You’re probably considering different options when it comes to effectively heating your home. Other than turning down the furnace and dressing in layers, another option is to utilize a space heater or two. The idea behind this is that less space heated equals less money spent, but is this really true? In the following article, we discuss the benefits and drawbacks of both space heaters and furnaces so you can make an educated decision when it comes to your choice of home heating system.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Furnaces
Most people use a gas furnace in order to heat their home. They’re popular because they’re easy for homeowners to use and maintain, and because they’re an efficient heating method that doesn’t cost thousands of dollars to get installed. They cost less to run than a space heater, if you’re trying to heat the same amount of space, though they don’t create the same feeling of direct warmth that a space heater does. For a heating method that has a similar cozy feeling, you’d need to use a wood stove or a boiler with radiant heat.
Though not without safety concerns, using your furnace is safer than a space heater. You don’t need to constantly keep an eye on things and a fire isn’t going to start just because you fall asleep. Though they do have more work involved than a space heater, such as changing the filter at least every other month, it’s a small price to pay for whole home comfort.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Space Heaters
When it comes to space heaters, they’re great for the convenience factor. Say you have one in your bedroom. You wake up in the morning and you’re cold enough you want to stay under the covers all day long. You reach over to flip on the space heater and within minutes your room is warm and toasty and you’re ready to start your day. Though this could be achieved with a furnace and a smart thermostat as well, the direct warmth of a space heater is a toasty feeling hard for a furnace to match.
Space heaters are great because they’re easy to use and heat up small spaces quickly. They’re definitely not without issues, however. For one, they’re less safe than central heating to operate. Especially if you fall asleep with one still running, they can be considered fire risks. If a blanket or item of clothing is accidentally tossed on one, they can catch fire and damage your home. Because of this, they require constant attention and aren’t a great option as a primary heating method.
Ways You Can Save Money With Your Furnace
Though typically the most efficient option, furnaces still use a lot of fuel in order to heat your home. They’re not as environmentally friendly as other heating methods, like ductless mini splits or geothermal heating, making energy bills higher. In order to help offset the costs, especially if you’re heating the entire home for one or two people, there are a number of steps you can take to reduce the amount of gas your furnace uses.
You can insulate your home if it isn’t already, or have another layer added since it sinks and settles over time, becoming less effective. Another option to consider is simply turning the thermostat down. This doesn’t have to be a dramatic reduction in temperature. Instead, try lowering your thermostat just two degrees, and maybe three at night since the human body sleeps best in a cooler environment. Just a few degrees makes a huge difference when it comes time to look over your heating bill come months end. A programmable thermostat is great for this, as you can set it to lower the temperature at a certain time each night, as well as when you leave the house each morning to head to work. Just upgrading your thermostat to a smarter model will save you money, provided you utilize the new settings.
Covering up drafts in your home is another crucial step if you want to save money, both on heating and cooling bills. The most common areas in need of help are around windows and under doors, but even small areas can let in cold air, like wiring installation holes and electrical outlets. If you have a fireplace, forgetting to close the chimney flue when it’s not in use is another common source of heat loss.
Lastly, keeping your furnace in good functioning order is the best way to save money. Having yearly tune-ups ensure your furnace uses only the amount of energy it needs, and no more, to heat your home. Plus, it helps the furnace last longer, a big savings when you only have to replace your unit every fifteen years.
In What Situations Do Space Heaters Make Sense?
There are a few situations where it makes sense to use a space heater. Like with the example above, if you want to use one for short periods of time for comfort, go ahead. As long as you don’t run the machine for extended amounts of time, it won’t significantly raise your electric bill. If you only want to heat a single room in your home because that’s where you spend all your time, it’ll most likely save you money. You can also utilize space heaters to heat rooms where pipes are at risk of freezing. A space heater will keep the room warm enough to prevent damage to the pipes without the cost of heating the whole house.
Have an Expert Help You Decide
Though central heating via a gas or, less commonly, an electric furnace, is the best option for most homes, there are always exceptions to the rule. Reading guides online is a good start, but it’s never a substitute for personalized advice and recommendations from a professional. Our team will inspect your current heating system and how well it’s accomplishing the job of warming your home. We’ll ask you questions about your lifestyle and home and put together a custom heating plan for your home that best addresses your needs. Even when it comes to home heating, there’s no one size fits all solution. We’re here to help you find what works.
Landry Mechanical Inc Plumbing HVAC & Electric is a provider of quality heating, cooling, plumbing, and electrical services in Central and Metro West Massachusetts, from Brookfield to Sutton. We offer everything you could need as a homeowner to keep your space safe and comfortable. From furnaces and boilers to heat pumps that both heat and cool your home, to air conditioners, water heaters and electrical services, we offer a bit of everything. With over 15 years serving the area, you can count on us to get the job done in a timely manner. If you’d like to know more about the heating options available for your Massachusetts home, give us a call today and we’ll be happy to guide you.