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space heater vs furnace, a few opinions from the experts

Posted By: sm on 2006-09-21
In Reply to: space heaters - JR

Limit use of Electric Space Heaters
Here's a few opinions. There's one way, way, way down at the bottom, too. Hope it helps.


 


Limit use of freestanding or in-wall space heaters to short periods of time. Electric space heat can cost as much as 25 percent more than fossil fuel heat. Because of the high energy required, the use of extension cords with space heaters is not recommended. Also to avoid fire hazard, electric heater power cords should never be placed under a carpet or rug to be hidden from view.


http://www.lbwl.com/TipsElec.asp


Space heaters are a fairly inefficient way to convert electricity to heat. They can also run up the electric bill, and I'm not sure they're a good choice for the apartment-building lifestyle. However, if you owned a big home and controlled your own central heating, a space heater could be a good choice. If you spent your entire day, or most of it, in one room of the house (say, your satellite Grist office), you could turn off the central heat and use a space heater. And, of course, space heaters are a great option for rooms where there is no other heat source whatsoever -- certainly better than frostbite.


Space heaters run on electricity generated by burning something or splitting atoms or capturing hydropower or tapping into the energy of wind or sun (optimal but unlikely). Radiators run on water heated by burning oil or gas. Because your radiator burns fuel on site, odds are it is more efficient than your space heater. (Again, we're guessing here, since we don't know the specifics.) With electric space heaters, about two-thirds of the heating energy from the original fuel is lost during transit to your room.

http://www.grist.org/advice/ask/2004/02/25/umbra-heat/


Ask the Energy Guy

2005

2004 Average

04/05 03/04 Average

363

313 396

398

349

514

Season to date

October

October

2005 2004 Average

2005 2004

Average

41

6

13

1266 1027

1010

Season to date

Q: A couple of issues ago you talked about electric space heaters. Are they less

expensive than gas?

A: Maybe. Unless you have a geothermal heat pump, electricity

is not the most economical way to heat a home. But

depending on the size of the electric space heater and how

you use it, you may be able to increase your comfort and

save a little money this winter.

There are two basic types of electric space heaters;

Convection heaters heat the air and usually have a fan

to blow warm air around. Radiant heaters warm objects.

Some people like to feel warm air move so they use a fan

driven heater. Others will use a radiant heater to avoid

drafts from moving air. The cost to operate the heater will

depend on wattage, temperature of the room, and length of time

itís on. The higher the wattage, the colder the room, and the

longer itís on - the more it will cost.

A 1500-watt heater will cost around $.10 an hour to operate.

Your much larger gas furnace may cost $.45 - $.75 an hour to

run. To be comfortable yet not spend more money the trick is to

save gas by turning down your thermostat while using the electric heater. If you just

use a portable heater for short periods, and you turn down the thermostat at the same

time, you should be fairly comfortable and save on your heating bills. Check back

next month for more on electric versus gas heating

http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cache:_D0E1IewSqoJ:www.cityofames.org/CitySide/Documents/January2006.pdf+electric+space+heater+versus+turning+down+thermostat&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=3


Q. Would it be more efficient to use an electric heater for one room than to keep the whole house warm with central heating?


 A. I can see why you would think using a space heater would be an energy-saving solution, especially with higher gas and oil prices. But in Vermont, electricity is still the most expensive way to heat. A typical portable electric space heater could actually increase your energy costs by as much as $50 a month.


A better approach is to make your home's "envelope" and central heating system work as efficiently as possible. Make sure your home has sufficient insulation. Prevent air leakage between indoors and out by sealing any holes between the house and outdoors or the attic, especially where chimneys and plumbing enter. Gaps around door and window frames and drafts under doors should also be sealed. Repair cracked glazing on windows and replace weather seals if necessary. You can find low-cost, easy-to-use weatherization kits and supplies at your hardware store. Be sure your furnace filter is clean, seal and insulate heating ducts, and have your furnace or boiler professionally inspected, cleaned and tuned each year. Vacuum or dust heating vents and move furniture away from them so heat can circulate. Finally, close doors to any rooms you don't want heated and turn down the thermostat in those rooms.


Gas vs. Electric Heat
The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman

I live in the Midwest and am bracing for the high cost of heating my home this winter. My question is about buying/using a space heater. Is there a way to find out if running an electric space heater would be cheaper than the gas I use to heat the home? Is there a formula for this? How would I figure it out. I've taken all the other precautions such as insulation, furnace tune-up, weather-stripping etc. I figure I can keep the heat turned to about 67 - but a space heater might be good for the family room-kitchen, the area we use the most. Thanks, 
Cheryl R.


Cheryl appears to be serious about reducing her heating bills. And, she's right. According to the Federal Trade Commission, nearly half of our utility bills goes to heating/air conditioning. So controlling those expenses is worthwhile.

Cheryl can compare heat generated from gas or electric. To get a fair comparison we'll determine the cost to generate 1 million BTU's of heat with both fuels.

A furnace with a seasonal heating efficiency of 80% will use 12.5 therms to produce the million BTU's. MGE (Madison Gas Electric in Madison WI) was charging consumers $1.50 per therm in October, 2005. We'll use them as our example. At a cost of $1.50 per therm heating with gas would cost $18.75 (12.5 therms X $1.50).

