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Old 11-16-2008, 12:05 PM   #1
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What is more efficient?


Hi-
Our house has gas heat. Last week I was in the attic, and found a fake fireplace that is electric. It says 120V/60Hz/1500W on the back, runs a fan out of the bottom, and has a thermostat. It's just my wife and I in the house, and she was asking if it would save us money to turn down the heat and just use the electric fireplace. The top has controls for fan, thermostat, and two switches that you can turn on and off that say 750 Watts.

Someone suggested using an electric blanket at night. Night time sleeping temperature is not the problem, it's during the day or evening that we mainly need the heat.

A couple of questions:
1. would this thing end up costing us more to run than relying on our gas? Our house is two story, the upstairs only has a master bedroom. We typically program our heat to run anywhere from 65 (at night) to 69 during the day. We live in Charlotte, NC.
2. Last night I had it plugged into an outlet that also has our TV/home entertainment system. We had all of them going at once, and it blew a fuse. I'm assuming I need to try another outlet?

I would appreciate any help!
Thanks, Brent

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Old 11-16-2008, 12:20 PM   #2
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What is more efficient?


How much for a kwh of elec. in your area? How much for gas heat (dollars per Therm)?

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Old 11-16-2008, 12:20 PM   #3
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What is more efficient?


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Originally Posted by bsmith6356 View Post
Hi-
Our house has gas heat. Last week I was in the attic, and found a fake fireplace that is electric. It says 120V/60Hz/1500W on the back, runs a fan out of the bottom, and has a thermostat. It's just my wife and I in the house, and she was asking if it would save us money to turn down the heat and just use the electric fireplace. The top has controls for fan, thermostat, and two switches that you can turn on and off that say 750 Watts.

Someone suggested using an electric blanket at night. Night time sleeping temperature is not the problem, it's during the day or evening that we mainly need the heat.

A couple of questions:
1. would this thing end up costing us more to run than relying on our gas? Our house is two story, the upstairs only has a master bedroom. We typically program our heat to run anywhere from 65 (at night) to 69 during the day. We live in Charlotte, NC.
2. Last night I had it plugged into an outlet that also has our TV/home entertainment system. We had all of them going at once, and it blew a fuse. I'm assuming I need to try another outlet?

I would appreciate any help!
Thanks, Brent
Based on the electrical costs in most of the US, that electric heater is going to cost you about .15 to .20 cents per hour to run.

That 1500 watt heater / fireplace thing is only going to put heat into one room of average size, depending on how cold it is out and how much insulation you have, it might have to run quite a bit to keep up. Once in a while I use a small 1500 watt heater in my bed room when I have the furnace off at night, if it is cold out, that little heater can easily run continously all night. At around .15 cents an hour or about $1.20 to run it all night, does it save me any money in gas? Well, maybe, in the dead of wisconsin winter gas can cost me $400 a month or $13 a day, or almost $5 for that same 8 hour period. So I think it does save some in my case.

The biggest problem with your situation is that little fire place thing at 1500 watts is only going to heat up one room. If you just want a little heat added to one moderate size room, it may be helpful.

Consider your normal gas bill, and compare that to what the heater costs to run based on what I told you above. Then try it and see if it can warm the area you want heated.

You need to plug it into a different circuit. Try a different room.

To give you something to compare to, (and it is more complicated that just power, vents and fans are very much invloved in the furnace setup as well) an average electric furnace for example is going to be atleast 10 times as powerful as that little heater, so you can see how that little heater isn't really likely to make much of a dent.

Jamie
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Old 11-16-2008, 12:37 PM   #4
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What is more efficient?


With todays gas prices, I do not believe that gas is actually more ecconomical than electric. However I do believe that it is always cheeper to just heat the room you are in rather than the entire house. If you plan to say heat just the living room to about 68 and turn the rest of the house down to say 62 to 65 you would probably save money.

Your problem is that the heater you have draws 13 amps by itself. If your home has fuses then it is not likley that your living room has more than one electrical circuit.

I advise with the National Fire Protection Association, that you do not use extension cords for any perminant or semi perminant wiring methods. In other words, extension cords are for running power tools while you are using them. Anything that will be left plugged in for any longer period of time should be plugged into a wall outlet.

I too live in the south east US. Near New Bern, NC. I find that having just enough heat to help dry the air provides enough comfort to keep the actual temperature turned down a couple degrees.

I suggest you try the electric heater using only half its capacity. (only turn on one of the 750 watt switches). In addition use the fan to keep the air circulating when the heat is running.

If you continue to have a problem blowing fuses, you will need to hire an electrician to do some wiring so that you can run this heater, or go back to keeping the main thermostat at it's current settings.
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Old 11-16-2008, 02:08 PM   #5
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What is more efficient?


A kwh =~ 3400 BTU
A therm is 100,000 BTU
http://www.onlineconversion.com/energy.htm
At 10 cents per kwh a therm would have to cost you ~$3 to break even compared to using elec.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 11-16-2008 at 02:14 PM.
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