This post may be interesting to people living in colder climates and are trying to save money on their heating bill without being cold all of the time in their homes. If your home is heated by natural gas or oil and you have a central furnace, then your entire house is kept at the same temperature throughout. Why heat the entire house when you need to only heat the rooms you spend the most time in? By heating only the rooms you actually spend time in can reduce your heating cost.
This year we are trying to keep the house cooler during the day and the evening and using a combination of a gas fireplace and small electric ceramic space heaters to keep the rooms warm were we spend a lot of time. For example our furnace temperature is set to 19C or 66F, which is pretty cool for many people.
Our family room and kitchen is an open concept and we use the gas fireplace in the family room to heat this are of the home and bring the temperature of this area up to 22C or 71F! The rest of the house stays cool and we save on the natural gas consumption since we are not heating the rest of the home. At night we turn off the gas fireplace and we allow the temperature in our home go down to 16C or 61F! Pretty cool!
Now some people might consider this to be really cold, however we have a space heater in our bedroom which brings the temperature up to a comfortable level. It has a time and automatically heats the room for us before we go to bed. We can set the temperature at whatever we wish so that we are comfortable through the night.
In my office, I also have a small ceramic heater, which heats the room to a comfortable temperature while the rest of the home is kept cool. This seems to work well for us and we save on our natural gas usage, as well as electricity since the furnace is running less and not consuming electricity when the fan is running. Of course we are consuming electricity by using these small heaters, however this is much less than what would be used normally.
In theory this should all work and we should save money on our overall consumption of natural gas and electricity. However it really does depend on the rates you pay for electricity and natural gas. It is really tough to figure out unless you have all of the facts.
You will definitely save energy and probably money as well by following this approach and enduring the cold in your home and the complaints from your family, however is it all worth it from a dollars and cents perspective?
The facts I have are as follows:
Now it is pretty hard to figure out what you are going to save based on consumption etc, so we will make some approximations which will get us close to the number. For example if you annual heating bill was $1800 and you kept the temperature at 72F all of the time and then reduce the average temp in all of the house to 64, the percentage decrease is 18%. Apply this against your annual cost and you should save around $330 per year.
Now as we mentioned your family might disown you if this was the temperature throughout the house all of the time. So adding electric space heaters in the most used rooms can make it more comfortable. We have seen oil filled heaters for around $80 and they take about 1.5kw per hour to run. Using our rates for the day time, this is going to cost you approximately $50 over the year to heat one room. Same thing with heating your bedroom at night. So you are probably looking at a cost of $160 for two heaters. An increased electricity cost of $100 for both heaters or a total of $260.
Of course your furnace will be running less. However we have not factored this into the equation. Based on this crude approximation you are going to be saving roughly $70 the first year. Then $230 every year after that based on current rates.
Not a huge savings, however every dollar counts and it is better in your pocket than someone else’s. It does get better over time. You can use this approach to figure out what the savings might be for you depending on your homes size and current energy usage.
If you are concerned about the environment, you also have to take into account how your energy is produced. When you burn natural gas, you are burning a fossil fuel and depleting the earth’s resources. The same goes for electricity generated by coal or oil fired plants . However if your electricity is produced by nuclear power plants that brings up an entire other issue. Especially terms of the overall safety of these plants. You may not want to encourage investment in more of these plants by using this type of electricity. Electricity produced by dams is far better. They do not pollute the environment, although there are 1000’s of acres that are now under water . You have to decide which one you are going to support.