Monday, July 23, 2012

Saving Money Through Electric Heating

This post is a guest post by Thomas Milson, a blogger and green enthusiast. I found this post to be very interesting, because growing up, my house was heated by a gas run central heating system, and since we moved abroad, have had to get used to the electrical heating options here. We have radiators which are money guzzlers, making our electric bills really high in the winter, but I had heard that even so, the right electric heaters are actually the cheapest options for heating.

Recently, I haven’t had a lot of money. In fact, I have so little money that in the last place I lived (it was a house share) we never used the heating or hot water. Instead, we wore a lot of jumpers (so many jumpers) --- that's sweaters to you non Britons--- and boiled the kettle to wash the pots (I still showered because my shower was electric).

We made the decision to not use the gas (I say decision – it was not a decision) because we couldn’t afford gas and electric. The gas went because it was very expensive, so expensive in fact that it cost us more to have a couple of hours of heating and hot water with gas, than it did to use everything else that needed electricity. We could have sat with every appliance turned on for hours (we didn’t) and still spend less than what our gas bill was.

After the coldest winter I had ever experienced my tenancy agreement came to a close. So I had to find somewhere new. A week later I had found a place. It was another house share, but it had been kitted out with an electric heating system. I didn’t need to be told why this had been done: it was to save money. To say I’m a frugal person would be an understatement. Therefore I moved in.

I’ve since started to make a bit more money, but I’ll always be frugal in the way I live, and after the money I save not being hooked up to a gas heating system, I thought I would talk a bit about how you can make the switch and do the same.

What is Electric Heating?

Electric Heating is heating that uses electricity. Saying that, I’m not talking about cheap Halogen heaters or oil filled radiators. Those things just drain electricity. Good electric heaters contain tungsten heating elements in Aluminium casings, to allow more heat to enter a room and needing less energy to create the heat. With thermostats built into the product that allow you to control temperatures and time, you can have much more efficient heating (it’s actually more efficient to slightly adjust heating than turn it off completely) than any gas heating.

How will I save?

Typically most of the energy you use annually will be in the winter months (November to March). Your energy consumption is most likely to peak in January and February since they’re the coldest months. If you use a direct debit or standing order to pay your bills you will (definitely) overpay in the summer to save up money for the winter when the bills will be higher. This will help you cover the costs over 12 months.

Over 12 months the average modern three bed well insulated property in the U.K will probably pay a combined energy bill of Gas: £150 per month and Electric: £50 per month (or around £2400 a year in total). With electric heating those gas payments will significantly reduce, yet the electricity bill won’t rise the same amount, so you’ll save quite a lot of money every year.

How do I make the switch?

Call some electric heating experts. They’ll be able to tell you everything you need to know.

What type of heating do you have in your house? How expensive are your winter heating bills? (I know, funny to be talking about when its a scorching hot summer, but just think about it- people "down under" are currently in the middle of winter!) Have you had more than one type of heating at different points? How have they compared financially? Which ended up being cheaper?

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