Winter temperatures in Murrieta can get down to around 37 degrees Fahrenheit. While not cold enough to build a snowman, it is cold enough to be uncomfortable. Two of the most popular options for warming up your living space are central and space heaters.
Theoretically, a space heater might seem more practical. However, in practice, there are several reasons why having central heating installed, even in California, is a wise idea.
Energy Effectiveness Space Heater Versus Central Heating
According to the DOE, over 50% of the energy used in American homes is for heating and cooling the home. Most homeowners opt for a central heating system. Central heating is powered by gas, electricity, wood, oil, or coal. Of these options, electricity is the most expensive option.
A single 600-watt space heater will consume around $60 worth of energy each month. If you bump it up to a 1,500-watt heater, you’re talking about $150 a month. This assumes that you are running the unit 24 hours a day, which is never recommendable for a space heater. This additional $60 to $150 is on top of any other systems you use to keep your house warm.
With a central heating system, it’s estimated that the average American home spends approximately $107 to $160 a month. Electric central heating systems are more expensive than their gas counterpart.
When you initially compare the two numbers, it seems that a space heater, with an average range of $60 a month of energy usage, is much cheaper than spending $160 a month for an electric central heating system. But this does not factor in the number of 1,500-watt space heaters you will need to operate simultaneously to keep your home warm.
A single space heater might mean you’re saving a lot of money. However, if you need to use two or more powerful space heaters, you could be wasting a ton of money. Even having two lower-watt space heaters running 24 hours a day could be more expensive per month than using a gas furnace. From an economic standpoint, one space heater could be cost-efficient if you only want to heat a small space, like one room. But they are not a sustainable solution.
The Safety of a Space Heater Versus Central Heating
A space heater is a high-wattage appliance that can potentially ignite nearby combustible material, including clothing, curtains, flammable liquids, beds, sofas, etc. If ignition results from a heater left unattended, a serious fire could result.
Modern space heaters have several safety features that their predecessors lacked. So, the number of space heater-related fires has dropped over the years. Still, space heaters are linked to about 21,000 residential fires annually, with hundreds of people getting injured and dying in these fires.
Gas furnaces are not without their safety issues, including the potential for carbon monoxide buildup in the home. However, gas furnaces are used in the vast majority of homes in the United States, and as long as they are properly serviced and maintained by technicians like those we have at We Care Plumbing, Heating and Air, the chances of there being a safety issue are little to none.
What Heats More Effectively, a Space Heater or Central Heating?
To answer this question, you must first consider the purpose of central heating versus that of a space heater. Central heating is usually part of an HVAC system designed to heat one room or an entire home. Its heating source is a furnace, be it gas or electric. On the flip side, a space heater is a mobile device that produces heat in a localized area. Central heating heats the entire home, while a space heater is portable and can be taken to where heating is needed.
Space heaters could be considered the more efficient option if you want to heat up a relatively small room. However, if you want to heat your entire home, it is never more efficient to run a space heater, much less multiple space heaters, compared to operating a central heating system.
Central heating is the ideal option for winter months when you want to keep your entire home at a minimum temperature so that water pipes do not freeze and you are comfortable no matter where you are. Or a space heater could be a viable option if you want to heat your bedroom on the occasional chilly night.
Reasons to Ditch Your Space Heater for Central Heating
A space heater is a simple device. It is a collection of electrical coils behind a metal screen. Low-end models lack safety features, like auto shutdown if they fall over and thermostats. If a space heater gets knocked over in your home or an apartment, it starts an instant chain reaction that can lead to a fire. Most space heaters don’t receive maintenance to prevent problems that could injure your loved ones and pets or damage your property.
The biggest problem with a space heater is not the high temperatures it produces. The problem is that it’s an electrical hazard. A space heater pulls large amounts of electricity, but it is not designed to handle power surges, nor is it designed to work with extension cords. Since the space heater cannot manage these inevitable occurrences, it leads to dangerous hazards. This is especially true if you live in an older home with older wiring.
Modern forced air heating systems have smart thermostats. These allow you to dictate when the heating system turns on and how it works in different parts of your home. You can personalize your heating schedule to your liking. This is not an option with space heaters.
Enjoying the Benefits of Central Heating
There are several reasons why homeowners believe that central heating is the best investment you can make for your home and your family. First, central heating is comfortable. It envelops you with warm air in a way that is not possible with other forms of heating. It’s the only heating that heats the entire house evenly, allowing you to use your whole home during the winter.
A traditional gas furnace provides faster heating regardless of how cold the air is outside. Gas furnaces burn clean and have little impact on the environment.
Forced air heating systems that use your ductwork mean that you can install a dehumidifier, humidifier, air purifier, or air filtration system in your furnace to improve your indoor air quality. This is a phenomenal option because you can condition all the air in your home simultaneously instead of just conditioning or heating one small spot.
Helping Homeowners With Their HVAC and Plumbing Needs for Over Two Decades
For more than two decades, We Care Plumbing, Heating, and Air has gone the extra mile to earn our reputation as the service team of choice for our customers. We are proud to offer NATE- and NCI-certified technicians who have what it takes to address your HVAC and plumbing needs right the first time.
Our services include HVAC maintenance, installation, replacement, and repair. We offer air filtration, ductless mini-splits, and general plumbing installation, maintenance, and repair. We can assist you with water filtration and reverse osmosis systems, too.
Contact We Care Plumbing, Heating, and Air today to see for yourself our continued efforts to improve daily.