Deciding on the best way to lower your Seattle heating bill
The Northwest is having a colder-than-average-winter. Energy Star tells us that you can lower your heating by 15 percent when you turn the thermostat down by 10 to 15 degrees. That’s great advice in theory, but when you’re so cold you can’t concentrate, you’ll see it’s a lot harder in practice. Turning down your thermostat and supplementing with an electric space heater could help you save money more comfortably.
First, you need to understand a few things about space heaters:
- Space heaters are for heating small spaces where you spend most of your time.
- Never use an extension cord with an electric heater because of the danger of fire. Choose one with a long cord built in.
- Choose heaters with multiple wattage settings to save on electricity.
- Convection models are the safest and are not hot to the touch. They also heat a space quickly.
- Although not more efficient than a heat pump under normal conditions, when it gets very cold outside, heat pumps switch to electrical coil heating. This is much less efficient because it heats the whole house, not just the rooms you occupy.
Electricity rates change often vary by location. First, check your electric bill for your electricity cost per kilowatt-hour. To find out how much your daily cost would be, do the following:
- Multiply the wattage by the number of hours you use the heater.
- Divide the result by 1,000.
- Multiply the result by your electricity rate per kilowatt-hour.
How much would it cost to use an electric heater in your Seattle home?
According to BLS.gov’s December 2013 survey, the price of electricity in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton area was 9.4 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). If you choose a space heater with multiple wattage settings, typically 800W and 1500W, calculate the price this way:
The low setting is usually warm enough to make you comfortable:
- 800W x 24 hours = 19,200 (800W x 16 hours = 12,800 – you should multiply by 16 hours if you don’t have a convection heater and therefore must use it only during waking hours)
- 19,200/1,000 = 19.2 (12,800/1000 = 12.8)
- 19.2 x .094 = $1.80 per day (12.8 x .094 = $1.20)
On the high setting, it’s more expensive:
- 1,500W x 24 hours = 36,000 (1,500W x 16 hours = 24,000 – you should multiply by 16 hours if you don’t have a convection heater and therefore must use it only during waking hours)
- 36,000/1,000 = 36 (24,000/1,000 = 24)
- 36*.094 = $3.38 (24*.094=$2.26)
When compared to oil, wood and propane, either setting is pretty cheap. If you have a heat pump, your savings won’t be quite as big, but you’ll have the peace of mind that you already use the most efficient heating system available.
Contact MM Comfort Systems about installing a heat pump system to save money.
MM Comfort Systems can help you price different heating systems and choose the most affordable. Call us at 425.533.9058 or use our website’s contact form to schedule a free consultation.