Electric or gas

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Electric or gas

Post by terrydec on Sun Nov 30, 2014 11:30 pm

A little background-

I live in a 1600 sq ft house built in the 50's.  The landlord has installed efficiency windows and drop ceilings with insulation.  However they have these stupid COZY gas heaters.  Most of the heat goes up the chimney.  My friend and I used a digital probe last Sunday and made some interesting discoveries.  Coming off the top of the heater it is 110.  Over the heat exhaust pipe it is 105.  That's how much heat is going outside.

There was a reason for doing all of this.  It was unusually cold last month, down in the 20's, so I turned on the gas heater in the bedroom for the first time.  I also have a 1500 watt space heater I've been carting around.  The gas heater was on low and for only two weeks.  The electric heater 24/7 most of the month.  When the bill came the electric went up only $12 and the gas went up over $100.  The last bill was $78.  This one was $158.

So today I went out and bought a tower ceramic heater and an electric blanket.  I've turned the gas heater off and I'm going to see if the electric heater and the blanket keep the bedroom comfortable.  Next month I'll see what the bill looks like and know if my gamble, or investment, paid off.  Both of them cost less than the difference in this month's gas bill.  Hopefully the electric won't go up as much as the gas would have.

We'll see.

BTW- today it was 70.  I hate buying new stuff I can't play with.
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Re: Electric or gas

Post by 75X11 on Tue Dec 02, 2014 4:58 pm

My only utility is electric and I consistently pay less than everyone I have spoken to. I use halogen radiant heaters when it gets severely cold here.
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Re: Electric or gas

Post by terrydec on Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:10 pm

I think I'm going to take the ceramic tower heater back and get two smaller all electric heaters.  It's warm enough right in front but my little electric heater that I've been carrying around puts out more heat in a larger area.

I wish these damn gas heaters weren't so damn inefficient.  I can't afford to have them on but I can't heat the entire room without them.  

Someone suggested one of those Amish heaters.  They cost as much as paying the gas bill. I can get gas heaters from my friend for $50 each that are a LOT more efficient but I'm afraid that the landlady will freak out if I hook them up.  There is a clause in the rental agreement about making major changes.  Plus she could charge that I am not a professional.
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Re: Electric or gas

Post by 75X11 on Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:14 pm

You don't want to take a chance on getting gassed with a auxiliary heater. One thing to consider is a small fan to blow the floor air up toward the ceiling to get the heat circulating. It sounds weird, but it works when you have convection heat.
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Re: Electric or gas

Post by terrydec on Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:25 pm

I have a fan but it worked better with the gas heaters because the heat that didn't go out the chimney went straight to the ceiling. These electric heaters aren't reaching the ceiling. My room temperature is 60 degrees. So far the smartest investment was the electric blanket.
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Re: Electric or gas

Post by 75X11 on Wed Dec 03, 2014 12:10 am

Well, your ceramic tower heater is/was a radiant heater. It isn't going to create much warm air. A resistive element forced air heater will heat air, but again you will have to move the air from the floor to the ceiling and around to get the max benefit. My house has ceiling fans and when I reverse the one in the living room and run the upper air to the floor, the thermometer rises 5 degrees in my living room. The exchange is what does it. I'll bet the gas heaters would do better enough to use only one forced air room heater. Also remember, you need some humidity to increase the effectiveness of your heat. I'll dry a couple or three items of clothing or dish towels on hangers in the bathroom to bolster the humidity, in addition to my Sears wick filter humidifier.
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Re: Electric or gas

Post by willy3486 on Wed Dec 03, 2014 8:18 am

We built this small room onto the house this past summer. We redid the porch and put the room on as well. We use the new room as a hobby room, My new workshop. Anyway the room is 16x16 and has no heat or cooling in it. So we went with one of the small room AC units on wheels. It worked out so well she wondered about this one like this for a heater.

infrared heater

The room has no blocks around it as it is built off the ground like the new porch. I do have insulation between the floor joists,walls and ceilings. But the tile floor would be cold. If we are not out there it is cool but not bad cold. But after we turn that on for a few minutes it gets really warm and the tiles are warm as well. As far as electric cost I don't know yet. But it works really well. I have never really been a fan of these small portable space heaters but this one works good. I don't think it is exactly like the one in the link but that style of heater is all over. I saw northern tool even has them now.

