During the frigid winter, we depend largely on our furnaces and space heaters to keep our homes warm and cozy. While it is true that electricity usage can spike substantially with all the heating appliances in use, it is important to recognize methods by which we can reduce wasted energy and overall electricity expense as well as staying safe.
In the best interest of spreading the word about energy conservation and safety with space heaters, we?ve compiled a list of the 21 best tips to follow to keep warm during those chilly months.
Use Care and Discretion When Purchasing
Quality is important when purchasing space heaters. Try to get approved, tested, safe heaters that are appropriate for your needs. Variable settings, timers and tip-over switches are also a major plus. Energy efficient and electricity-saving models can also save you money in the long run.
Inspect your Heaters Carefully
The first time you pull out your heaters in the winter, check for frayed cords, loose plugs, loose wiring, damaged components, dust, debris and anything else that might pose a hazard when you begin using the appliance. If any problems are present and cannot be resolved, it’s time to get a new heater.
Keep it Stable
Keep your heater on a flat, stable surface on the ground. Not only will it keep the unit from tipping over, it will ensure the most efficient, consistent heating without electrical interruption due to safety tip-over switches.
Keep it Clear of Flammables
It seems like the first, most obvious rule, but it is ignored so often that heaters have become the most dangerous fire hazard in the home. Keep your heater at least 3 feet away from anything else that might burn or catch fire, including walls.
Use the Proper Settings
If your heater has multiple settings or other programmable options, make sure you set it to function the best way for your purposes. For example, if you only need moderate warmth for a small room, consider a medium setting rather than cranking it up to the highest notch on the dial.
Don’t Cover the Cord
Keep the cord free of obstruction and completely uncovered. Not only could the cord overheat if it were covered by a rug or other such object, but it presents hazards that could cause tripping, or cause the unit to tip over or become unplugged while running.
Follow the Instructions
Your space heater will come with a manual that will typically go beyond the simplest basic instructions for use. Many guides will offer tips for the most efficient use of the heater, electricity-saving methods for use and important safety instructions. Follow these tips, as well as being mindful of warnings and cautionary labels on the machine itself.
Maintain Temperatures, Don’t Manage Them
Rather than simply turning on your heater full blast when it’s cold, and turning it off when it’s too hot, consider finding a happy medium where you are maintaining a consistent temperature in your home rather than managing it when it becomes uncomfortable. This will prolong the life of your heating appliances, as well as conserve energy, heat and save money on your electric bill.
Use other Methods of Warmth When You Can
When it’s not cold enough for a heater, but still chilly in your home, there’s no substitute for a cozy blanket and a hot cup of coffee or cocoa. Always consider warming yourself with non-electrical means before employing energy.
Remember–They are Called “Space” Heaters
One of the most common misuses of space heaters comes from the attempt to heat entire homes or large rooms with space heaters. Such actions will almost surely cause power surges, waste energy, waste heat and create safety hazards. Remember to use space heaters to heat only the space you’re using.
Unplug Heaters That Aren’t in Use
You’re saving electricity and ensuring your safety when you keep unused heaters unplugged.
Turn Them Off When you Leave
Never leave a heater on when you’re not there. It’s simply a waste of electricity and heat, not to mention a fire hazard.
Use Care in Bathrooms and Kitchens
Electricity and moisture don’t mix. Use extra caution when using space heaters in areas of your home where water could come in contact with the unit.
Don’t Overload Your Outlets
Avoid plugging in more than one heater into an outlet, and if possible, in the same room. Outlets can become quickly overloaded to a dangerous degree with too many heaters plugged in, especially when other appliances are present as well.
Ensure Proper Use of Outlets
Ensure the plug fits snugly into the outlet to avoid wasting electricity. Never plug your space heater into an extension cord, always use a wall outlet.
Central Heat vs. Local Heat
Use discretion when deciding whether it’s best to use your central heat system or space heaters. While small heating units will typically use less electricity than central heat, you should lean toward overall efficiency for keeping your home comfortable.
Fireplaces Can Waste Heat
40 ? 60 percent of the heat from a fireplace is actually wasted up the chimney, especially when combined with the air being sucked from the room while a fire is burning and the chimney is open. Consider using an energy efficient gas fireplace instead.
Insulation Saves Electricity
The more insulated your home is, the easier it is to maintain comfortable temperatures and achieve proper air circulation and heating. Proper insulation means less electricity as your appliances and central air and heating have easier jobs.
Seal Those Leaky Windows
Another method of conserving heat and air in your home is keeping your windows sealed. Heat can easily escape through leaks in your window seals, as well as letting those chilly drafts inside. Hold a lit incense stick near your window seals, and the leaks will become apparent as the smoke will shift strongly near those hidden drafts.
Keep Your Furnace Well Maintained
Your furnace should be inspected and serviced once a year. Ensuring proper maintenance of your heating systems will keep your electricity costs lower throughout each year, as well as maintaining the most efficient heating for your home.
Don’t Trade Comfort for Lower Bills
If you cringe at the thought of cranking up that heater as you anticipate the damage on your electric bill, you might actually have another option: See if you can achieve a lower rate on electricity. You should never have to sacrifice your comfort because of your energy bills.
Keep these tips in mind when staying warm this winter to ensure that you and your family stays safe when using your space heater or furnace.