Finance

This device can help you save on energy costs during the winter

A woman works on her laptop by the window in her home.

Image source: Getty Images

Space heaters are very easy to use.


Key points

  • Electric space heaters are inexpensive to purchase and can come with useful features such as remote controls, timers, and oscillations.
  • Natural gas is more expensive this winter due to inflation and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
  • You can also save by budgeting and sealing drafts that let cold air in and warm air out.

Winter is a difficult time of year for me — but I choose to live in a part of the country that has extremely harsh snowy winters. That’s really the only thing I don’t like about living here, but after a few years, I’ve adapted and can survive the winter while being warm and not draining my bank account to pay for heating costs. What’s my secret? I own several heaters and use them strategically throughout the winter.

Electric heaters can be your winter best friend if you’re trying to save money. They are cheap to buy – I bought mine for less than $100 each, and you can get smaller units for even less. Even small ones intended for use in single rooms do not consume much energy. Sometimes they have neat features; mine came with remote controls, timers and an oscillating function. Space heaters make it incredibly easy to heat one room at a time for comfort, which can save you money during the cold winter months. Here’s how.

Heating your entire home can be expensive

As VGRZ reported in September 2022, winter heating costs are forecast to increase by 50% in 2022-2023. due to several different factors. Of course, inflation served to make almost everything more expensive, and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine also has an impact. Russia is the main producer of natural gas for Europe, but because they are cut off from selling to the rest of Europe, the United States exports more of its supplies abroad. So if you have natural gas heating (and you probably do, if you live in a cold place like I do), keeping your heating on lower will save you money.

How easily do you achieve and maintain lower overall temperatures at home? One great way is to install a programmable thermostat so you can set the temperature in your home and rely on technology to adjust it as needed. In addition, you can set different temperatures for different times of the day; it hardly makes sense to heat your home to a cozy temperature for socializing if you’re at work all day, so you might decide to turn down the heat on weekdays while you’re out.

But if you’re a renter like me, you may not have the ability to install a new thermostat, and your landlord may not want to get one either. But a space heater can help you more closely regulate the temperature in the room you’re actually in. The two rooms where I spend most of my time are my home office (I work from home) and my bedroom. I keep the central heating off and rely on a space heater in each of these rooms to keep them comfortable.

Space Heater Safety Tips

It would be remiss of me not to quickly give you a few tips for starting your heater more safely. If you leave the room, be sure to turn it off and consider turning it off. Supervise children and curious pets. Make sure your heater is placed at least a few feet away from flammable objects and avoid plugging it into an extension cord. Don’t run a space heater overnight (it’s worth buying one with a built-in timer). Finally, look for space heaters that come with safety features. The two I have will actually shut off if pushed or knocked over.

Other ways to save

There are other moves you can make to save on heating costs – I rely on these as well as my space heaters. Note that you may also qualify for government help with your heating bills.

Reduce the heat

I keep my central heating at 64 degrees, but I know people who have it lower than this. However, you want to make sure your pipes don’t freeze; Jerry’s Insurance Agency recommends that consumers keep their homes no colder than 55 degrees in the winter.

Seal cracks and openings where heat can escape

If you have a large gap under the door and you can feel cold air coming in, you know warm air is also coming out. Now it’s time to get rid of the weather and draft shields. Many of the windows in my apartment are in bad shape, and as such I hang clear plastic sheeting in the fall and leave it until spring. In the immortal words of my father, “We don’t pay to heat the outside!”

Sign up for budget billing

After living in my current rental for a year, I was eligible to get a budget billing plan through my utility company. The company averaged out my annual costs, and now I pay the same amount every month. Since I also tried to reduce my expenses last winter, the amount I pay per month is quite reasonable. If budgeting is available to you, I recommend it. It’s great to be able to create a monthly budget based on predictable expenses.

If you decide to pick up a space heater and implement the other tips mentioned above, you can save money on your heating costs this winter and stay warmer at the same time. What’s not to like about it?

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