Which is cheaper: low heat/electric throw or higher heat and no throw?
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  1. #1
    Registered User JustMegan79's Avatar
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    Default Which is cheaper: low heat/electric throw or higher heat and no throw?

    I live in Va, in the Shenandoah Valley. My dh is quite cold natured, but for some reason will walk around announcing that it's freezing in here in a tshirt and sweats. I, on the other hand, have a long johns shirt, sweatshirt, sweatpants and socks on. I keep an electric throw on me while I am in the living room on pc or watching tv. The heat is on 58 or 60. It is 34 out right now.

    I encourage him to wear more clothes. He doesn't want to, so he puts on tons of blankets on the couch, which is fine, because he does not turn up the heat from whatever I have put it on. I think I am lucky in that respect.

    So, is it less expensive for me to leave the heat at 58 or 60, and wear the elec throw while I am seated, or to turn the heat up to 68 like he thinks it should be?

    Btw, when we go to bed, it is set on 58 and we just use many blankets. I guess I'm just wondering if I am shooting myself in the foot by using the throw?

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    Moderator ladytoysdream's Avatar
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    You run an experiment.
    Read your electric meter.

    Then for 24 hrs, try low temperature,and your blankie.
    Then 24 hrs, higher heat, and no blankie.

    Make sure your other household things are the same both days.
    If you do a load of wash each day, that is the same.
    If you do 2 loads one day, and none the next...
    that will throw the numbers, if you are trying to compare the higher heat verus the blankie.
    Outside temps should be roughly the same for both days too.
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    Put the frog in pot, turn up the heat real slow, and the frog doesn't hop out. And by the time he realizes, he should , it's too late... think about it.

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    Without knowing your energy rates, as well as the consumption of both your heater and your blanket, I'm not sure how anyone could answer.

    At a guess, I would think that the blanket and no heater would be cheaper. The heater will keep a constant heat, whether you think about it or not. If you keep it low, you'll only use the blanket when you need it.

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    Moderator monkeywrangler71's Avatar
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    What kind of heat is it? Electric, gas, oil? Unless the heater is also on a metered energy source it will be hard to tell with the one day experiment.

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    Registered User Lady_V's Avatar
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    i'm going to say blanket is cheaper since it is just a few coils in a contained area.... a heater will do the entire room, and heat rises. I am also assuming you mean the house heating, and not a portable heater

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    Registered User greekislandgirl's Avatar
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    It might depend on the age of the blanket, but I was looking at electric blankets in the supermarket the other day, and the claim on the package was that it cost 6 cents per night to run. That is cheaper than running the heat even for like 10 minutes. I would go with the blanket if you can't perform an experiment.

    My father who is very frugal uses heated mattress pads instead of heating in their house. He probably has done the math, based on what I know of his personality .

  7. #7
    Registered User JustMegan79's Avatar
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    I knew that I'd be asked about the consumption of the house heater (yes, it is house heater, not space heater). I do not know the answer to that, we live in a rented doublewide and it has a 2 ton heat pump. It seems to run a lot, and I had them come look at it since it is less than 2 yrs old (the house and the heater) they say that is just the nature of the heat pumps.

    The blanket is new, Mom got it for me a few months ago. On the tag it says 130 watt.
    I tend to think that the blanket is cheaper, since the heat runs so much. I think that may be related to the insulation or lack thereof here, even though this house is supposed to be energy efficeint. I just needed some confirmation or thoughts from ya'll. Thanks so much!!

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    Registered User peanut's Avatar
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    Glad you got is sorted out JustMeghan79. We use electric mattress pads in winter. They are typical in Europe. Why heat a big old house at night when you're only in one room and sound asleep? But it also depends in this area what the price of electricity vs. natural gas is. Natural gas is cheaper here, and that's what we heat our houses with. So it's a different situation than you have. Still, it's cheaper to use the electric mattress pad and turn down the heat. Though this winter has been so mild we still have the heat down and no mattress pad on the bed yet!

