Space heaters should be used sparingly and can be costly

Space heaters should be used sparingly and can be costly

On cold days and nights, you might be tempted to plug in an electric space heater. Electric heaters are 100 percent efficient, but you need to understand how best to use them and how they might affect your electric bill. Space heaters are designed for temporary use, not long-term, and are most effective in a small space, such as a workshop.

Different space heaters (radiant, infrared, convection) of the same wattage cost the same to operate if used for the same periods of time. At an electric rate of 9.63 cents per kilowatt-hour, a 1,500-watt heater will cost 14 cents to run for one continuous hour. If the heater runs for 24 hours it will add $3.47 to your bill. If it runs for 24 hours for 30 days, it will add $104.10.

Space heaters on the market can cost $50 to $500. They are available locally as well as through unknown sources, including the Internet or door-to-door sales. Know what you are buying, who you are buying it from, how you are going to use it and what your cost will be.

Allow your electric cooperative to work for you. Ask for a home energy audit and implement the suggested improvements. Spending $50 on caulk may go further towards saving money than a new $50 heater. Spending $500 to replace two ancient windows or improve your attic insulation may have greater payback than a $500 space heater with additional monthly costs.

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