How much could an electric heater really add to my bill?

“I’m so tired of paying such high fuel bills in the winter. I’m thinking of turning down my thermostat and plugging in a few electric heaters. Is this a good idea?” asked a member recently.
The short answer is no. The cost to fill your fuel tank may seem high, but, in the long run, it will cost less than substituting that heat with a few electric heaters. Just think: a 1,200-watt electric heater left on for just a few hours each day will add about $30 per month to your electric bill. And if you left the heater on 12 hours each day, you could add $120 to your monthly bill. Now multiply that by a few heaters. Yikes!

Here are a few inexpensive things you can do to cut back on your fuel bill:

  1. Put on a sweater. This sounds cheesy, but you’ll save a lot just by turning down your thermostat a couple degrees.
  2. Install programmable (a.k.a. set-back) thermostats. There’s no need to heat an empty house to 70 degrees. Also, when you are sleeping, set the thermostat back a few degrees. HomeDepot created a great video explaining how to install programmable thermostats, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owV0t_8zNpk.
  3. Make sure doors and windows are sealed tight. Here’s another great video about sealing windows and doors: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fsi_7kyTi4s&feature=related.

This heater looks innocent, but it has the potential to add a shocking amount to your electric bill.

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