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Most economical room heaters? Other winter heating questions...

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
We have a large, 2 story plus attic space, 100 yo home that is not insulated. Large drafty windows, drafty doors, ect....

We are renting, so are limited to what we can do. Dh wants to buy insulation and place it in the attic space. It'll be 300-400 dollars. We wont get any compensation or reduction on rent if we do this, landlord is an a$$, but we are stuck here for at least another year so, it may be worth it to us anyhow.
I would agree to do this IF I was assured that it would substantially help with the gas heating bill.
Last year we couldn't pay the bills & went without heat for most of the winter. Only using a kerosene heater and electric heaters in the bedrooms.
Using kerosene was very expensive and I hated the fumes.

Can anyone tell me if one type of portable room heater is better than the other in terms of heat output and cost to run? I'm thinking we'll get the gas turned on and kep it as low as possible to avoid freezing the pipes, and just enough to keep the bad chill out, then supplement with room heaters, electric I guess. But there are lots to choose from and I have no idea what to buy. I need to make a decision soon, it's already cold here.
Thanks!

Any other tips would be welcome too. We're going to be covering the windows with the plastic stuff too.
post #2 of 21
Thread Starter 
bumpity bump.....
post #3 of 21
If your attic is completely uninsulated, the insulation will definitely make a difference, if its already insulated, but you feel maybe not enough, then its harder to tell if it would be worth it. One thing I would say though is you could get that type of insulation that is wrapped in plastic and just roll it back up when you are done and sell it rather than leaving it for the landlord.

We use an electric space heater to heat our room at night, leaving the house much colder. It's more efficient for us because our house is a forced hot air one zone system and the therm is downstairs, we'd have to keep teh whole house at a pretty high temp to keep our room the temp we want it, the space heater makes more sense. The one we use has auto shutoff if its tipped over, has a remote and a timer (which is good, because what I do is put it on a timer for 30-60 minutes and it shuts off, if I wake up cold at night I turn it on again for a little while,r ather than running it all night) and cost us $50 several years ago. It's 500Watts I believe, so its pretty power hungry.

I'm sure in terms of one room heaters you would find that a pellet stove or maybe propane heater, etc might be more economical, but I would not feel comfortable running a heater like that at night, especially with children. The safety factor is important too.
post #4 of 21
We got small inexpensive space heaters last winter for the bed rooms at night. They really helps keep us warm without turning the heater on for the whole house. Really saved us on the electric bill.
post #5 of 21
I'm wondering about this too. We almost had our gas shut off last winter--we're still paying the bill off from last winter actually. Our house is old and drafty and very poorly insulated too. I am desperate for ideas on how to save money on the gas bill.
post #6 of 21
I like those radiator-type oil filled heaters. I'm under the impression that once the oil is heated, it stays hot a long time (kindof like in your car) and it doesn't require a lot of energy to keep it warm.
My mom offered me to borrow theirs this year, the same one I used when I lived there, I may take her up on it!
The one we have Honeywell brand and takes 600-1500 watts depending on what setting you use, it has a thermostat and 3 power use settings. For one bedroom it is warm-enough overnight if you just use the "freeze protection" setting.
post #7 of 21
I had the kind oneKnight recommended when my kids were babies and was going to get another last winter. However, the guy at the shop recommended a halogen heater instead. It has a timer, so I would set it to run for half an hour and sit in front of it and get warm, and then it would automatically shut itself off. It doesn't really heat the room, just the people sitting in front of it.

I also got a lot of use out of my microwave hot water bottles, which I'd heat up and stick between the covers before bed. ds and I also used the blankets on the couch and throws. If you don't have microwave heaters, baked potatoes are an old fashioned substitute.

We set the thermostat to 55.
post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by oneKnight View Post
I like those radiator-type oil filled heaters. I'm under the impression that once the oil is heated, it stays hot a long time (kindof like in your car) and it doesn't require a lot of energy to keep it warm.
My mom offered me to borrow theirs this year, the same one I used when I lived there, I may take her up on it!
The one we have Honeywell brand and takes 600-1500 watts depending on what setting you use, it has a thermostat and 3 power use settings. For one bedroom it is warm-enough overnight if you just use the "freeze protection" setting.
We have one that is oil filled, but it isn't the radiator shape, it's short and long (like a doxie, lol!), and the outside doesn't get super hot like the radiator ones can...so there's no burn risk. It keeps our living room warm, and even when you turn it off it still radiates heat. It has a thermostat, and we like it alot.
post #9 of 21
post #10 of 21
You said you have big drafty windows do you use plastic wrap on thoes? that helps a lot, also keeping all doors shut off with the door or blanket hanging helps too, keep the heat in just the room you are wanting to heat. Last winter was a mild on where we are, and i'm hoping my last winter in the tin can (trailor) will be as mild b/c i hate to lose more money in heating the thing... If you get the gas heat on then keep your themostate way down and close off all rooms you don't use through out the day, i know 100 year old homes i grew up in one and we had to shut off over 1/2 the home durring the winter b/c we just couldn't keep up with the heat bill and that was 15 years ago when gas prices weren't like they are now!
post #11 of 21
We live in an under insulated apt. in Japan, it gets cold here too so I know where you are coming from. Block up the drafts as much as possible, roll up towels to make snakes and put them at the foot of the door, or by the windows. Hot water bottles are great, I just used plastic ones filled with boiling water wrapped in a towel, best to remove them before getting into bed (had one leak at MILs on her futon... then I got a freezing cold futon from out of the closet). speaking of PILs they have a kerosene heater with forced air, not so great smell but not awful, then they put a metal hose in front of it and direct the heat around the room to where people are gathered.

