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ENERGY EFFICIENCY


Don’t Heat Up Your Electric Bill with Space Heaters


Using Space Heaters Correctly Keeps You Toasty Without Increasing Your Electric Bill


Winters in Oklahoma can be brutal. Remember last year? Hopefully, we won’t be buried under two feet of snow, or record the coldest temperature in the nation this year. But we know it will be cold, so naturally we want to be warm and comfortable in our homes.


Many people choose to use elec- tric space heaters to stay toasty at home.


VVEC Member Services


Representative Chub Brewer says using space heaters can be a good idea if they are used safely and efficiently. “A space heater can be one of the most expensive ways to heat a home, if it’s not used correctly,” says Brewer. “Space heaters are designed to work in small areas, such as just one or two rooms. They’re not designed to heat a large area or an entire home, and will increase your total electric bill if you try to use them like that. “You have to lower your thermo- stat a few degrees if you want to use a space heater properly without increas- ing your electric bill,” he explains. “Place the heater in a regularly used spot, such as your den or living room. Smaller spaces are easy and inex- pensive to heat with space heaters, as long as you lower the temperature throughout your home.” Brewer says to maximize efficien-


cy, be sure to check wattage and size rating listed on the space heater and then choose the right heater for the


size of the room where you are plan- ning to use it.


He goes on to suggest looking for a space heater with a temperature control so the room won’t overheat and you won’t have to constantly switch the unit on and off. Brewer says there are different types of space heaters; convection and radiant heaters are the most com- mon.


Electric


Space Heater Safety Tips


Place the heater on a level, hard, nonflammable surface,


such as a ceramic tile floor.


 Keep the heater at least three feet away from bedding, drapes, furniture, and other flammable materials.


 Keep children and pets away from space heaters.


 Turn the heater off if you leave the area.


 Plug portable electric heat- ers directly into the wall outlet.


If an extension cord is neces- sary, use a heavy-duty cord of at least 14-gauge wire.


 Buy a unit with a tip-over safety switch that automati-


Convection heaters move air to


warm a room, and heat quickly. Most space heaters are convection heaters. Radiant heaters are radiator-type heaters and are most efficient when using a room for a short period be- cause they avoid the energy needed to heat the entire room by instead directly heating the occupant and the occu- pant’s immediate surroundings. Brewer says doing your home- work and selecting a space heater properly can help you stay warm and comfortable during the cold of winter. But if not used properly any potential savings could be offset by additional power use.


cally shuts off the heater if the unit falls over.


 Never leave a space heater on when you go to sleep.


 Don’t place a space heater close to any sleeping person.


 Don’t use space heaters in the bathroom.


January 2012 VVEC Power Circuit 3


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