Small space heaters are meant to do exactly as their name says – heat a small space. But unfortunately, many people use portable space heaters to heat their entire home, which can really take a toll on your energy bills. The truth is, whether you should use space heaters really depends on your home’s efficiency and energy needs.
If you’re using a space heater to compensate for problems in your home, like inadequate insulation, drafty windows and exterior doors, or an inefficient heating system, space heaters are not a practical solution. Your best bet is to improve the overall efficiency of your home. If you’re on a tight budget, caulking and weather stripping around windows and exterior doors is a low-cost, easy way to save energy. Depending on the size of your home, adding insulation can be a great next step. Taking these proactive energy-saving steps rather than relying on space heaters for supplemental heat can reduce your heating and cooling bills for years to come.
Maybe your home is energy efficient, but you’re cold-natured and want a specific room to be cozier than the rest. In this case, a space heater may work for your needs. A good comparison is ceiling fans – we use ceiling fans in the summer to cool people, not rooms. A space heater can be used in a similar way during winter months. But, use a space heater in small spaces that you’re occupying and, if possible, try to shut off other rooms to contain the warmth provided by the space heater. If you decide to use a space heater to heat a small area in your home, make sure the heater is properly sized for the space.
A word about safety: The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates more than 25,000 residential fires are caused by the use of space heaters every year, resulting in more than 300 deaths. If you need to use a space heater, buy a newer model that includes the most current safety features and make sure it has the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) label. Choose a thermostatically controlled heater to avoid energy waste and overheating and place the heater on a level surface away from foot traffic when in use.
As an alternative, consider changing your furnace to an electric off-peak system. It’s one of the best energy values for home heating. The cost of electricity from Nodak Electric has been stable for a number of years and will remain stable this winter. With the cost of propane and natural gas rising, off-peak electric heating is an even better value today.
In closing, this holiday season we want to say thank you to all our veterans and men and women who serve in the U.S. armed forces. It’s said that we are all warmed by fires we did not build and drink from wells we did not dig. Many of our fires and wells have been in large part provided by our servicemen and women. The freedom we live under is due to the sacrifices of these brave men and women and we can’t thank them enough.
Giving thanks is also an important part of this holiday season and we would be remiss if we didn’t express how thankful we are for our members. Because of your connection and involvement in your electric cooperative, we are able to make our communities better places and enhance the lives of those we serve. Thank you all for what you do for Nodak Electric.
Finally, from all of us at Nodak, we want to wish you Happy Holidays. May they be merry and bright!