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Would You Rather: Space Heater or Outdoor Pizza Oven?

That winter weather is finally here, and the Department of Energy recommends setting the thermostat to 68 degrees or cooler in the winter months. When the temperature drops, we can be tempted to use additional plug loads to help warm our fingers and toes. Plug loads are electrical devices or appliances that draw power through an electrical outlet. Common examples include cell phones, microwaves, televisions, laptops, and video game consoles.

And yes, the space heater.

If you run a space heater eight hours a day, 30 days a month, for four months, you are looking at an annual operating cost of $213.12!

Just think, you could have bought an outdoor pizza oven with that money just in time for warmer weather and outdoor parties!

How did we calculate that?

Every machine that runs on electricity has an electric nameplate on it. The nameplate is usually a silver sticker and has information about the amount of electricity the machine uses.

Step 1: calculate your space heater’s wattage

If wattage is not listed, you can calculate the wattage using the following formula: Power = current x voltage.

Or put another way,

Watts = A x V

As an example, Watts = 1.0A x 5V

This equals 5 watts.

Step 2: Convert your watts to kilowatts.

Using the information from Step 1, calculate how much it costs to operate your space heater. You will need to know the wattage, the cost of electricity, and the number of hours the heater will be used. Electricity is measured in kilowatt-hours, or energy used in a period of time. In order to measure your electricity, you will need to change the watts to kilowatts. One kilowatt is equal to 1,000 watts so for this next step you will divide the watts by 1,000.

As an example,

kW = 9,600 watts/1,000 would equal 9.6 kW

Step 3: Calculate your space heater cost for the year.

Use the average Pioneer single-phase, residential rate of $0.148 to figure out how much is costs to run your space heater. The formula should look like this:

Annual Space Heater Cost = Hours Used x Kilowatts x Cost of electricity (kWh)

As an example,

Avg. Space Heater Cost = 960 hours x 1.5kW x $0.148 kWh

This would mean running your space heater for eight hours a day, 30 days a week, for four months would cost $213.12.

Instead of plugging in the space heater this winter, opt for these choices instead:
  1. Dress for the weather including layers, warm sweaters, and thick socks
  2. Sew up those old t-shirts into a warm, memory-filled quilt
  3. Drink warm beverages – not only are they tasty, but the mug feels great on cold fingers
  4. Get active! Shake those winter blues with physical activity. It will help you stay warm and make your brain happier! ​

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