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portable electric heaters

Patri

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Anyone have experience with these? With winter coming I dread our $400 plus natural gas heating bills. Our hardware store is advertising a bunch of heaters. They range from very small countertop at $13 to standing floor models at $50. There is a ceramic tower, a quartz tower, and an oil-filled convection radiator heater. Use from 900 to 1500 watts of power.
I know these are for a room only, and I would put in living room which has the thermostat. Back rooms can stay cool during the day. I would turn off the portable heater at night or if no one was home. Set furnace low overnight.
Would a portable be cost effective?
These are smaller than the $350 'Amish' heaters advertised in national publications, and the only thing the Amish make is the grill. They are the same as other heaters sold in stores. Are those larger models any better?
Thanks.
 

laura1957

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We have used a oil-filled radiator convection heater for years just as you describe. They definately take the chill off a room fairly quickly, are easy and inexpensive to use. They are our ONLY source of heat on the enclosed back and front porches, our added-on downstairs bathroom, and our entire upstairs (4 bedrooms and a bath) We only turn on the ones in the rooms being used at the time. The main part of the house has central heat/air. With my husband's kids grown there is no sense heating the whole house!! Usually it is only my youngest daughter home.
 

Patri

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Anyone else care to chime in?
 

vacationhopeful

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After I got my natural gas bill for Nov 5 years ago and away for 7 days during that billing cycle ($450+), I opted for the oil filled radiators also. Try to find the ones with 7-8 ribs. The newer (or is it cheaper ones) have 4-5 ribs and they can't generated the heat as much or as quick as the bigger ones.

I also got an expensive passive cermanic/radiant heater 2 years ago for a big bathroom. It was more than $80. My brother loved it (I do too) as it seem to him to heat up your wet body out of the shower (radiant heat heats the object vs the air) very nicely. It has NO fan and is quiet. It looks like a flat black wall panel (30in wide, 24in high, 2in deep -approxiatemently); it had either the wheels to install or a bracket to hang it from the wall. I got it at Lowes, but last year, when I wanted to get a matching one, they had a different model/brand.

As I installed 10KW solar system in Mar 08, I plan to be heating much more so by my electric radiator collection also.;)
 
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pjrose

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We've been using the oil-filled radiators for years to supplement our oil furnace. We have one in each bedroom, as well as in rooms that never seem to warm up enough.

They are very inexpensive to buy and to run, quiet, provide even heat, and let us turn down the furnace at night and still be warm in the bedrooms. We've bought them at misc. places, mostly discount stores such as WalMart, for around $40, and they might add around $10 a month each to our electric bill.
 
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Patri

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Thanks all. If they save more in gas than the increase in electricity, I'm game. I am leaning towards the oil-filled kind. The sale runs through next week so I have time to go get one. Will also check out other stores.
vacationhopeful - how much $ or % did your natural gas bill drop?
 

vacationhopeful

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Bills quickly at hand:
THERMS---------2005 2006 2007 2008
12/10-1/12/05----- 241 127 86 82
1/12-2/10 --------- 376 164 261* 133
2/10-3/11--------- 186 233 75 76

11/17-12/20--------142 78 68 N/A

In the spring of 06, I also put another 8 inches of insulation in my upper attic over my bedrooms and main bath. And I was gone in 2008 to Florida for 3 week and 1 week to Maryland BUT I didn't move the thermostats for the gas heater in 2007 or 2008 as that is the marginal heat I leave on. The space heaters are NOT left on when I am not home.

* this read might be wrong as the next month was estimated and the APR 07 was then straighten out.

Insulation helped a lot. Plus at the same time I tinted all windows in 2006. And I was voted as the coldest house in the neighborhood and family.

Hope this helps all Tuggers.
 
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EJC

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Most portable space heaters are 1500 watts. If your electricity costs $.15/a kilowatt, the heater would cost $.225 to run for a solid hour on full blast. If you have ONE space heater on from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m., and if, with its thermostatic control, the heater stays on 75% of the time you have it turned on, it would cost $2.25 to run the one heater for one day. $2.25 a day for 31 days = $69.75 a month for the ONE space heater. If you use ONE space heater for 4 hours a day (a typical evening), and with the thermostat it was actually only on 3 hours (75% of the time), it would cost $.675 an evening times 31 days = $21. a month for the ONE space heater--just for evenings. If the room being heated is small, a space heater would probably stay on less than 75% of the time. If the room is large, the heater could stay on even more than 75% of the time. In theory, a space heater can save money by allowing you to turn down the furnace thermostat and supplementing your central heat with a space heater in just the room you are actually using to, for example, watch TV. I doubt that running several space heaters would save you much, if any, money.
 
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