I live in New England and have used the oil filled heaters, especially when in my basement. I don’t think this is a one method answer. Check for drafts; wear long sleeves; keep a throw blanket on the couch. I also assume you drop the temperature down during the day and then boost it when you get home to cut down utility bills. My in-laws are always a bit chilly. They prefer electric blankets so they are kept warm as opposed to the entire house.

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