How efficient is electric comfort heating and can it save me money?

All electric heaters (resistive heaters) are 100% efficient.  Electric Heat is 100% energy efficient in that all the incoming electric energy is converted to heat. They only differ in the way they distribute it into the house. The only exception is that some convective heaters (i.e. a wall heater or unit heater) have a fan that uses a small amount of the electricity.

The question you want to ask is how electric heat is going to affect your utility bills. There is no one answer but guidelines and energy saving tips. (There are too many variables to the equation.)  Many of our customers use their electric heaters to do everything they can to keep their furnace from turning on.  Firing up a large furnace, especially one greater than 80,000 takes a large amount of gas that is not used for heat because the blower does not start immediately.  Also forced air will put heat into all those rooms that you are desperately trying to keep as cold as possible. (the true key to saving money is minimizing the heat loss from as many walls, floors, windows and ceilings as possible.) The colder a particular room is, the smaller the amount of heat that is lost to the outdoors.

• Are you able to zone by having as many areas of the house as possible as cold as possible without freezing your pipes?
• What is the climate in your area?
• What are you paying for Electricity in your area? (Most likely you are paying between 3 cents to 15 cents per Kilowatt hour or (KWH)
• How many hours a day are you going to run the heaters?
• What is the wattage of the heaters?
• How well insulated is the house?
• Will the electric heaters keep your furnace from turning on at times or all the time?

There are three types of electric heaters: radiant, convective and conductive. Their efficiency is totally equivalent due to the fact, regardless of its type,  they produce the same amount of BTU’s per watt delivered to the heater. Electric room heaters may be radiant, convective, or some combination of the two. The quantity of heat produced is proportional towards quantity of electrical power the heater consumes. The only difference between a variety of space heaters is the type of heat they produce.

Ideas to reduce heating bills:

• Turn down your thermostat, especially at night and unoccupied hours – every degree you can decrease your temperature setting will save you 2% to 4% in your heating bill
• Open your drapes during the biggest sunlight hours and close them at night
• Caulk around window, doors, and wherever air may leak in or out of the house
• Insulation in the attic (Many of our customers are installing 24″ of blown in fiberglass with great results and tax savings)
• Use Programmable Thermostats which automatically set back the temperature at night.