Thursday, September 17, 2015

Economical Portable Ceramic Electric Heaters

Lasko Ceramic Heater
with Adjustable Thermostat
Portable Ceramic Electric Heaters

A Guest Post by Charles Pogue

As home heating costs continue to creep, or maybe more accurately, leap upward, many families have begun to use portable electric heaters to heat rooms individually, or only the rooms they use most, and only when they use them.

Last year, through the winter, we did not turn on the central heating unit in our home.  Instead, we heated the rooms in which we spent most of our time with three small economical electrical heaters. This approach has reduced our heating costs by more than fifty percent over the previous year. Electrical heaters are not the power hogs they were when I was a growing up years ago. And since they are small and portable, we can move them to other rooms when needed.

The cost of electrical heaters is surprisingly low. My wife and I both work at home, and keep our office cozy and warm with one small ceramic heater that cost just over twenty dollars. The heater has two power settings, with the temperature thermostatically controlled. For safety, the unit has an automatic cutoff switch on the bottom. If the heater should get tipped over, or if we want to readjust the position of the heater, which stays cool on the outside, by the way, it immediately shuts off. What convenience!

Comfort Zone CZ442

When it is cold, we have one of these small heaters made by Comfort Zone in the office, an additional one in the living room that heats the living and dining area, plus an oil-filled radiator heaters in the kitchen.

I really like the Comfort Zone heater, since it has an automatic overheat protection system built in, and automatically cuts off if it is tipped over or picked up.

Last winter, we had a few weeks when the temperatures did not get above freezing, and lows that dipped to twenty degrees on several nights. These three electric heaters have done their job, and our electric bill was less than $200.00 each month, as opposed to nearly $400 per month the previous winter during the coldest months.

We have both the Lasco heaters and the Comfort Zone heaters in my home, and use them both. I am not claiming that we can necessarily heat the whole house this way for the entire winter at half the cost than the central unit. As I said, we only heat the rooms we are using at the time. By selectively heating rooms, we saved money all through the winter months last year, and expect to do so again this year.

Today’s electric room heaters have a lot going for them. In addition to the low to reasonable purchase prices, safety features, and thermostatic heat controls (some even come with remote controls), some of the nicer infrared quartz heaters, at a cost of less than $250.00 per unit are very attractive pieces of furniture, coming in a nice oak, cherry, or black finish. I have heard, though, that the infrared quartz heaters really soak up the electricity, so they may not be the best way to go. Personally, I will stay with the ceramic heaters. They work well, and are low cost to run. By shopping around on the Internet, free shipping is not hard to find either.

Small Ceramic Heaters

The small Lasko heaters mentioned in the first paragraph each warm up to a thousand square feet. They provide that heat for a modest price of twelve to fourteen cents per hour. Let’s be liberal and say one runs each of three of these nice ceramic heaters for sixteen hours per day. That’s real generous. They will not run anywhere close to that amount of time unless one sets the heat at cookie baking temperature. The average operating cost of these heaters is 13₵ per hour. Heating three thousand square feet for a month would cost $187.20. I don’t know about yours, but my heating bill with the central unit is about double that amount!

In these days when the prices at the grocery store, gas pump, and everywhere else are higher than they once were, we all want to save where we can. Considering ditching the central heating unit for portable electric heaters is one option to think about.   

Have you used small ceramic heaters to stay warm? What is your experience?

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