General Question

janbb's avatar

Can you help with home heating question?

Asked by janbb (51642points) January 7th, 2017

I tend to keep my thermostats on the low side but parts of the house get really chilly during the day – specifically the kitchen and den. I have electric space heaters in each. Is it more efficient to use the space heaters judiciously or to raise the whole house temps? The furnaces – one runs old steam radiators and one for newer hot water baseboards – use gas. Both solutions warm up the house fine but which is cheaper and more ecologically efficient? (@LuckyGuy – go to town!)

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20 Answers

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

We don’t do homework questions here.

janbb's avatar

Ha! Ha!

stanleybmanly's avatar

Those electric space heaters are quick and cozy if you’re parked in front of them, but will send your electric bill through the roof. It seems to me that you should determine why it is that the kitchen & den are colder than the rest of the house and figure out if there are mechanisms for increasing or decreasing heat emitted from the various baseboards and radiators. Are the 2 rooms furthest from the furnaces? 2 furnaces? Just how large is this house?

canidmajor's avatar

Baking bread and cookies and cakes all day will add heat to your kitchen/den area.
I will happily accept any overflow.

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Tropical_Willie's avatar

Hey Penguin, most places gas is cheaper to use than electricity. You should consider having the steam system looked at and make sure to get any water trapped in the radiators out.

janbb's avatar

@Tropical_Willie I get the heating system serviced annually. I know gas is cheaper than electricity. The rooms that are coldest have a lot of outside wall exposure. We had insulation blown in some years ago and insulated the crawl space under the kitchen but it is still cold.

On the other hand, perhaps @Fahamida‘s solution is the best!

janbb's avatar

@canidmajor Your solution helps build insulation and heat two ways!

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

haha I think that reads ” Not sure but you would like some one to look at it who knows what they are doing and are not selling new heating equipment”

kritiper's avatar

Bag the space heaters and us the house’s heating system. It’s cheaper. Use small fans to blow the heat where you want it.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Those small electrical heaters eat electricity. However, I can see that you wouldn’t want to heat the whole house if just high-traffic areas are a little cool. Can you get reverse-cycle air conditioners there? When it’s cool here, I sometimes put ours on heat for a while. You can get quite small units. You might even be able to get a portable unit (I’ve not looked).

janbb's avatar

@Earthbound_Misfit not aware of them and I have central air.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I’ll try to find some pictures or brands when I get back later and send you some links. I bought one a few months ago to put in my office (to cool not heat), but you can get small reverse cycle air con here. You’d have to have it installed, but they’re not expensive to run. I’ll find more info later and you can check them out.

janbb's avatar

Probably won’t do it but will look.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

“Can you get reverse-cycle air con there?” LOL. I dunno, Jan. Maybe you should ask the ice man.

kritiper's avatar

Be sure to seal around the windows with calk both inside and out. Especially the inside trim where it meets the drywall.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Electricity is more expensive than natural gas. If you want to use the “colder” rooms and feel electric space heaters are the best, most convenient, way to warm them up try heating them with incandescent lights. Yes, the “wasteful” old style light bulbs. A couple of 100 Watt bulbs will give you both light and heat and not a Watt or BTU would be wasted. Go back to your fancy shmancy LED lights in the summer. .

I would try to balance the heating system by blocking some of the radiator length that is near the T-stat. Make a small change and see what happens. Some baseboard radiators have a panel that can be closed for that purpose. If not, you can stuff a towel under the radiator to restrict airflow. It won’t get hot enough to catch on fire but it you are worried you can put something metal or ceramic on top of the radiator to block flow there.
Stay warm!

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