Space Heater Safety and Cost of Operation
Blog Posted:11/19/2012 10:34:00 PM
It’s hard to curb the cost of so many things. One thing which seems to cost us an arm and leg is our electricity. If we learn to spot the things which use a lot of electricity It will be easier to save. We all know those huge costly items like air conditioners and heat pumps, and are probably already familiar, with how to save using them conservatively and wisely. Yet those are not where we can save the most unless we are willing to sacrifice comfort for what we save.
One area we can save without sacrifice is on space heaters and lighting. Until I computed the cost of what I was spending for the time they were on needlessly, I didn’t realize just how much I was wasting. The power company charges by what is known as a kilowatt hour. That is the cost of operating a 1000 watt device for one hour. All electrical devices have the watts printed on a tag in a conspicuous place on the item. Generally most power companies charge between 8 and 16 cents for one kilowatt/hour of electricity. They will tell you what their rate is. In fact it may be on the bill. Most of the small space heaters that have two settings have one element rated 1000 watts and one rated 600 watts. On low it would be 1000 watts and on high it would be 1600. UL says that the cord on these must be of sufficient size wire to not heat up under continuous use. I have written them several times asking why the plug is not considered to be just as important as the wire. I keep being told that the plug is not a problem. I have seen heaters in my own home melt the plug and misshape it to the point the wires inside the plug touch and burn in two. This is a very high potential for a fire and you should never leave one running on high while you sleep or while no one is at home. If you run one on high you should periodically grip the cord as if you are going to unplug it and note how hot it is. If it is hot then you should turn the heater off or if it has two heat settings put it on low.
For that reason I buy heaters with only one element no higher than 1000 watts. You can run these twenty four hours a day continuously without worry about it melting wires or plugs. Another thing—it is very easy to calculate how much a heater such as this will cost to operate. If you run it one hour, it is the equivalent of 1 kwh of electricity and as in my case it costs me 12 cents. If I have to run it 12 hours it will cost me a $1.44 cents. If I do that for 30 days the cost is $43.33. Then you think of your refrigerator, Electric range, washing machine, freezer, hot water heater, and all the kitchen gadgets which altogether may equal another of the major items. Generally your oven is about 5000 watt heating up and then maybe a couple of hundred to sustain the temperature. One of the eyes on the stove will run about two thousand watts on high and average about 300 to 500 sustaining the temperature.
If you have a single 100 watt light bulb which stays on 24 hours a day that is 2.4 kilowatt/hours. At 12 cents per kwh that light costs you 29 cents per day or $8.64 per month. Hey that is a couple of burger meals or about 60 miles driving a volkswagon. How many of those single bulbs do you have that needlessly burn constantly.