Do Infrared Heaters Save Money?

by Josh Champagne on March 2, 2015

Earlier this winter, I posted about 10 Ways to Lower Your Heating Bill. I took my own advice on the idea of “heating just the space you occupy”, by purchasing a used EdenPure US1000 Infrared Heater as well as a DeLonghi Oil-Filled Radiator for comparison. How did they perform vs each other and do infrared heaters save money? Let’s find out.

infrared-heater-save-money

Do Infrared Heaters Save Money ? Yes, they CAN!

The operative word here is CAN. First you have to understand the limitations of the heater. So, don’t expect a 1,000 watt heater to pump out the high BTU heat of your central heating system during the coldest winter nights. Ideally, you should set your central heat (remember, this is supplemental heating, not a replacement) to as low of a temperature as you can comfortably handle while moving about the house in your warm winter clothing. For us, this is about 62 degrees. You can then either place the infrared heater centrally in your home and put it on max heat which will keep your central system from turning on as frequently (this is useful for supplementing a higher cost energy source like heating oil), or you can place the heater in the room you will be using primarily throughout the day and aim the heater at yourself. Remember, the way infrared heat works is by heating objects rather than just circulating heated air (like your central air system does).

So, how much did we save this winter? I calculated we saved easily over $500 by using these two heaters. Here are very non-mathematical calculations:

  • In December, we burned through 100 gallons of heating oil at a cost of $380
  • I bought the heaters at the beginning of January and used them almost continuously in the manner described above. They added a mere $50 total to both my January and February electrical bills combined (yes, we have cheap electricity here in Pennsylvania).
  • At the beginning of January, I also bought 150 gallons of oil for $570. Based on the very cold temperatures in January/February, I calculated we should have burned twice that much oil to heat our 2,000 square foot home. It is March 2nd, and we still have oil in the tank from that 150 gallon purchase.
  • So, we saved $570 and spent $50 on electricity for a net energy savings of $525.

Now, you could argue that the capital expenditure on the heaters needs to be included in this cost saving equation. I paid $250 for the refurbished EdenPure Infrared Heater, and $65 for the oil filled radiant heater for a combined $315. That would bring my total savings down to only $210, however I still have those two very good quality heaters that I hope to get many years of service from, so overall the heaters were definitely worthwhile.

Infrared Heater vs Oil Radiant Heater

oi-filled-radiant-heaterHow did these two perform against each other? If I had to pick just one, I’d choose the infrared heater. I found the infrared heater was better at heating a larger space than the oil filled radiant heater. Why? Because, the infrared heater has a fan that pushes the hot air away from the infrared heating elements and circulates this heated air throughout the room, whereas the radiator simply uses the process of convection to heat the air and objects around it (a much slower process). What I ended up doing was to use eaach heater for different tasks. I placed the infrared heater centrally in my home to supplement my central heating system and used the oil-filled radiant heater to heat just one room (office or bedroom) which it did quite well. I never tested either unit, but I have a feeling the oil filled radiator actually uses less power than the infrared unit due to the fact that the infrared unit is always on (if set to maximum temperature) and the oil unit cycles off as the oil reaches a high enough temperature and subsequently cools down during the convection process.

Conclusion:

Infrared heaters will save you money, but don’t expect a miracle heater. And to be honest, if you have natural gas heat in your home your savings will not be near as pronounced as ours. As always, your mileage may vary. Many comfortable warm winters to you!

Links to the heaters we bought from Amazon:

 

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