heating with little electric heaters

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Paul Wheaton, Sep 22, 2006.

  1. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    The new place I'm in has the wood heat set up in a poor location for the house. On top of that, wood is mighty scarce.

    This place is set up for central oil heat, but the cost of oil has tripled in the last few years. In the mean time, here in the pacific northwest, the price of electricity ain't too bad!

    I'm thinking that rather than heat 100% of the house with central heat, perhaps a better strategy would be to heat the 10% that is being used with little portable electric heaters.

    My first thought was to just dig out what we have and use those. If I could somehow get a 30 minute countdown timer hooked up to them, that would be even better (that way, people don't run one of these things all day/night long - but just when they need a bit of warmth).

    Now I'm wondering if some of those little heaters might be more efficient than others. Maybe even have a built in timer!

    Anybody have the scoop on this sort of thing?
     
  2. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    We heat with wood, but keep a little electric ceramic heater in the bathroom to take the chill off because the bathroom is the farthest room from the location of the wood heat! I turn the electric heater on when I get up in the winter mornings, and it has the bathroom warm quickly
     

  3. Southernman

    Southernman Well-Known Member

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    I'm assuming your talking about the little space heaters. Be very careful, lots of houses are burned down every winter with them. We use propane primarly with wood to help with fuel costs.
     
  4. Irish Pixie

    Irish Pixie Well-Known Member

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    I bought one last fall that looks like a little radiator, I believe it's oil filled, but is electric for my grain room to keep the hose from freezing. It is wonderful, bunch of safety features, plus it has a thermostat but I don't think it has a timer. I believe we found it at Lowes.

    Stacy
     
  5. paulaswolfpack

    paulaswolfpack Well-Known Member

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    Weell ian a tightwad when it comes toany sort of bills I live in a 2 bedroom mobliehomehave been here for 2 yrs now it is weaterized sothat helps also an programized thremastat,it heats with central propane I have it set to come on 1 hour before dd gets up for school then shuts down for rest of day I have 2 of those oil filled heaters that I run on med all day and night keeps us nice and warm I never run anything on high, last year got a small elct fireplace whichn isn the same wattage as the oil heaters works real well for us and only added about $40.00 to the bill and just used under 100 gallons of propane too.hope that helps.
    paula :dance:
     
  6. MrPG

    MrPG Well-Known Member

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    Just a note, pretty much every electric heater will be of the same efficiency.

    IIRC, each 1000W = 3140 BTUs ; that is, multiply the Wattage of your heater by 3.14 to get the number of BTUs it should put out.

    However, some heaters seem to do a better job of directing the heat, I had liked the Vornado at first, but I think the ceramic ones (a good one) are probably your best bet.
     
  7. tweety

    tweety Tweety

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    I keep my thermostat at about 60-62 during the winter days, and have several small electric heaters placed where I stay for a while; namely the bathroom, under the kitchen table, and by my worktable. I only turn them on when I am there. I dress warm and cuddle under a blanket when watching TV. Works for me!
     
  8. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    We've used ceramic heaters here in Ontario. A 1500 watt heater kept a 15x24 room above freezing in -15c with very poor insulation so I'm guessing they're as efficient as electric can be.
     
  9. ericjeeper

    ericjeeper Well-Known Member

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    many yearsago I fell for the pennies a day gimmick. supposeably a 1500 watt heater.I had a 12x12 mini barn that I had insulated pretty well. I used to tinker with snowmobiles out there a lot..So I would keep it heated.. The little pelonis heater sat on high would run continuously and never shut off. and never get it to tee shirt temps.. So I brought out the elcheaper 1320 watt heater, mind you 19-20 bucks nothing fancy.. and it would bring it up to tee shirt temps and cycle off and on as thermostat on it called for.. So was the 80 some dollar pelonis a good buy? Heavens no.. Don't get into the hype of how good a heater is by the pricetag.
     
