Q. Our house is pretty drafty and we’re looking at electric space heaters to help keep us warm this winter. Can you recommend an energy-efficient model that isn’t too expensive?
A. I wish I could give you a simple answer but the truth is electric portable heaters are all pretty much the same, efficiency-wise, and none of them are energy efficient. Any claim of energy savings made on these heaters is based on the assumption that you’ll be turning off your central heating system, but it doesn’t sound like that’s what you’re looking for here (and it’s rarely a good idea, anyway).
If you’ve seen ads for products like Amish heaters or infrared quartz space heaters, be wary of claims that seem too good to be true; and check out these Ask the Home Team questions from last winter:
You mention drafts, and that leads me to wonder if your home is as well-sealed or insulated as it could be. Have you considered doing some weatherization work? If it were my home, I would have a certified contractor conduct an energy audit and then do the work necessary. That’s the best way to address drafts—the way that will save you the most money in heating costs and keep you the most comfortable. If you’re more of a do-it-yourself type, we offer services to help you through that process as well.
Other, simpler ways to address drafts or a lack of heat in your home include: changing your furnace filter, applying weather stripping to doors and windows, and vacuuming or dusting heating vents so that heat can circulate. Also, if you have a fireplace then make sure the vent is closed when you’re not using it. Check our winter tips page for more ideas.
And, finally, if you think you might qualify as low-income then contact your local weatherization agency, or visit www.dcf.vermont.gov and see if they can offer you any assistance. If you’re still not sure what to do, contact us and we can help you identify next steps. Good luck and thanks for a great question.
Bob for the Home Team