We certainly don't have to remind you, but it's COLD! It's safe to say winter is here to stay with temperatures reaching below zero, and the winter winds turning northwest North Dakota into the arctic. It may be your first instinct to turn up your furnace to a higher temperature, but if you're looking for a more cost-effective way to heat, we've got you covered!
Portable Space Heater vs. Electric Blanket
Portable space heaters are perfect for adding a little more heat to a room, but did you know they eat up electricity far quicker than you'd expect? A standard 1500 Watt space heater running for 5 hours per day will cost you around $14-15 per month which can add up quickly by the end of the year.
Another alternative for more efficient heating is an electric blanket. With standard wattages around 200-400 Watts, electric blankets use significantly less energy than space heaters. In comparison, monthly increases to your bill for running an electric blanket for 5 hours per day will cost you a little under $2 per month.
While each option comes down to personal preference, it never hurts to be energy conscience to avoid a surprise on your electric bill this winter. If you're shopping for a space heater or electric blanket, use this energy use calculator before you purchase to help determine the impact your preferred heating option. When figuring energy use, you will need the estimated hours an appliance will be running per day, the Wattage of the appliance, and the energy charge applicable to your service (residential MEC rate: 0.0620).
Keep these safety tips in mind if you're plugging in a space heater or electric blanket:
- Clear the area around your space heater. Make sure the heater is at least 3 feet away from flammable items like furniture and curtains
- Use a space heater with a guard around the element to avoid items falling into the heating element and combusting
- Be sure the heater has an automatic shut-off switch if it tips over
- Never leave a space heater unattended
- ALWAYS inspect power cords before plugging them in. If the cord is frayed, you're missing a ground, or the prongs of the plug are damaged do not plug it in and seek replacement
- To keep the internal wires in good shape, don't overfold the blanket or crease it too sharply
- Purchase an electric blanket with an automatic shut-off built in
- Never leave your blanket on and unattended
- Inspect your blanket for discolorations, frayed fabric or exposed wires before use.
Additional Energy Efficiency Measures
- Install a heat meter to get a discounted heat rate through winter
- Consider a ground-source or air-source heat pup that will heat your home in the winter and cool in the summer
- Install a programmable thermostat to control your home's temperature when you're gone
- Weather-proof your home with insulation, caulk and weather stripping around windows, doors, and vents
- Replace your furnace filter regularly. Dirty filters force your furnace to work harder and use more energy