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    From what I understand about heat pumps you are a little too far north to have one and have it be effective. I've always heard that about as far north as you can go is Richmond (where I live) and I would never have a heat pump here. I've been in houses with heat pumps and they are always cold.

    I think it's a pretty easy guess that the electric blanket is MUCH CHEAPER than turning up the heat in the entire house but you might want to try the experiment anyway.

    Gotta say, I admire your conservation. I could NEVER stand to be in a house that the heat was set on 58. I keep mine @ 70 and have no problem pushing it up a few degrees if I feel cold. I do pretty much turn it completely off at night. And I keep it off during the day while I'm at work.

    Damn! I would be so mean if I were living in a house where the temperature was 58. On the other hand, I don't turn the AC on in the summer.

    But 58? I can't get over that.

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    Registered User Trishagirl's Avatar
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    We have gas & the high here was 19 brrrr! We have the temp in the house 68 & dress warm,use a reg throw.
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    It is always cheaper to heat the smallest area. I blogged about this exact thing in my blog, Budgeting with the Bushmans. I can't share the link with you because I am so new, but the gist is that even if your electric blanket isn't energy efficient it IS more energy efficient to heat yourself than a whole room or your whole house.

    Mr. Electricity is a site that has lots of great information about electricity and how to be frugal with it, but I can't share that link with you either. :p

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    Registered User Mr Fixit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustMegan79 View Post
    I live in Va, in the Shenandoah Valley. My dh is quite cold natured, but for some reason will walk around announcing that it's freezing in here in a tshirt and sweats. I, on the other hand, have a long johns shirt, sweatshirt, sweatpants and socks on. I keep an electric throw on me while I am in the living room on pc or watching tv. The heat is on 58 or 60. It is 34 out right now.

    I encourage him to wear more clothes. He doesn't want to, so he puts on tons of blankets on the couch, which is fine, because he does not turn up the heat from whatever I have put it on. I think I am lucky in that respect.

    So, is it less expensive for me to leave the heat at 58 or 60, and wear the elec throw while I am seated, or to turn the heat up to 68 like he thinks it should be?

    Btw, when we go to bed, it is set on 58 and we just use many blankets. I guess I'm just wondering if I am shooting myself in the foot by using the throw?
    Megan, you may want to think about a set back programmable thermostat. First of all, keeping the T-stat at 58 will always minimize your utility bill, no doubt about that! But one thing I know, if I was your husband, I would not like living in a house that is 58 degrees. I do not like dressing up like an eskimo when I'm just relaxing in the house, it just doesn't feel right!
    Now as to the set back thermostat. It will cost you around $30 - $40 for a good thermostat. And to install it only requires connecting 4 color coded wires, and it is hard to no connect them right as long as you read the instructions, and write down where the wires were terminated on your old thermostat. Really, it is very easy and it is only 24 volts so you cant get shocked!
    You can program the thermostat so that when you are at work, it will stay at 58 - 60 degrees, even lower if you desire. You can program it to come on 30 minutes before you get home from work so the house will feel nice when you walk through the door. Also program it where the heat will go back to 58 when you go to bed and come back on 30 minutes before you get up!
    A programmable thermostat can actually allow you to be more comfortable during the normal hours that you are home, and save money at the same time.
    One thing to remember is that when you lower the heat too low, it takes more energy to return the house to a comfortable temperature because you have to get everything inside the house warmed up as well. It requires more energy to re heat everything past a certain point.
    If you both work, I think a programmable thermostat could allow you to enjoy a warmer house, and still save on the utility bills once you get it programmed correctly. The only way keeping the house at 58 degrees will sae you money is if you leave it at that all the time, 24 / 7. And if you both are happy with that, power to you!
    So, if you and your husband work, then I would get a programmable t-stat, and keep the house at around 62 on the off hours when nobody is home, and at night when you are sleeping. And I would keep it at 68 during home hours. Your utility bill may be a little more, but you would be a lot more comfortable!

  13. #13
    Registered User MaryCarney's Avatar
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    Gosh,
    I just think that unless you really cannot afford it - it is better to turn the heat up to a level so that DH is comfortable in his own house. I think that's only fair.

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