Using an Electric Heater to Stay Warm?

CMP offers tips to stay warm on your budget

AUGUSTA, ME — January 8, 2021 — Perhaps it’s an electric fireplace. It may be a Danish heater. It may be infrared, ceramic, radiant or indoor-outdoor. If it heats a room and plugs into the wall, it is an electric space heater. Plenty of Mainers use these devices to stay warm, and perhaps save on heating fuel bills, and as the weather gets colder, Central Maine Power (CMP) offers tips on using them wisely.

“Every room, house, heater and heating habit are different, and not every Mainer will have a similar experience,” says Linda Ball, vice president of Customer Service at CMP. “Depending upon insulation, the age of the home or apartment, and the number of people in the residence, usage can vary widely. People who want to try using an electric space heater can track how much electricity it uses and how much it offsets the amount of heating fuel they use.”

All other habits being equal, using a space heater will increase your electricity bill, but for customers whose primary heating source is gas or oil, it may offset those costs. For example, according to the CMP energy calculator, using one, 1500 watt space heater to take the chill off your home office rather than turning up the furnace for the whole house would increase an electricity bill by $1.19 a day or $35.76 in a billing cycle if used for 8 hours a day for 20 days. CMP has free usage information tools available online to provide households with the details needed to make the best heating choices for their own homes.

Using an electric space heater may reduce overall heating costs if it is only used to heat a small, confined area.

Additional considerations:

  • Space heaters are often promoted as “energy efficient”- follow manufacturers’ instructions to maximize efficiency and understand limitations.
  • Don’t leave a space heater running in a room no one is in
  • Some space heaters have settings: even if it is set to “low” and isn’t making noise, it is still on.

Mainers using electric heat pumps may experience similar electricity usage increases in extremely cold weather. As with space heaters, experiences with heat pumps will vary depending upon the space being heated, insulation, house age and configuration, and room size. While the mantra for heat pumps is “set it and forget it” they do work less efficiently in extraordinarily cold temperatures as they are drawing heat in from outside air.

Monitor Your Usage and your Costs

CMP offers Energy Manager – a free online tool to monitor electricity usage day-by-day and hour-by-hour. Customers can enroll online and begin tracking usage within a day or two.

They can view weather data alongside usage to understand any correlations between temperature and electricity usage. Upon enrollment, customers can access 13 months of historical hourly usage, so they can compare the current period to a similar period when they were not using a heat pump or space heater.

CMP also offers an energy calculator to provide average usage details for common appliances, heating and lighting.

Finally, with free Usage Alerts customers can receive a weekly update by text, email or phone about how much electricity they’ve used since their last bill, and set targets for dollar and kWh usage so there are no surprises when the bill comes.

Efficiency Maine is an excellent source for energy efficiency information, resources, case studies, products and incentives.


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About CMP: Central Maine Power Company (CMP), a subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc., is Maine’s largest electricity transmission and distribution utility. Established in 1899 and based in Augusta, Maine, CMP serves approximately 636,000 customers across 346 communities in central and southern Maine. It operates approximately 23,500 miles of distribution lines and 2,900 miles of transmission lines. Over the last decade, the company has invested approximately $3.5 billion in Maine system infrastructure. In 2019, CMP was named Large Business of the Year by the Kennebec Valley United Way. For more information, visit www.cmpco.com.

About AVANGRID: AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR) is a leading, sustainable energy company with approximately $36 billion in assets and operations in 24 U.S. states. With headquarters in Orange, Connecticut, AVANGRID has two primary lines of business: Avangrid Networks and Avangrid Renewables. Avangrid Networks owns eight electric and natural gas utilities, serving more than 3.3 million customers in New York and New England. Avangrid Renewables owns and operates a portfolio of renewable energy generation facilities across the United States. AVANGRID employs approximately 6,600 people. AVANGRID supports the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals and was named among the World’s Most Ethical Companies in 2019 and 2020 by the Ethisphere Institute. For more information, visit www.avangrid.com.


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