Save on Heating Oil, but Spend on Electricity

Part of our efforts to save on heating oil and reduce the overall energy bill in the winter is use radiators in the evening so the temperature in the house can be kept low. While we may have lowered heating oil consumption so far this winter, the spending on electricity certainly went up, a lot, and that makes me wondering if the trade-off is worth it.

We bought two oil-filled radiators (a Delonghi TRD0715T and a Honeywell HZ-709 7) in the past two winters to heat the two bedrooms. This winter season, we fired up our radiators early last November when the outside temperature dropped to the 40-degree range. Inside the rooms, the radiators are on 11 hours from 8:00 pm to 7:00 am the next morning. The temperature on the radiators is set at 70 degrees, while the thermostat is at 61 degrees.

After the first two months of this winter, which was actually quite *warm* so far with no major snows, we saw our electricity usage surged to a record level. I just paid our December electricity bill of $125.15, the largest ever for us.


When we think of winter energy bill, our concern is always on the ever increasing price of heating oil/natural gas. In early November when we received our first oil delivery, the price we paid was more than 30% higher than what we paid last winter. If relying entirely on heating oil, the price tag could be quite high for staying warm this winter, especially when the oil price is hovering around $100 with no sign of easing. So we turned to radiators, but only to spend much more on electricity.

When the winter is over, I wonder how much, if at all, we saved on heating with the radiators.

BTW, the Honeywell HZ-709 7 radiator with digital control is much better than the Delonghi TRD0715T. the Delonghi radiator has a mechanical programmable timer. When we first bought it, it was quite. However, after a few month, the timer’s click got louder and louder and we had to unplug the radiator when not using it to slow the deterioration :(

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4 Responses to “Save on Heating Oil, but Spend on Electricity”

  1. Money Blue Book |  Jan 10, 2008 at 11:48 am

    Well insulated windows is key. I can afford to keep my thermostat low because insulation retains so much natural heat at my place