Electric Heaters, Do They Really Save?

No one likes being cold, and no one likes spending more money than they have to on heating utilities. This brings up the demand for portable electric heaters. They can be brought anywhere, can heat up a room quickly, and can save you a bunch. Don’t they?

Ultimately, it’s brought down to two short and sweet answers:

  1. If heating one room, yes definitely
  2. If heating a house, no

Here are some things you need to know about space heaters;

There are two types of space heaters; radiant and convection:

  • Radiant heaters will heat a smaller space in your room, blasting heat to the immediate area around it.
  • Convection heaters will heat up air passing through it, and blow it around the room, heating up the whole area.

Different models of space heaters take up a wide variety of energy, which can affect just how much you’re saving by using it. Most convection space heaters will hover around the energy consumption of 1500 watts just to heat one room effectively.   This maybe cheaper if you’re only heating one room, but on a room for room basis, this is A LOT more expensive than most whole-home heating options.

Despite the fact that using a whole-home heating system will result in a larger bill altogether, (especially if your home is heated with gas), a geothermal system costs significantly less to cover a much wider area. For those who aren’t aware of the alternative, geothermal systems are an extremely cost effective system which extracts and moves heat from the earth instead of generating it, and shifts the higher temperature air throughout your home.

Heat pumps which utilize warm temperature from the air outside or the ground both are great for your wallet, as they both rely on naturally existing resources. If you can afford the installation, or know you’ll be spending a long time in the same home, heat pumps are definitely the way to go.

Ultimately though, when it comes down to it, if you aren’t a homeowner, and perhaps can’t afford the investment of a heat pump installation, it will always be more efficient to use a space heater for a room or two of your house.  If you have any questions or inquiries about portable space heaters contact your nearest heating and air specialist! Stay warm!

For more information, check out our recent blog article about geothermal heat pumps.

Geothermal Heat: What the Fuss is About

If you know someone in the heating and air business, you may have heard them mention geothermal heat pumps. While they may just sound like another heating/cooling system among the hundreds of flashy sounding options, Geothermal heat has become a resource which can cut down your utility bills up to 70%!

What is geothermal heat?

Geothermal heat is the constant temperature range produced in the earth. Despite the constantly changing weather outside, underground the earth maintains higher temperatures from absorbed sun rays.

How do geothermal heat pumps work?

Geothermal heat pumps work similar to regular heat pumps with a few differences:

  • ‘Loops’ of pipes containing a water solution are buried underground, and connected to your heat pump system. These can be installed horizontally or vertically in the ground near your home.
  • Using the water heater in tandem, heat is either extracted or exited through these loops, and ventilated through your home. It isn’t generating heat, but is instead moving the underground temperature around to facilitate your needs.

Compare this to how regular heat pumps work:

  • Air based heat pumps are just as sophisticated in technology to ground based. To sum up how an air based heat pump works: Heat is energy, and when a material changes from one state to another (liquid to gas or vice versa), it absorbs or disperses energy around it as needed. Heat pumps utilize this basic method with a compressor, and once energy has been gathered, disperses it throughout your home as needed.
  • When the desired effect is cooling, the process is reversed, and the heat is shifted out of your home through the same process of absorbing and dispersing energy.

How is a geothermal heat pump better than a regular heat pump?

  • Geothermal heat is energy efficient/green – as the heat is being pulled from a natural resource, the system doesn’t have to work as hard as an outdoor unit.
  • Cost is reduced – With less energy being used, your utility cost will virtually torpedo downward to a fraction of what you were paying before
  • Runs more quietly – a geothermal heat pump has a less noisy mechanism than a regular heat pump.
  • Installed inside your home – this means less repairs and maintenance from weather.

As always, it’s best to consult a geothermal heating and cooling savannah professional for an insight to what heating/cooling system would serve you best!


Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Learn About Heat Pumps

Surprise cold snaps can be hard to deal with, especially in the South.

Last winter, the weather hit an all-time low, and many homeowners were left completely unprepared, and unsure what to combat the cold with.

When most people consider temperature control in their home, their focus is on central air conditioning or gas heating. While these work, they have their fair share of setbacks (cost of gas in the winter/cost of cool air generators and repair in the summer).

A useful alternative to understand and consider for those cold or warm times, is a heat pump.

Most people don’t know, but a heat pump can be used to both cool down or warm up a home!

How it works
When most people hear ‘heat pump’ they think of a mechanism that generates heat, but in reality, heat pumps transport heat from one area to another.

A little known fact is that even in cold weather, heat is present. A heat pump will extract the heat from the air, and bring it into your home in the winter. The same technique is reversed for the summer, when your heat pump extracts the heat from your home, leaving only cooler air!

Less cost to you and the environment
Perhaps the greatest aspect of a heat pump is the efficiency of the device. Having a two part system for heating and air conditioning can be both costly and harmful for the environment. As a heat pump runs on electricity, and doesn’t burn fuel, they can help save the environment as well as your wallet space!

What to do now
If you are interested, but want to know more about how a heat pump could specifically help control the temperature in your home, call McCalls Heating and Air for a consultation!

Keeping Safe While Keeping Warm – Furnaces

It’s cold outside.

If you’re in Savannah or anywhere in the Low Country you’ve probably had your heat blowing at least a few times during this recent cold snap. Here are some things you should be thinking about as you keep warm this winter.

Neglecting your furnace can be costly and even dangerous.  You can save yourself considerable headache just by taking a few minutes to inspect your furnace or by hiring a heating and air conditioning professional to do scheduled maintenance on your furnace every year.

The first time you turn on your furnace you might have smelled a burning smell.  This is generally nothing to worry about.  If you have a heat pump, it is normal for some dust to have accumulated during the warm months.  That dust will probably burn off harmlessly the first time you turn your furnace on. If the smell does not go away quickly, or you see actual smoke, it may be something more serious than dust, and you should probably call or professional for further inspection.

Even if your home heating system is not producing significant smoke, there are still parts of your furnace which should be inspected and cleaned every year.  Igniters, sensors, and gas burners should be checked at least once a year.

Igniters should be cleaned every cold season.  Sensors should be cleaned and inspected as well.  If a heat sensor is dirty or malfunctioning, it can wreak havoc with your family’s comfort and your heating bill. Gas burners are probably the element of your heating system which is most important to check.

A rusted gas burner can allow carbon monoxide to leak into your home.  Carbon monoxide is toxic colorless and odorless gas which is created during the heating process of a gas furnace.  When the gas burner is intact, the carbon monoxide is disposed of harmlessly.

If burners are allowed to rust or deteriorate the carbon monoxide can creep into the home’s ductwork and poison inhabitants with little or no warning. The rest of the winter promises to bring at least a bit more cool weather before spring.  Take the time to hire a heating and air conditioning professional to inspect your furnace to keep your home and your family safe all year long.

Feel like you’re spending too much on heat? Check out our article, “5 things to do which save money on your heat and air bill right now”