When the deep winter hits and the temperatures drop, the attention turns to how we’re going to heat our homes.
With energy costs continually increasing in the United States, heating and cooling become exceedingly more expensive. It’s not so surprising that people want to know which method is the most cost-effective for heating a house and not having to cringe at the upcoming electric bills.
The U.S. Department of Energy states that heating and cooling combined account for a whopping 48% of energy use on average, making it the most considerable energy expense.
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Electricity as a primary power source for home heating remains popular in the U.S., with an estimated 36% of households using it as their primary heating fuel source. It’s important to know that 100% of all the energy produced by electricity is turned into heat, meaning that it definitely and without question outperforms the alternative sources and does not generate waste.
If you are interested in switching your heating supply for something more cost-effective but unsure which is best, check out this expert guide to the most cost-effective ways to heat your home with electricity.
The Cheapest Way to Heat a House with Electricity?
Whether it’s a spot in your home that the heat just doesn’t reach or an office that stays chilly year-round, electric space heaters will help you keep warm. Most space heaters are lightweight and compact, and easy to move around.
It is proven that switching off your furnace entirely and using only electric heaters as you need them could significantly cut the electric bills. Modern space heaters are also very efficient and can put out a substantial amount of heat in a short period. By picking and choosing where and when to heat your space, you gain much greater control over your comfort and energy consumption.
Buy an energy-efficient space heater
Why waste money on heating the whole house if you only use a small portion of it?
Set your thermostat a few degrees down and buy a space heater for the rooms you spend the most time in. Modern space heaters are lightweight and portable, so you can easily take it along as you change places.
Not every space heater is designed to save you money, and some older models require vast amounts of electricity to operate. Before buying one, check to see if it has energy-saving features like a timer or a built-in thermostat. Avoid purchasing a space heater that only has a basic on/off function. You want a unit that can sense the temperature around it and shut off after reaching a designated limit.
Most space heaters available on the market come with built-in safety features, including a tip-over switch. You do not have to worry about an accident occurring in the event the heater tips over. It will only turn off.
Remember, never run a space heater unless you’re home. They can be a fire hazard if left unattended.
When Does Electrical Heating Make Sense?
Your climate should be the main deciding factor in judging whether electricity is the best heating option. It often makes sense in warm and milder temperatures where there is less demand for prolonged heating.
In general, electrical heating is cheaper to install than gas, has no maintenance costs, and lasts up to 50% longer than the average gas boiler.
However, in cold climates, using electricity to heat homes is generally more expensive than natural gas. Natural gas heating does not take as long to reach its maximum heat output, and natural gas is usually cheaper.
Other Ways to Reduce Costs
Buy a smart thermostat
Using an old-fashioned thermostat is not the best idea nowadays. A programmable thermostat can help reduce utility costs by turning your HVAC system on when you anticipate being home and off when you don’t think you’ll need indoor climate control. The government’s Energy Star program estimates that people can save $180 a year using a programmable thermostat.
You can also go the extra mile and invest in a smart thermostat, like a Nest or Ecobee. These range from $139 to $199 for the most basic models and your utility company might even provide a rebate if you purchase one.
Having a smart thermostat will have a significant impact on how comfortable you are in your home and your household budget.
Use the Sunlight
You can’t compare the winter sun to what you’ll get on a beach in summer, but it still can provide some warmth. So when the sun is out, and you are indoors, try opening up your blinds to warm up the room with some sunlight.
The walls and floors will absorb the little sunlight heat coming through during the day. Choosing thermal curtains and keeping them closed in the morning will prevent any heat from escaping your room, as the early morning brings low temperatures.
Making fair use of the direct sunlight will help retain a relatively warm space.
Insulate your attic
Unless your home was built for energy efficiency, you could probably reduce your energy bills by adding extra insulation. Many older homes have less insulation than homes built today, but even adding insulation to a newer home can pay for itself within a few years.
Depending on your budget, you can have your attic insulated by professional services or do it yourself.
Insulating the house is a long-term investment, and you should see an energy usage decrease for the rest of the year.
Invest in Warm Clothes
Wearing warm clothes is the best alternative to paying substantial utility bills in cold months. To keep your body warm, you can wear layers of thick clothes made of cotton, wool, or fleece. Add extra blankets to your bed, and consider an electric one! It costs pennies to run an electric blanket all night.
These small adjustments can save you hundreds and even thousands of dollars over a few short years.