  10. Highground

    Highground Well-Known Member

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    We used 2 of these little heaters last winter and didn't even turn the furnace on and the house was warmer than ever before. We put one in the kitchen and one in the living room. Have another one plugged into a timer in the bedroom that heats it for one hour before bedtime. I probably saved 25-30 dollars a month using these instead of the furnace and natural gas.

    http://www.dealtime.com/xPF-Honeywell_1500_watt_Heater_Fan
     
  11. donsgal

    donsgal Nohoa Homestead

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    I think they would be fine if you were there watching it in case anything happened. But I wouldn't trust it overnight or when I away. They are not designed to be the primary heat source and can overheat and cause fires. You could install some electric baseboards which would do essentially the same thing but are designed for the job.

    donsgal
     
  12. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Paul, WWGrainger sells those timers. I have them on the bathroom heaters so that they will cycle off if someone forgets to turn the heater off.
     
  13. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

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    1500 watts will consume the same if its 110 OR 220. 1500 watts can only put out a set max heat output based on how well the design is, and how efficient the design makes heat with the power it gets.

    for example, a heater with a fan blowing coldd air thru hot coils will consume 1500 watt, but only about half of that ends up as heat.

    the question is how much of the wattage consumed comes out as heat?

    the sealed oil heaters that look like an old hot water radiator are as close to 100% efficient as you can get. the heater element transfers all its wattage into heat, in the oil jacket.

    it seems like they dont "heat up the room" but they do, just very slowly. a small closed up room they will heat up nicely.

    so the issue what electric heater uses more power is not how you you should look for a heater... look to the design and how much of the power it draws is actually converted to HEAT.

    electric baseboard heaters are very efficient, and most all the power comes out as heat.

    small box heaters that have a fan in them are the most wasteful of power, if you want to move the hot air around, turn on a ceiling fan, because all the hot air is floating on the ceiling in an inch or 2 thick layer. pull that down and get the air flowing in the room, and the sealed oil heaters or baseboards will give you more felt warmth.

    the heat on theceiling sits there, unfelt by you, so it is wasted heat. you may have a foot thick layer of 70 degree warm air on the ceiling, and the floor be near freezing.

    get the air flowing. it makes all the difference.
     
  14. unioncreek

    unioncreek Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You'd be better off installing the electric forced air wall heaters. We have some in every bedroom, but heat mainly with wood pellets. Were south of Spokane so the climate isn't much different. We use 2 to 3 ton per winter and the stove runs all the time from about November thru March. It's cheaper than heating with electricity, if your going to be in the house for any length of time you might consider buying one.

    Bobg
     
  15. patnewmex

    patnewmex Jane of all trades

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    We have little electric heaters that look like radiators on wheels. They have some kind of oil inside of them. When you plug it in, the oil heats up. They are pretty slick, come with a temprature control (not specific temps, but high, low, etc. There are built in timers on them and they are great. Got them at the lumber yard/hardware store.

    Pat
     
  16. SmartAZ

    SmartAZ Well-Known Member

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    All electric heaters are exactly 100% efficient, at least until the laws of the universe are repealed. The only differences are in air flow, radiant effect, safety, and looks.
     
  17. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    If you are using resistance heaters (coils/rods that glow) you may as well turn all the lights on and use the heat and have the benefit of the light as a plus.
     
  18. minnikin1

    minnikin1 Shepherd

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    We heat with wood but wanted a backup system so we are installing an
    electric forced air furnace. We will be keeping the thermostat very low and use it just to keep the pipes from freezing.

    I was talking to a stove dealer the other day who said that corn stoves are taking off in sales this year. I don't know how you feel about that ethically or if corn even grows in your area, but I just thought I'd mention it.
     
  19. Randy Rooster

    Randy Rooster Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I use the oil filled radiator type. I like the quiet and they seem to put out a more even heat.
     
  20. susieM

    susieM Well-Known Member

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    This winter, we'll be heating with soup and socks and the heat from the dehydrator.