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Everyday Cheapskate: The Best Space Heaters to Keep Heating Costs Under Control

Mary Hunt on

Even though winter is still weeks away, we need to brace now for a rude surprise coming soon. I'm talking about winter heating bills. Natural gas and heating fuel prices are surging.

The most efficient and easiest way to keep your home's winter heating bills under control is to set the main source of heat very low then strategically supplement with efficient electric space heaters. You can rely on this method during the day as well as at night.

My husband and I have operated our respective businesses from our home for more than five years. Our offices occupy the lower level of our home. During the cold months, in order to get the office at a comfortable 68 F to 70 F using our forced air furnace, the rest of the house gets a lot warmer-especially the upper level, where it gets downright hot. That's totally unacceptable because those parts of the house are not occupied during our workdays. So here's what we do:

We program the house thermostat to 60 F for work hours on weekdays. Then we rely on a space heater in the lower level, which operates with an appliance timer to come on in time to make the office warm and comfortable at about 68 F. This office area is about 400 sq. ft., and this one heater does a remarkable job of keeping the temperature even throughout the entire space, making the office perfectly comfortable.

At night, the house thermostat goes down to 55 F and we set a space heater in the bedroom to 65 F. That plus quality bedding and a down comforter keep us warm and comfy; not too hot, not too cold, but just right.

We use and are super happy with a micathermic space heater. It is remarkably quiet. I find it annoying and disruptive to hear a heater fan cycle on and off, so this one feature may be the biggest reason we are such fans.


There are a number of different types of space heaters, ranging in cost from about $30 to $150, depending where you shop.


The heating element on a micathermic heater is covered in thin sheets of mica. It produces both convection heat and radiant heat, which gives immediate warmth. A nice gentle kind of heat, not a blast of hot air. It provides us a constant source of warmth, not constant warming up to hot then shutting off until it gets cold again.



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