An electric heater would consume 293 kilowatt hours to produce the million BTU's. At a cost of $0.11 per kWh (also from MGE) that's $32.58.

So heating with electric is more expensive than natural gas. And, that's usually the case since a lot of electric is generated by burning natural gas.

But, Cheryl's recognized that gas vs. electric is only half of the equation. Could heating a smaller area (kitchen/family room) with a higher cost fuel (electric) be a good idea?

In our example electric generated heat is 70% more expensive than gas generated heat ($32.58 / $18.75). As long as her kitchen/family room area is less than 30% of the cubic footage of her house she'll save money by using the space heater to heat it and turning down the thermostat on the furnace.

Remember that this is just an example. We've made some assumptions. For instance, furnaces are measured based on their AFUE rating (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency). It's also known as "seasonal heating efficiency." We chose a furnace rated at 80% efficiency.  Cheryl's could be more or less efficient. That would affect how many therms of gas are consumed.

The selection of space heaters will make a difference, too. There are a number of types available.

According to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources a radiator-type heater could be best for Cheryl. It works well in a room that gets constant use. And, since the surface area isn't extremely hot, there's less danger of someone (think children) getting burned.

There's also a formula that Cheryl can use to figure the cost of running a space heater. She'll need to know the size of the space heater in watts. Divide that by 1,000 to get kilowatts. So a 1500 watt heater is 1.5 kilowatts.

Multiply the answer by the number of hours per day the heater is in use to determine how many kilowatts are used per day. Suppose that it's running from 8am until 10pm. She'd multiply 1.5 kilowatts by 12 hours and be using 18 kilowatts per day.

Her electric bill will show how much she pays per kilowatt. Let's use our $0.11 rate. The 18 kilowatts per day multiplied by $0.11 costs Cheryl $1.98 per day to run the heater.

Make no mistake, the furnace is the most efficient way to heat the entire house. But, according to the National Association of Home Builders the average home is 2,200 square feet. That's a lot of space to heat.

And, if you'll study your home, most homes do not have someone in every room 24 hours a day. Each family has a pattern of use. One or two rooms might be in use for much of the day. Other rooms rarely are used except for sleep. Cheryl might find that she can lower the thermostat on the furnace to 60 degrees and use space heaters to raise the temperature in occupied areas.

Chances are that a lot of us don't want to go through all the calculations. You really don't need to. If you only have one or two rooms occupied, it will almost certainly be cheaper to keep your thermostat lower and put a space heater in the occupied rooms. Just remember to take the appropriate safety precautions when using space heaters.


http://www.lighthousecredit.org/Articles70.asp




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s
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nm
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1 space after sentence

I made the switch to 1 space after a sentence more than 15 years ago when I got my first computer and everything was justified. If you can't remember to do, you can make an adjustment in Word to do it automatically for you or just make a macro to do it for you. I have one account who insists on 2 spaces and I cannot remember to do that so I just transcribe as I normally do and then run a macro to change it. You can also do a search and replace. Put in  period space space and then replace with period space.


 


Barbara


1 space isn't just an MT thing ....

I changed to one space years ago, to go with the flow.  I'm not an MT yet (still a student) but we've done this on legal documents for years.  It came about with the computer.  For once (from my VERY limited MT experience), I have to say AAMT isn't the culprit, its the new way to do things.


1 space after sentence.
Yes I have to do that also. It took me a long time to get used to it, however, but after awhile, it felt very natural.
My work space...

We fixed up half of our basement about 10 years ago and no one really used it after awhile.  I just painted (lime smoothie with swimming pool trim - very bright).  I have a small TV and DVD player and VCR for when I'm NOT working. Just bought a bookcase for the references I don't use on a daily basis - the ones that I do are on the filing cabinet beside my desk.  Also have several movie posters - Dirty Dancing and Ever After - framed and also some Beatles and some of my kids artwork from when they were little. It's very cozy and all MINE.


 


One space or two after a period.

Which is the correct way, one space or two spaces after a period in medical transcription?


Thanks for any help in advance.


19" with 17" viewing space....nm

can't seem to reply to one space or two ...

I recently made the switch from two spaces to one space after punctuation (periods, colons, question marks). It wasn't forced on me by any means but I just felt the desire to come around in the "computer age." The standard of two spaces after periods came about with the typewriter, but now with the computer, spacing seems to look nicer with one after a period, and that seems to be the trend these days, the one space. I'm glad I made the switch as it is sure saving my thumb from tendinitis!


That being said, I get paid by the gross line, so cutting out a space here and there doesn't hurt my livelihood.


My space protection.
Okay, so you can limit who can see your child's profile but can you limit the profiles your child can search for and look at? That is my question.
space heaters

I use a small space heater here in my office, but mine is old and doesn't work half the time.  My office is only 8 x 10.  Our power bills are going up 40% (yikes!) this winter, so I want to be prepared to turn down the temperature in the rest of the house and still keep warm in my office.  What are some preferences among my fellow MTs?  Ceramic?  Oil-filled?  Forced heat?  Which brand names are the best?