We have one of those electric oil heaters, it is nice but does use energy. best to set on low and get one with a timer to go off, or set the timer to warm up the room in the a.m. makes getting out of bed easier.

I like the idea of taking the insulation with you.
keep doors to rooms shut, try to only heat where you are (or will be in the near future)
we also taped a layer of bubble wrap to the windows.
HTH<
Kathryn
post #12 of 21
Oh yeah we definitely had to cover all the windows with heavy drapes and the cracks under doors with towels because this house is like 100 years old with absolutely no insulation. We all roomed in the same room at night, curtained off unused portions of the house and turned off all heat but bedroom at night. I think the biggest electric bill was $70ish dollars last winter.
post #13 of 21
For the windows at night you could make window quilts.

As for heaters I don't know. We have a ceramic one that we use when we use to have oil and run out . Now we heat with wood and roast to death.
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by mightymoo View Post
One thing I would say though is you could get that type of insulation that is wrapped in plastic and just roll it back up when you are done and sell it rather than leaving it for the landlord.


Attic ins. WILL make a big difference, if it is missing.

I would get removable insulation, shrinkwrap plastic on all of the windows, and make sure you put "draft dodgers" on the doors. I would not run a kerosene heater inside - I would worry constantly, especially after you have sealed up leaks that are getting fresh air into the house.

In an ex-house, I found the fireplace sucked heat up the chimney. So if you have one, I would be careful about using it.

And wool blankets for the kids!
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 
A late thank you for all the replies.

Is it difficult to do the "shrink wrap" on the windows thing? Last year my dh put plastic up on the outside of the windows, the kids were mortified by the way it looked and since our house is on a major street and school bus route, the little kids got teased by some other kids who said that our windows were all broken and we had to cover them with plastic...oh the drama of kids....but I have to admit that I thought it looked trashy too, I hated it.

So, is it difficult to put it on the inside of the windows? Does it cover the window frame? I'm trying to imagine the way it works. How does it attach to the wooden window frame? (I'm talking about the kind that you use a hair dryer with) Just trying to picture in my head how it works.....
post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 
[QUOTE=SleeplessMommy;6180950]

In an ex-house, I found the fireplace sucked heat up the chimney. So if you have one, I would be careful about using it.

QUOTE]

We have two fireplaces that can't be used in this house unfortunately....is there a good way to seal them off?
post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by KentuckyDoulaMama View Post

So, is it difficult to put it on the inside of the windows? Does it cover the window frame? I'm trying to imagine the way it works. How does it attach to the wooden window frame? (I'm talking about the kind that you use a hair dryer with) Just trying to picture in my head how it works.....
We used to do it when I was a kid and had single paned windows. The windows didn't have molding around them, my parents bought those kits - you put the double sided tape on the wall all around the window, stick the plastic to it, then hair dryer it to tighten it. You can't tell from the outside. I'm not sure what you do if you have moulding around the window, but I'm sure the kit would tell you, the idea is just to stop the flow of heat by creating air that doesn't move, so I imagine you could put the tape on the wall on the other side of the moulding and still have it work effectively.
post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mightymoo View Post
We used to do it when I was a kid and had single paned windows. The windows didn't have molding around them, my parents bought those kits - you put the double sided tape on the wall all around the window, stick the plastic to it, then hair dryer it to tighten it. You can't tell from the outside. I'm not sure what you do if you have moulding around the window, but I'm sure the kit would tell you, the idea is just to stop the flow of heat by creating air that doesn't move, so I imagine you could put the tape on the wall on the other side of the moulding and still have it work effectively.

Ahhhhhhhhhhh....I get it, there is tape! (light bulb clicking on....)
Thanks.
post #19 of 21
This winter, we plan on buying a kit that will allow us to vent our dryer indoors (actually something I learned about on another MDC thread). That will keep us from wasting heat that could be used to warm the front end of our house.
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by KentuckyDoulaMama View Post
We have two fireplaces that can't be used in this house unfortunately....is there a good way to seal them off?

Basically you just need to stop any draft. You can use bubble wrap (ask at any furniture store for XL size bubble wrap) and tape. Or even a shrink-wrap window kit.

-sleeplessMommy
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