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November 21, 2021

Are space heaters a smart way to trim energy costs?

Although snow is still scarce, winter, along with rising heating bills, is definitely here. Can portable space heaters help you save some money, or are the claims just a lot of hype?

AdAlthough once notorious as energy hogs, today’s options include more energy efficient models. But it still depends on how you use them, experts say.

If your heater is equipped with a good thermostat and you don’t heat the room to a warmer-than-normal temperature, it seems you can probably save money by using one in a room you’re in and keeping the rest of the house a bit chillier.

But it all depends. The truth is that electrical heat is almost always the most expensive route overall but warming up one room in big house is a different matter.

Most Canadians heat their homes with natural gas, which has been trending down for some time now, whereas electricity costs have been on the upswing. If your home heating system runs on electricity anyway, this might not be so much of a factor, however.

*Bing: The best way to cut home heating costs?

If you were to use an electric space heater to warm one room to your comfort zone and lower the temperature in the rest of the house, the amount you'd save would depend on the room size relative to the rest of the house, how well separated the room is from others in your home, and how much you use your space heater.

Click here for some useful comparative data.

Remember, on average and depending where you live, electricity can be twice as expensive as natural gas for the same amount of heating although time-of-use arrangements can make a difference.

What's your preferred solution? Have you used space heaters as an effective heating supplement? Or do you have a better idea to share?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...