Lower your heating system costs

You can reduce energy costs associated with heating systems by slightly changing the ways you use them.

Baseboard heaters

A 6-foot baseboard heater draws about 1,500 watts of power. Running it for six hours a day would cost more than $30 in a typical month. Depending on the age and efficiency of the unit, it could cost more than $100 in a single month. The thermostats on baseboard heaters – especially older models – sometimes lose their accuracy over time. Make sure yours works correctly, and turn off the baseboard heater when the room isn’t occupied.

Space heaters

A space heater also draws about 1,500 watts. Use it only as needed, and never leave it running in an empty room. Make sure the built-in thermostat works correctly. The low setting, if your model has one, is preferable. It usually will decrease power consumption to 750 watts and cut in half the cost to power the heater.

Steam humidifiers

The addition of a steam humidifier to a furnace typically increases your monthly electricity bill. That’s because most models require a whopping 3,000 watts of power. They also seldom shut off automatically. If left running all day and night, a typical steam humidifier could cost $260 in a month – an average of nearly $9 per day. Lower it to 25% to 30% relative humidity to reduce its power consumption, and turn it off when humidity is not needed.

Gutter heaters and ice melt systems

Most gutter heaters and ice melt systems require 200 to 1,500 watts of power. As with other devices, turn it on and off as needed. Don’t rely on the thermostat to automatically activate it. The outside temperature is often low enough to trigger it, even when there is no ice or snow.

Stock tank heaters

A stock tank heater can require up to 1,500 watts of power. Turn it on and off as needed. If yours has a built-in thermostat, make sure it works correctly. Also make sure it is not a higher wattage than your water tank requires.

Engine block heaters

Engine block heaters can require anywhere between 400 and 1,000 watts. Plugged in for 12 hours every day over a month, a 1,000-watt engine block heater costs more than $40 to power. Use an outdoor power timer or programmable socket device to activate the heater just a few hours before you plan to start your vehicle.