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Woman using thermostat

Okay, it’s Canada and it’s winter. Set your expectations to “brrrrrr”. But when it comes to heating your home in the most cost-effective way, which is best? Thermostat or space heater?

As the cold, brutal winter months set in many people are trying to figure out how they plan to keep themselves warm throughout the winter without having to watch their heating bills balloon as the temperature plummets. Two age-old ways of keeping the house warm throughout the coldest months include either using your thermostat or the space heater.

Now down to the real question: Which ones saves the homeowner more money?

The Thermostat

The thermostat wins out for overall efficiency as it would take many space heaters to heat the average home to a livable temperature. However, making sure that you have the right heating unit for your home is vital to ensuring you are getting the most efficiency out of your thermostat throughout the year’s coldest months. Choosing a unit that fits your overall home’s size will ensure that you are getting the most possible out of your unit.

The type of unit that is considered the most energy effective that is on the market today is a radiant heater. A radiant heater is a heater that emits infrared rays which will directly warm the items that sit in its path (aka your home, living space, and family). These are great heaters for when you are in one specific area such as at your dinner table or watching TV. They heat the area right around it which makes it great if you are looking to heat a room or space such as one where you sleep or eat.

Adding a heat pump can make the system more controllable as you are then able to control the temperature of each room that you are in at the time to keep the heating bill down and your comfort levels up.

The Space Heater

Using space heaters as a tool to help heat your home is deemed a “safe practice” and space heaters of today are not a fire safety hazard. However, it will take a lot of space heaters to heat a standard-sized home and may end up running up a higher heating bill rather than reducing the bill you already have.

However, what space heaters can do for you are help heat up smaller spaces where you spend most of your time. For example, if you have a thermostat in your house and you can set it at 65 degrees (moderately cool for living spaces). Then use space heaters to simply heat the areas where you are spending time, this can help save some costs in the overall price you are paying for heating your home during the coldest months.

While space heaters are not recommended to heat an entire home, as a substitute to turning up the heat in the entire house, they can work nicely to help keep your heating bill down. It also helps keep your most-often used spaces warm while saving some money but not sacrificing your comfort at the same time.

The Bottom Line

Using a mix of a thermostat that is set at a lower temper (65 degrees is a great median temperature) and then using space heaters to supplement areas where you are living more frequently is a great way to help you save money on your heating costs. Another alternative is a thermostat (along with a heating unit that is the appropriate size for your home) with a heat pump that can warm a certain area or room of your home to keep you toasty during the cold winter months without making your heating bill skyrocket.

Either way, it’s all about saving money and keeping warm for your family without running up too high of a heating bill. A combination of an appropriate-sized heating unit set at a middling temperature such as about 65 degrees along with either a heat pump or space heaters for the rooms you use most seems to be the key to saving as much as possible without shivering during the coldest winter months.


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