This year, to try and save oil costs, I'm attempting zonal heating of
the room most occupied in my house, about 120 sq feet, using a Honeywell
portable electric heater placed roughly in the center of the floor.
Currently, I'm operating the heater on the lowest, 750 watt setting, and
it's maintaining a fairly comfortable 70 F with outdoor temps around 47
F. It has been running continuously for 7 hours. However, I don't
think this will be efficient enough once temps drop more, and the idea
is to run the heater less if possible. Since only one person occupies
this room (me), does anyone have any quick and dirty tips for better
insulating the room? I could easily get by, for example, using just
half of the room space. I have to be careful with spending... if I have
to go and buy too much insulation, then that will undo the costs I'm
trying to save. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
replying to JBI, Iggy wrote:
Spend your money on the ceiling and circulate the room's air with a small fan
aimed at the ceiling. Hot air rises, so you want to retain the heat for as long
as possible...this is what insulation does, it doesn't "stop" anything. If you
have access to an attic above the ceiling, then Batt insulation will be your
best value. If you can't insulate anything but the room itself, then Rigid Foam
Panels are your only choice and can be screwed or glued directly to the ceiling.
Even 1-inch thick Rigid Foam Panels with an R-value of just 4 will make a
noticeable difference and the Home Improvement stores have them starting at
about $15 each for a 4-foot by 8-foot panel. 2-inch thick panels are, of course,
just about double the R-value and cost. If the ceiling isn't quite enough and
you feel a breeze or drafts, then you'd do the same to any exterior wall(s) as
your next course of action. Sorry but, blankets and rugs tacked anywhere don't
do much of anything.
You know what, I have a ceiling fan right there and have forgotten all
about its possible use! So, I've just started it with the blades going
clockwise (which is reversed from what it was). Now I'll see if that
makes any difference.
With the one of the highest electric rates in the country here in CT.
that electric heater would cost more than running my oil burner for the
Your heater on low would cost me 16 cents an hour. You do have to
maintain the rest of the house above freezing too.
Your 7 hours is about 17,500 BTU of energy. I would use 23 cents in oil
to generate that heat versus $1.12 for electric. My point is, your
savings overall may be less than anticipated and you will be living in a
half room like a prisoner in solitary.
To insulate more you can put up some foam panels on the outside wall or
hang a drop cloth or curtains to block off part of the room. Be sure
you have plenty of roof insulation in the entire house as that is the
biggest heat loser.
On Monday, November 20, 2017 at 2:47:10 PM UTC-5, Ed Pawlowski wrote:
The poster doesn't say what size the whole house is, but if they closed
off the vents in unused rooms, etc, with the differential in the cost
between electric and other heat, they could probably keep the whole place
going for the same amount or less than the cost of the electric heater.
The entire house is about 900 sq feet. Currently, the oil burner is set
at minimum, which means it won't come on unless the temp drops to 48 F.
I was going to try living another winter this way to save fuel costs,
but I'm having a tough time with the cold even with layered clothing.
So, I decided to try keeping the aforementioned room at 70 F with the
700 W floor heater while keeping the rest of the house at minimal
thermostat. The heater is on a timer for 16 hours/ day. Today it
wasn't that cold and it ran most of that time. I do have some unused
100% light blocking curtains I once used for my darkroom so maybe I'll
try stringing those up.
What is your electricity rate? I pay about 21 cents kW and that heater
would cost more to run than oil for the entire house. I just got oil
last week for $2.30.
Look for ways to cut the heat in unused rooms. Close the baseboard
dampers or the valve to radiators. Be prepared to be shocked at the
On Monday, November 20, 2017 at 8:24:12 PM UTC-5, Ed Pawlowski wrote:
Maybe buy a kill-a-Watt meter for $20 to measure what the electric heater i
s costing. If it's running constant when it's 47f outside, that doesn't sou
nd good. Closing vents so the one room is warmer and using oil might be ab
out the same, but also would make the other rooms warmer.
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