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Re: Electric or gas

Post by tuberadiogeek on Wed Dec 03, 2014 10:42 am

I can tell you a few things most people do not know or understand about heating appliances. Most standalone gas heaters are only about 60-65% efficient, meaning 60-65% of the heat goes into the structure and the 35-40% goes up the flue. Now if that were a radiant heater, it would be closer to 80-85% efficient however it should not be used constantly for long periods of time since it does deplete some oxygen out of the structure. For caparison, a furnace that still has a standing pilot is about efficient as a standard gas heater, but newer ones can be upwards of 95% efficient. Now with electric, they are 100% efficient, since every bit of electricity is turned to heat. Most standard electric heaters use nichrome wire and a fan and work good only if they are pointing directly on you since they heat the air. There are also oil filled and ceramic which heat oil and ceramic plates, they do a bit better than standard heaters but not much. Then there is the radiant heater, they usually have the "bulbs" (I can't remember the exact name off hand, it's been too long since i researched them) that glow brightly. Those are the best type IMO, because radiant heat does not heat the air,only people and objects. Just keep in mind no matter what type of heater you have they all use the same amount of electricity. Which is 1500 watts (on high), at 120 VAC that is 12.5 amps. Please keep in mind my numbers may be off slightly as it's been almost a year since I studied heating.
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Re: Electric or gas

Post by 75X11 on Wed Dec 03, 2014 1:22 pm

Here are Amazon's listings of Halogen radiant heaters. They use halogen infrared bulbs as opposed to resistive wire.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=halogen+heaters
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Re: Electric or gas

Post by terrydec on Wed Dec 03, 2014 2:07 pm

After a couple of days use I am not happy with the tower heater. Like someone mentioned above it doesn't actually blow out air, it just heats. I'm going to take it back and I think for the same price I can get two radiant heaters. More later.
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Re: Electric or gas

Post by 75X11 on Thu Dec 04, 2014 7:13 pm

Remember, the radiant heaters just heats what it radiates upon and the forced air heaters heat air for the ceiling.
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Re: Electric or gas

Post by tuberadiogeek on Thu Dec 04, 2014 7:47 pm

The way we were taught in school was radiant heat only heats people and objects. Which is why it is fairly effective for warming people directly. Unlike other types of heaters that are nichrome or ceramic that are so small they would take months to heat a large room. When it was cold in my house I would use a standard nichome heater pointed directly on me super close, and it would eventually warm me up. However not nearly like a radiant heater would.
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Re: Electric or gas

Post by 75X11 on Wed Dec 17, 2014 4:24 pm

How is the heater hunt going?
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Re: Electric or gas

Post by terrydec on Wed Dec 17, 2014 6:12 pm

75X11 wrote:How is the heater hunt going?

I bought a Holmes console heater.  It has wheels. a 5 level temperature control and a remote.

So far it is doing great.  I've finally figured out how to keep it at the right temperature and the electric blanket helps at night.  So does the remote control, although it is cheap, (doesn't always work).  The heater has an economy setting for overnight.  I use the blanket, then I turn it back on before I get up.

The few times I'm in the kitchen I just use the oven on Warm.  The studio room stays cool.  I have the living room and studio gas heaters on just enough to keep the pilots lit.  

I'm waiting for the bill.  At the beginning of the billing month I was still using my gas heater in the bedroom.  It will be interesting to see how much higher the electric bill is.  For all I know it might be more expensive.  Somehow though, I doubt it.

BTW- My combination birthday and Christmas present to myself is a 10" portable DVD player.  I'm hooked on watching movies next to the bed.  Nice and warm.  My 23" across the room almost looks weird now.

P.S. Local gas is $2.24
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Re: Electric or gas

Post by 75X11 on Wed Dec 17, 2014 6:28 pm

Sounds like you have got it made!
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Re: Electric or gas

Post by terrydec on Sat Dec 20, 2014 2:07 pm

I just got my bill and of course the electric is higher.

But first to sum up.  When I used the gas heaters and the electric heater my bill doubled.  Then I effectively turned off the gas and for two weeks drug a very inefficient electric heater around the house.  It was 1500 watts or 12.5 amps.  Two weeks ago I bought a more energy efficient heater.  it has 5 settings and on the low setting cycles on and off.

I think the new heater will make a big difference.  Like I said, I've only had it two weeks.  I very seldom keep it on high and on low it cycles on and off. If it is really cold and I don't have anything else to do, (usually), then I turn it down and get under the heating blanket.  It is 180 watts which is 1.5 amps.  The heater on high is 1500 watts or 12.5 amps.  I don't know what it is on low.  The fact that is cycles also saves power.

