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How Much Power Does My Electric Heater Use?

It’s a very common question.  Everyone wants to know how much it really costs to run their electric heater.

Electric heaters come in a variety of types, including convection, radiant and fan heaters, and a variety of sizes from less than 1 kilowtt to 8.5 kilowatts.

No matter what type of heater you have, the running cost is always a combination of the same 3 factors:

• The kilowatt rating of the heater
• The cost per hour of electricity
• The number of hours the heater is operated

It doesn’t matter what type or size heater you have, the equation is still the same.

For example if you have a 6.0 kw fan heater on the Hydro Heat tariff of 15.2 cents per kilowatt hour then your heater will cost 91 cents per hour to run.  If you run the heater on it’s highest setting for 6 hours a day your total cost will be \$5.46 per day.

6.0 kw x 15.2 cents x 6 hours = \$5.46

If you have a 2.4kw panel heater on the normal light and power tariff of 25.2 cents per kilowatt hour then your heater will cost 60.48 cents per hour to run.  If you run that heater on it’s highest setting for 10 hours a day your total cost will be \$6.05 per day.

2.4 kw x 25.2 cents x 10 hours = \$6.05

With the costs outlined above its easy to see how electricity bills can spiral out of control.  With a 6.0 kw main heater in your lounge and a 2.4kw panel heater in the hallway, running for 6 and 10 hours respectively, your quarterly power bill would be \$1,035.00 for heating alone.

In normal use, even if your heater is switched on for 10 hours a day it won’t be running flat out for the whole 10 hours.  Most heaters have some type of thermostat to regulate the temperature.

If you turn the thermostat up high the heater will run for longer.  Turn it down and the heater runs for less time.

The examples above are probably close to maximum costs and your actual cost will be less, depending on how you set the thermostats.

Other variables that affect the cost of running your heater include the design and construction of your home.

A well insulated home will retain more of the heat produced, allowing you to run your heater at a lower thermostat setting.

Closing off rooms to contain the heat and closing your curtains will reduce the cost of heating.

Your heater should be matched to the size of the area you want to heat.

A fan heater that is serviced and cleaned regularly will run more efficiently than one choked full of dust.  Regular cleaning may also help you avoid the cost of replacing fan motors and elements damaged by over-heating.

Avoid expensive repair bills for your electric fan heater.

It’s worth the effort to check the kilowatt rating of each of your heaters and do the calculations to get an idea of how much each heater costs to run.

Sometimes the hourly cost can seem small, but multiplied by a few hours a day and then multiplied again by 90 days, that small cost can really add up.

For advice on electric heater installation and repairs phone Mance Electrical Launceston on 6331 4711 or send us an email using the form below.

Email us for prompt help with your heater problems.

Generators Are Lost Opportunity For Tasmania

Hydro Tasmania’s greed and mismanagement, the failure of the Basslink cable and an unexpected drought have brought power generation in Tasmania to a crisis point.

We are now in panic mode with large industrial users cutting production and emergency measures in place.

Hydro Tasmania has committed \$44 million to hire up to 200 hundred diesel generators and has predicted up to \$22 million a month for fuel to run them.

If those figures are correct, after 3 months running the generators we will have spent \$110 million.  And what will we have to show for it?  The generators will still belong to someone else and the diesel will have all gone up in smoke.

Imagine if Hydro Tasmania spent \$110 million on solar panel installations across Tasmania.

That amount of money would be enough to put a 5.0kw system on over 12,200 homes across the state.

Or make every single government building, every hospital, every school, college and university, every local council building, all the museums and libraries, and every sports ground and community centre in the state, self sufficient in electricity for the next 25 years.

Spending the money in Tasmania would create hundreds of new jobs with a massive amount of work for solar installers, wholesalers and distributers, truck drivers, etc with the usual flow on effects running through the state economy.  The power saved by using solar generation could then be sold to the mainland, meaning no loss of revenue for the Hydro.

Under the present scheme, most of the money leaves the state.

The dire state of our water storages means there isn’t time to install that many panels before the water runs out.  Recent rains have been welcome but are only a drop in the bucket compared to what is needed.

Lake Gordon for example covers 272 square kilometres and is 43 metres down from it’s full level.  That is an absolutely colossal amount of water and will take years to refill.

The same weather that has brought the rain is also delaying the repair of the Basslink cable.

If the rain continues, we may just avoid the rolling power blackouts that will otherwise be required.  If power cuts do occur it will be a disaster for families and businesses alike.

How many people are well prepared to face a Tasmanian winter without power?

Some people are preparing by buying their own generators, but just owning a generator is not a straight forward replacement for mains power.

The small handyman generator will not power much more than your lights and your toaster.  It certainly won’t run your electric heater.

A generator large enough to run your home, including some of your heating, can be sourced for around \$2,000.  That’s fine if you can afford it, but you can’t just run a cord out and plug it into your heat pump.

In order to use the power from your generator you need a generator inlet connected to your switchboard and a proper isolation switch to select between mains and generator power and avoid causing safety issues for your neighbours.

There is no easy fix to the power problems we face at the moment. Let’s hope the rain continues, the Basslink cable is repaired and that those responsible for this debacle are held properly accountable.

For advice and quotes on solar panels and generator inlets phone Mance Electrical on 6331 4711.

Heat Pump Installations

Winter Is Coming!

Not only to fictional TV kingdoms, but also to Tasmania.

Heat pumps are the most efficient and popular electric heating solution for dealing with our Launceston winters.

Heat pumps don’t actually produce heat themselves.  They simply use refrigeration gasses and compressors to move heat from one place to another.  In winter they move heat from outside to inside your home, and in summer when you switch to air-conditioning mode, they move heat from inside your home to outside.

Heat pumps use electricity to operate, but they produce more energy, in the form of heat, than the amount of power consumed.  This efficiency advantage is what makes your heat pump cheaper to run than a conventional electric heater.

Before you install a heat pump there are a few things that should be checked:

Mains Cables – The size of your mains cables should be checked to make sure they will not be overloaded.

Switchboard – Is there room on your switchboard for additional main switches?

Size of heat pump – The heat pump capacity must be matched to the size of the area to be heated.

Location – The location of the indoor and outdoor units affects the performance of the system.   If the indoor unit is not correctly located then the heat will not be distributed to the areas required.  If the outdoor unit is not correctly located then performance of the system will suffer.

The ideal location for an outdoor unit is in an area that received early morning sun, so that it can start off with the warmest air available.

The location requirements of the two units can sometimes be in conflict.  The indoor and outdoor units should be as close together as possible and often the best compromise must be found.

Cost – Heat pump installs are often sold as a fixed price package, with retailers competing to offer the lowest price.  As you might expect, there are a number of potential problems with an installation where the lowest price is the main consideration.

The installer working for a low fixed fee does not have the time to make sure the indoor and outdoor units are placed in the best locations.  The units will be placed where they are easiest to install, with the pipe run as short as possible, to save money on labour and materials.

If your mains cables are small the installer may fit a load limiting circuit breaker to the switchboard without explaining the potential problems or offering you an alternative.

A load limiter will cut the power completely if the total load exceeds 40 amps for example  This means you may not be able to run your heat pump and your oven at the same time and certainly not make a cup of tea as well.  Nuisance tripping due to overloading means you will be constantly trudging out to the switchboard to reset the breaker.

The way to avoid these problems is to get an on-site inspection and a quotation based on the unique design and layout of your home and your personal requirements.

Contact Mance Electrical Launceston for a free on-site inspection and advice on the best heat pump solution for your home.

Phone 6331 4711 or send us an email using the form below.