How do you stay warm when waves of winter weather arrive? Answering that question wasn’t always easy throughout history. Today, staying warm is something most people take for granted whether they use gas furnaces or other options. However, the cost of it matters much more than the method. Controlling energy costs can be an essential part of your budget strategy, leading one to wonder: what is the cheapest way to heat a room?
So, how can you achieve comfort in a cost-effective way when you don’t have a natural gas furnace? That question can lead you to wonder about the cheapest way to heat a house with electricity. Electricity is typically considered to be the most expensive way to heat a home because the electric rates you’ll pay are often much higher than the cost of oil or natural gas.
Electric furnaces of the kind that use resistance coils to heat air for circulation are very energy-intensive. For some homes, though, installation of gas-fired equipment would be too costly or logistically challenging. So, when electricity is the only viable option available to you, what options are there for getting good results without breaking the bank? There are several, but one is more promising than the rest.
The Cheapest Way to Heat a House with Electricity? Space Heaters
Instead of relying on a central furnace set up to blow hot air into your rooms, consider using electric heaters only in the places that need heating the most. These areas might include a living room, your bedroom, and perhaps the kitchen or a bathroom.
Small, portable units up to mid-sized electrical heaters won’t take up too much extra space in the room, and they deliver a big bang for their buck. By one measurement, switching off your furnace entirely and using only electric heaters as you need them could yield a smaller bill.
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. That’s what makes them the cheapest way to heat a house with electricity.
Using Space Heaters Safely and Effectively
Keep in mind that although electric heaters offer an excellent option, they do come with some risks. Improperly used, these items can pose a fire hazard. That is why you should take care to observe some common sense rules when employing them in your home:
- Never leave a space heater operating unattended; turn the unit off when you exit a room.
- Keep flammable and potentially dangerous materials several feet away from the unit at least. Do not place anything on or in front of the heater.
- Turn space heaters off when going to bed.
- Do not plug space heaters into extension cords or surge protectors, as this increases the risk of fire.
- Watch out for the cable — tipping over the heater can be a safety hazard, too.
By following these simple rules, you can enjoy convenient heat at the right price.
Are Heat Pumps Ever the Cheapest Way to Heat a Room?
Heat pumps that use the air outside as a medium for gathering heat to bring inside, are another electrically powered choice. However, they only work best in temperatures well above freezing; if it gets too cold, most heat pumps will switch to expensively inefficient heating using emergency resistance coils.
While heat pumps offer savings over a purely electrical furnace, they are not always the right choice for primary heating duties. However, they can work well in combination with space heating, as necessary, and could then even prove an option for the cheapest way to heat a room.
There is one more potential option out there, aside from heat pumps and space heaters — hybrid furnaces. These hybrid systems combine the high-efficiency heat of a gas furnace with the convenience of electric heat. When temperatures are cool but not cold, the electric heat can provide all that’s necessary without too much trouble or wasted energy. When temperatures plunge, the gas unit kicks in and takes over. While not solely reliant on electricity, this option can prove to be very economical. Ultimately, the best choice will be heavily dependent on your home, its layout, and the types of temperatures it will experience in the winter.
Whether you opt for simple portable space heaters, a built-in unit, or a more traditional heat pump, electricity can be a cost-effective way to heat your home. That’s especially true if you employ other strategies to control your energy bill.
To find out what the cheapest way to heat a room with electricity will be for your area, consider reaching out to a professional installer for advice. In some cases, exploring a replacement system such as a gas furnace may be the right choice. With a pro on your side, assessing your home and evaluating the options available becomes much simpler and more straightforward. When you’re ready to explore alternatives, reaching out for help should be your first step.