It actually won't be until next month's bill that I can have a base line including average temperature, heater settings and charges.

BTW- The electric went up $41, the gas $10, approximately the opposite of last months bill, except last month the gas went up $70.

Stay turned- inquiring minds want to know- film at 11.  Wink
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Re: Electric or gas

Post by 75X11 on Sat Dec 20, 2014 7:39 pm

Be sure using the more direct heat is not allowing your plumbing to get to the freeze point. Even if you might not have to pay for repairs, it can cause quite a bit of damage. I just don't want to see you have any untoward surprises.
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Re: Electric or gas

Post by terrydec on Sat Dec 20, 2014 11:58 pm

75X11 wrote:Be sure using the more direct heat is not allowing your plumbing to get to the freeze point.  Even if you might not have to pay for repairs, it can cause quite a bit of damage.  I just don't want to see you have any untoward surprises.

I'm not really worried about that until it gets down in the teens and stays there.  The average temperature in the house is between 48 and 58.

Last year I was in the hospital for a week when it was in the teens.  Everybody who came to feed Rocky turned up the cold tap so the pipes wouldn't freeze, each thinking they were the only ones.  The water bill was outrageous. No
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Re: Electric or gas

Post by 75X11 on Sun Dec 21, 2014 3:14 pm

It seldom does occur here, but seldom came along twice last winter and the second time the pipe just froze as I came home from work. All I could do was run a little fan heater in the crawlspace. Glad to see you are getting the brrs and bills balanced with some comfort.
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Re: Electric or gas

Post by terrydec on Sat Jan 24, 2015 1:35 pm

UPDATE...

My utility bill this month was $250.  That's only $60 more than last month and about what i projected it would be.  I have the infrared heater on 24/7, the electric blanket on at night and the two gas heaters on low.  Al things considered I'd say that's about right.  Expensive, but about right.  

Now to go over my last two bills and figure what to cut back.
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Re: Electric or gas

Post by 75X11 on Sat Jan 24, 2015 3:14 pm

Do you have outside storm windows? The kind that goes over the regular ones? If not, you might look into the plastic shrink-on interior window kits. I use these on my double hung windows and they make quite a difference in the amount of heat used. In my case it is to ease off on the furnace run time, as the savings have been computed into my averaged electric bill.
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Re: Electric or gas

Post by terrydec on Sat Jan 24, 2015 3:42 pm

Before I moved in the landlady installed energy efficient windows.  They work great.  Unfortunately the walls and floor are not insulated.  If you put your hand on the window it is okay; but put your hand on the wall next to it and it is freezing.

She insisted that the energy people come out to check for escaping heat.  They found one door and the walls.  She's made it clear she ain't fixin' either one.  I have the door closed off with blankets.

Another thing is the closets.  When I moved in none of them would stay shut.  I've put foam insulation on the doors and made them so they stay shut.  It is amazing how cold they are inside.
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Re: Electric or gas

Post by 75X11 on Sat Jan 24, 2015 4:01 pm

There should be a rule that the people who rent places out to folks must live in them for at least a month before they can rent it out. I guess your place must've passed the test for allowing the heat to escape. I'm glad at least you are keeping warm.
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Re: Electric or gas

Post by terrydec on Sat Jan 24, 2015 5:34 pm

My favorite thing is the heating blanket.  Now That is nice.  I have a queen bed but because of the animals at best I only sleep on a third of it.  Usually a quarter.  My dog lays across, not up and down and my cat keeps inching me over.  So I got a heating blanket for a twin bed.  Let them heat each other.  cat alien
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Re: Electric or gas

Post by terrydec on Fri Jan 30, 2015 3:43 pm

UPDATE-

My gas and electric company has an "Average Monthly Billing" service.  That means that after I pay this month's bill my bills will be $135 a month for 4 months.  Then my average will be re-evaluated and adjusted up or down.  Considering that 5 months of last year my bills were less than $80 then my bill should come down.  At least it's better that suddenly being hit with a $250 bill.  Over the year I will either be creating a credit or debit.  In December I'll settle up.  If I have a credit it will appear on my bill, or if I have a debit then I have to pay the difference.  Each bill will reflect whether I'm getting ahead or behind.

I must be doing a good job paying my bills since they have already refunded my deposit.
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