Using Infrared Heaters to Cut Home Heating Costs

New solutions to old problems are often born out of necessity. This is absolutely the case in our home heating predicament. We purchased an old farmhouse 5 years ago; apparently the previous owner threw in the winter drafts in for free. Our first winter in the house was quite a wake-up call; we filled our oil tank 7 times that winter! Heating oil was no where near the cost today, but it still was quite a dent in our budget.

Since that time, we have gradually added updates to our home to cut down our heating bills. We have installed replacement windows on all 24 windows in the house, we added storm doors and better insulated entry doors, added insulation to the basement, and we have added insulation to the outside walls of the 4 rooms we have remodeled so far. It is absolutely a step in the right direction; the winter-time drafts in our home are no longer strong enough to blow out a lit candle, and last year we only refilled our oil tank a total of 5 times.

This year the oil prices have jumped so much that we were absolutely shell-shocked when we filled our tank for the first time back in September. We have decided to turn down the thermostat to 62 degrees until we could research cost-effective ways we could supplement our forced air heating system. We looked first towards pellet stoves and wood burning stoves. This idea was quickly ruled out because of the labor costs to install and vent the new heaters into our home. Plus, we knew we would be purchasing fuel to burn, and while it would be cheaper than heating oil, it would still be inconvient. Lastly, we were looking for something that would be safe for my 4-year-old son and our labrador, and we were afraid of the safety issues that a hot stove may create.

Next we turned to electric “fireplaces”, and while they seemed a little better, we felt that they were not very efficient for their size and cost. They are rather large, and take some installation to put them in. It seemed that any of the fireplaces worth getting were out of our price range. The alternative seemed to be the small portable heaters- either the convection or ceramic types. Again we were worried about putting these in our home, because they all get hot to the touch, and when I have used them in the past, they seemed to really create problems with dry air and static electricity the more they were used, and they only heated a small area relative to their size.

Then we came upon infrared heaters- we were intrigued by the first website we saw because it claimed that the unit did not get hot to the touch, and because it was not using forced air, no humidity was being lost in your home. One of the main companies of infrared heaters is Edenpure, who states that infrared heaters were developed with three principles in mind; economy, comfort, and safety- exactly what we were searching for!

The heater works when electricity generates infrared light, which is the safest form of heat because it does not get hot, as described here. Also, infrared technology requires less energy to create heat, making it much more economical to run that other forms of heat. If you run the infrared heater all day at full power, you will see an increase in approximately $1.50- $2.00 a day. We doubt that you will ever use the heater that much, however. We purchased a unit that will heat up to 1000 square feet. It heats up very quickly; you can feel the warmth in about 5 minutes from turning the heater on. The air is not dry like it usually is, and my son is not getting nose bleeds and sinus problems like he usually does during the winter months. Over the past few months since receiving our heater, we have noticed a change in our electric bill of approximately $0.30 a day, so not bad considering we have our furnace thermostat set at 60 degrees now.

Another feature that we like in the infrared heater is the size and portability of it- it weighs less than 30 pounds, and is on casters, so we can move the heater very easily if we are going to another room. The outside is a black plastic with wood front, and really is not all that noticable in a room. We purchased the ComfortZone Heater 1500P, which can be viewed here. It is very quiet to run; we often forget it is on. Our goal is to save at least one oil tank fill-up this year, which will more than pay for the heater itself. The way we are going, we are looking forward to purchasing a smaller infrared heater for our bedroom next year! Infrared heaters are a wonderfully safe, and effective way to supplement your home heating system- and best of all, they won’t break your budget!