Inexpensive Heating Unit Similar in Efficiency to Window AC?

Out of necessity, we have "zone-cooled" our home the last two summers with a portable a/c unit and 2 window a/c units. This has been an efficient way to cool the room we are in and keep the bill down. Is there an equivalent unit for winter that will keep us toasty warm and continue to allow us the affordable monthly bill?


In other words, we are looking for a heating unit that uses approximately the same amount of electricity as a window a/c unit. Our home is 100% electric. Also, we are presently unable to purchase any expensive units, so a thrifty unit to purchase and to use would be very helpful. Thank you so much in advance for direction.

By Marla

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October 4, 20110 found this helpful

Portable oil heaters put out a lot of heat and use little electricity. Coil heaters use a lot of electricity so don't invest in these.

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October 4, 20110 found this helpful

Lilac is right. You can go to any dept' store and get one of the roll around radiator style heaters that recycle oil and they work well and are very efficient.


Here's what they look like. They run from 35.00 to about 57.00
Hope this helps. I have one and it keeps my 650 square foot home just fine.

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October 4, 20110 found this helpful

Like you said, "out of necessity" we have also gone to window a/c units. We have one in the living room and one in the bedroom (luckily it's just the two of us so that's all we need).

We live in a large triple wide MH so there is a lot of area that needs cooling and one window unit wouldn't do it. So I make sure all the bedroom doors are closed. Then across the doorway between the living room and kitchen I hung 2 sheer curtains. This way all the cool air stays in the living room and the one unit is able to keep it very comfortable.


I don't cool the bedrooms because we don't spend much time in there during the day. Only quick trips in and out, and we can tolerate the heat for a minute or two. Same thing in the kitchen. On extremely hot days, we have sandwiches or salads or whatever else we can find that is quick and cool, so we don't spend much time in there.

After meals, dishes go quickly into the dishwasher, which isn't started till after dinner before bed. We have sliding glass doors in the kitchen and over them I hang dark curtains to keep the sun out. Another thing is I never under any circumstances use the oven during the summer. I have a toaster oven and a microwave. I use them and the stove top for any cooking. This helps keep the kitchen from heating up any more than what the weather has already done.

I even moved my dog food dishes into the living room. I put them on a small area rug to protect the carpet from any kibbles.


At night the living room a/c is turned off and the bedroom unit is turned on about an hour before bedtime.

In the winter we do just the opposite. I hang white lace curtains over the glass doors to allow sunlight in. Also, winter time is when I do all my baking. I don't hesitate to use the oven, but after I do I leave the oven door open till it cools down because the leftover heat helps to warm up the kitchen.

The sheers between the living room and kitchen are replaced with some pretty sheets hemmed to make curtains. All my window covers (I put dark fllm over them in summer) come down and are replaced by light colored sheers. Blinds are used for privacy when it's needed.

And the window a/c is turned off and out comes a tower heater. It keeps the living room nice and warm.

By doing this my electric bill (house is total electric) had dropped from $350 (average) in winter and $300 in summer to less than $130 for either season. Summer 2011 was the hottest on record here and my highest bill was $131.

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October 4, 20110 found this helpful

By the way, you said you already have the a/c units. I bought our heater at Wal Mart for $68.99 + tax. It's shown on Type in "heaters", then click on "under $100". Scroll down to Lasko Products Ceramic 1500W Tower Heater. It keeps us comfortable in the living room.


At night I don't bother with heating the bedroom. We have an electric blanket on the bed so we stay warm. And quick trips to the bathroom don't take very long. For the dogs I bought a small electric blanket and put it underneath their bed (under their bed so they don't get too hot) turned on low. Between that and a blanket over them they stay nice and toasty.
When my husband's not home (he's a trucker), they sleep with me anyway.

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October 4, 20110 found this helpful

Lilac and Poor but Proud were recommending portable oil heaters. I bought one of those; the roll around type so I could take it to the bedroom at night. Even after it running for several hours, I could put my hand within 5 inches of it and not feel a bit of heat. I'll stick with my ceramic heater.


On extremely cold nights, I can move my ceramic heater into the bedroom if I have to.

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October 5, 20110 found this helpful

I want to chime in with support for the oil radiator type space heaters-they are very safe and work well IF your house is well insulated/draft proofed, and the space you are trying to keep warm isn't too big.

When I was living in North Georgia I lived in a 1965 single-wide house trailer and I used two oil heaters to keep the house warm. Both were the well rated and reliable DeLonghi brand (one bought at Lowes at around $80 in 2007 and one bought in an after-season clearance from WalMart down from $60 to $15). I had already remodeled and the walls were well insulated but I had to use blankets and draft snakes to keep the doors and windows from stealing my heat.

One of the things I like best about the oil radiators are that the sides stay fairly cool to the touch, safe enough for the cats to curl up around, safe enough for the pet toy or other flammable item to have contact with. (WARNING: don't let this happen for a prolonged period of time, and make sure the heaters are always at least 12" from any flammable item-just in case)

I had one heater in the living room-kitchen area, and the other at the back near the bathroom and bedroom in the hallway. The two together running on full blast (2500 watts) actually used 1/3 the amount of electricity as my two window units (located the same way as the heaters) and kept the trailer pretty warm except during really-really-really cold snaps where the temp was under freezing for two weeks at a time. Then I added the much more expensive to run towers (tall, with fans that run when the unit thermostat senses the temp has dropped).

Because I lived alone I was afraid to use things like the quartz and ceramic type heaters, and electric blankets due to the fire hazards-when there is only one person keeping an eye on those things it's easy to miss a bent/frayed wire or left-on blanket, or a flammable item too close to the extremely hot to touch quartz/ceramic heaters (from cats and dog playing).

I'm remarried now and live in the UK-where my husband and I use wood stoves to heat our semi-detached bungalow. A few weeks ago, though, we found the high end DeLonghi in a charity shop and snapped it up to use for the bathroom (brrr, last winter bathing was not pleasant in that cold bathroom!).

BTW, I plugged the heaters into the same plug as the ACs (unplugged the ACs for winter) as the ACs had their own dedicated circuits. So running the AC or the heater was safe for the electrical load too. If you run the heating and cooling system on the same circuit as say the microwave or even lamps, you run the risk of blowing the circuit breaker (and possibly starting a fire from the overloaded circuits).

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