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Electric Heaters to Replace Oil?

Post in 'The Green Room' started by velvetfoot, Nov 21, 2012.

  1. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Sand Lake, NY
    I'm trying to figure out if electric heaters could be used to replace oil heat in my situation. The upstairs doesn't quite get warm enough, so the oil boiler is run for the upstairs zone in the evenings for 4 hours or so. I figured that even running 2 1500 watt heaters flat out, which won't happen since the two rooms are already at 64F or so, I'd use the equivalent of .3 gallons of oil a day. Based on my previos calcs w.r.t. dhw use, I figure in 2011 I used between .5 and .3 gallons a day of oil, so I should do better. I'm thinking I might also have a happier "customer" as well.

    If it works out, perhaps some heat pumps could be in the cards, but you can't beat the initial price of a portable electric resistance heater.

    I realize my numbers are fuzzy. Does anyone have some real world experience? Thanks.

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  2. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

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    Can't speak to your situation, but our upstairs bedroom can be a bit chilly too. With a baby in the room we want to keep it semi-warm, so an oil-filled electric heater with thermostat gets turned on every night. Generally set on low & set to 63-64F. I like them way better than the fan forced heaters, but they don't warm a room up real fast, just slow & constant (and quite).
  3. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    With the rooms already at 64 you could run the heaters on the medium or low setting and keep the place comfortable just fine. We have them for supplemental and back up heat in each of eight rooms in the house. You just play with the settings till you learn how to maintain a temp and let them do their thing. It makes no sense whatsoever to run that oil unit just to level out the upstairs.

    Get one and give it a try. I think you will like the results.
  4. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    Chittenden, VT
    Here is a way to compare the two:

    1 gl heating oil = 140,000 BTU
    1 kWh electric = 3410 BTU

    => 1 gl oil = 41 kWh

    1 gl oil is currently ~$4; factoring in the efficiency of your oil burner (let's assume 85%) that comes up to $4.70.

    41 kWh multiplied by 11 ct (put in your actual rate) = $4.51

    Hence, both are pretty much the same. Since you will heat a more defined area with the electric space heater you should do better.
  5. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

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    Upstate NY
    We use the oil filled ones in the same way and hardly notice it on the electric bill. Delonghi makes a medium size one with ground fault protection for bathrooms. Because we have GF outlets in ours, we use a 500 watt oil filled by Optimus. about $24 at Amazon. Ones with fans use more juice.

    Ehouse
  6. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Thanks everyone. I'm thinking 85% is at steady state. Just one zone, lots of starts and stops, more area. Hopefully it'll work out okay. If not, hey one can always find some use for them at some point in the future.

    I got a couple of fan powered ceramic "towers" (20" high) at Lowes. Digitalness. Not too expensive. I'll try one out tonight.

    http://www.lowes.com/pd_144568-2409...rentURL=?Ns=p_product_avg_rating|1&facetInfo=

    [​IMG]
  7. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Saw some good info a while back that oil boilers with realistic cycles were usually 10% less eff than the AFUE rating/number from the tech. And then there are parasitic losses on top of that. I don't miss that boiler....
  8. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I put an electric flue damper in the stack-maybe that helped. But, at 3.91 a gal, I wouldn't mind seeing it fade away either. I see some mini splits in my future, with the A/C a plus.
  9. pring7

    pring7 Member

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