Space heaters advertise lots of warmth, And lots of savings. You may have seen full page ads in the newspaper for "miracle" heaters that claim they can "slash your heating bills."
But can they really do that? Our partners at Consumer Reports Magazine say in most cases, no.
Why Many People Don't See Savings
Jim Nanni of Consumer Reports says what the ads don't tell you is that you will have to keep most of your home cold to lower your bills with a space heater.
"Unless you turn the heat down in the whole house and just use a space heater in one or two rooms, you won't see much of a savings," Nanni said.
Consumer Reports says despite what the ads claim, most space heaters give off identical amounts of heat since they are all rated at 1500 watts (the maximum allowable with home wiring).
But Consumer Reports says don't count any space heater to slash your heating bills. That's because electricity is more expensive than gas. Natural gas costs have fallen in recent years, while electric rates have risen.
Electricity typically costs 20 percent more than gas to heat the same 1,000 square foot space.
If your furnace burns heating oil, however, the costs are more comparable.
How it Can Save Some Money
Consumer Reports for a space heater save you money, you need to keep the main thermostat for your house at 60 degrees or below (which is chilly for most people).
Then move the space heater from room to room with you, from the kitchen, to the living room, etc. Then you will lower your heating bills, as you are heating only 200 square feet at once.
That's a lot of effort, though, and it could be unsafe.
Top Rated Model
Many $300 heaters claim to be best, using terms like "infrared," "convection," or even, yes, "miracle."
But Consumer Reports gives its top rating to an inexpensive baseboard electric heater, a $75 model from Honeywell, sold at Lowes and Home Depot.
Honeywell makes several different versions of it, depending on the type of thermostat you want. The Honeywell HZ-817 is the specific model they tested, but there are several other versions.
As always, don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.
"Like" J ohn Matarese on Facebook
Follow John on Twitter (@DWYM)
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
John Matarese has a caution about some supermarket olive oil
John Matarese checks into a viral coupon for free Chipotle burritos
John Matarese shows one downside of flying a discount airline
John Matarese looks into a problem hitting some Apple MacBooks
John Matarese explains why Ohioans with Cincinnati Bell Energy need to check their bill
About 31,000 Duraflame electric space heaters were recalled this week after reports of units melting and catching fire.
John Matarese reports on a strange charge showing up on many credit cards.
John Matarese warns about the "One-Ring" scam
When it comes to chicken, big packs of boneless breasts look like a good deal. But look closer.
John Matarese looks into an e-mail claiming to offer free credit monitoring