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| watt watch How To Use Space Heaters Efficiently


They make sense for some homeowners, but be mindful of operating costs and safety


W


hen it's cold out some co-op members prefer to flip on a space heater instead of turning up the


central heat. This can be a cost effective strategy, but if you’re not careful you could increase your electric bill, instead.


Generally, it is best to run a space heater when you need to heat just one or two rooms, or if you need temporary heat in an unheated area like a garage or shed. If you have a particularly cold- sensitive person in the home, it can be more efficient to use a space heater in the room they most often occupy rather than overheating the whole house.


However, be mindful of the costs these little heaters can add to your electric bill. Choctaw Electric Energy Use Specialist Brad Kendrick said he often finds 1,500-watt space heaters in the homes of members with high bill complaints. "When I do a cost analysis for them they are always surprised," he said.


Do your own calculations for how much running one, two or three space heaters in your home would cost. And beware


Calculate Your Space Heater Cost


• Hours Wattage


Used per Month


Co-op’s kWh


rate/1000


Monthly Cost


the efficiency hype around space heaters: electric space heaters are all 100 percent efficient at turning electricity into heat, but an ENERGY STAR air-source heat pump can be 300 percent efficient.


If a space heater is right for you, remember a few things to save energy and money:





If you’re using a space heater to heat the one or two rooms you use most, turn down your central heating so you don’t heat rooms you aren’t using.





Close doors to rooms that are being heated to avoid heat loss.


• Turn off the heater when not in use or get a space heater with a timer feature.


• Purchase a heater with thermostat settings and use the lowest setting that you are comfortable with.





Select a space heater that is the right size for the space you need to heat; most will have a sizing table on the box.


Cont'd next page ➡ SPACE HEATER SAFETY TIPS


Regardless of the kind of space heater you purchase, practice safety: Space heaters are involved in more than 80 percent of fatal home heating fires. When you purchase your heater, check that it has the following:


• • •


Tip-over safety switch, which automatically shuts the heater off if it tips over.


Temperature sensor to detect when any internal components become too hot.


Guard around heating element to protect curious hands or paws.


• UL-listing or other certification to show that it meets voluntary safety standards.


Practice safety, and teach your family what to do around space heaters:


• •


Use the heater only on a flat surface.


Plug the heater directly into the wall instead of an extension cord, and avoid plugging anything else into the same outlet. If you must use an extension cord, use the shortest possible heavy-duty cord.


Keep the heater away from pets, children and flammable items like bedding, furniture and curtains.


• Don’t use in the bathroom unless it is designed for bathroom use; moisture can damage the heater.


Most space heaters are 1500 watts. If you’re operating a space heater 8 hours a day and your rate is $0.12 per kWh = (1500 watts X 240 hours/month X $0.12/kWh) / 1000 = $43.20/month


• Never leave a heater unattended – turn it off for safety and to save money!


6 | JANUARY 2017 | CEC Inside Your Co-op


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