Winter is officially here, and this year it’s already brought record low temperatures to the east coast. This means that home owners are considering the annual question, “how do I keep my family warm and comfortable this year without messing up our yearly 2017 budget by February?”
If you’re looking to avoid a high heating bill, you may be considering supplemental methods of heating your home this winter.
We’re going to take a look at some of the options for heating your home and see what the pros and cons are of each.
Before there were HVAC units and space heaters, fireplaces were the preferred method of keeping homes warm in the winter. Dating back to ancient times, humans from every culture have used various forms of fireplaces to heat their homes, cook their food, or gather around socially with family and friends.
While the fireplace has been an important part of many homes, it did have a number of inconveniences and even dangers that had to be improved upon. Fireplaces required a great deal of upkeep and would sometimes lose more heat up the chimney than they created with drafts coming from the chimney. The smoke that fireplaces emit can also be detrimental to the health of the people that live in the home.
- Gas Fireplaces
Modern non-wood burning fireplaces have found ways to heat homes without the setbacks of their predecessors. A gas fireplace will produce a large amount of heat. Not enough for a whole home but enough to fill a room. You can save money by using a gas fireplace to heat only one room in the house instead of heating the entire house.
Since gas fireplaces aren’t dependent on electricity, they work during a power outage. That means even though your lights will be off you won’t be suffering from the cold — small victory.
- Electric Fireplaces
An electric fireplace is a cheaper option and does not require a chimney because the heat dissipates directly into the room. They require no installation and can be moved from room to room.
While all of the heat from an electric fireplace will go straight into a room, it still provides about the same amount of heat as a space heater. So it’s possible that the electric heater will not be worth the hassle or space it takes up for the heat it provides.
Fireplaces can definitely help with the heating of a home, but only one room at a time. This becomes a problem if you are constantly moving from room to room, making the fireplace a less than ideal option.
- Space Heaters
If fireplaces don’t seem like the right fit for your home, you might want to consider using a space heaters. A space heater is an indoor heater that is designed to warm a single room or a small space.
There are all kinds of space heaters that come in different shapes and sizes, with outputs ranging from 10,000 BTU to 40,000 BTU. They are typically electric and many are portable enough to be moved from one room to another. Here are two common types of space heaters, radiant and convection heaters.
- Radiant Space Heaters
Radiant space heaters work by directly heating only nearby objects. A radiant space heater won’t heat a whole room but it can work very well if you’re sitting next to it for an extended time. By heating only a specific area radiant space heaters are energy efficient and great for drafty areas.
- Convection Heaters
Convection space heaters work a little differently than the radiant ones. Heat from a convection heater will circulate heat around the room using an internal fan that blows air across the heating element. They are more convenient for rooms with more than one person or if you have to be up moving around. Because they use a fan they are louder than radiant heaters.
- Space Heater Safety
Before you go to the store to purchase the space heater that suits your needs, you’ll first want to consider the issues that come with owning a space heater. Aside from their very limited heating area, space heaters can also pose a safety risk. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety commission, more than 25,000 residential house fires each year are associated with space heaters, which result in about 300 deaths annually. There are also around 6,000 emergency room visits every year that are due to burns from space heaters.
Does this mean that every space heater will burn your home down or give you severe burns? Of course not. There are safety precautions that homeowners can take to keep that from happening. It’s important if you’re going to own a space heater that you learn about how to use it safely and avoid fire hazards.
Money Savings from Your HVAC System
While all of these supplemental heating units offer their own unique advantages, the best way to save on your monthly heating bill will always be to invest in your primary heating system.
You know a professional heating system tuneup not only prevents costly breakdowns that leave you out in the cold. However, a heating tuneup also restores your system to maximum efficiency—meaning you save every month. Contact us for a professional heating system tune-up.
Advanced thermostats, like programmable thermostats and wifi thermostats, give you complete control over your heating system, meaning you never spend money heating an empty house. Since you use less heat, you can expect to save between 10% and 20% on your heating bills every month.
There are many ways to supplement the home heating that will save help you save money. Check out our options for a furnace tuneup and new thermostat options. We make sure that you are both warm and saving this winter!
Contact us at (609) 546-3185 to help you come up with a winter heating plan for your home.