Use Science to Slash Your Home Heating Bill

By Mary Hunt

January 27, 2014 4 min read

Got big heating bills this winter, even though you keep the thermostat set at "Brrrrrr"? Science may be able to offer you a better and cheaper way to stay warm at home. But first, a few facts:

Feeling warm or cold has nothing to do with air temperature. We get warm from our surroundings that have been heated by infrared radiation. The sun produces harmless infrared light waves that are invisible and responsible for making us feel warm.

Feeling warm or cold does not depend on the temperature of the surrounding air. Skiers and mountain climbers do not freeze on extremely cold but sunny days. In fact, on really sunny cold days, they get so hot, it's not unusual to see them ski in shorts. That's because of infrared. When infrared waves touch the surface of the skier's skin and clothing, heat energy is released regardless of the surrounding air temperature. So people on a winter sports holiday are able to sunbathe despite the low air temperatures — all thanks to the sun's infrared rays.

Now let's talk about the way you heat your home. Whether you have a forced air furnace, a central gas heater or radiators in every room, your system, like most, heats air and directs it into the rooms of your home. It costs a lot of money to keep open areas warm using this method, and even then, you may still feel cold.

There is an alternative and surefire way to keep heating costs down while feeling warm and toasty. It's called infrared technology.

Portable infrared heaters work like the sun, producing infrared light waves, not warm air. An infrared heater will heat you, your dog, your chair, the carpet, the walls — not the air around you. It's like the difference between being directly in the sunlight versus sitting in the shade. You feel warm in the sun because the light that hits your clothes and skin keeps you warm. Infrared warms objects and surfaces, which then radiate warmth back into the room. Infrared heaters are safe, available readily and quite inexpensive. They come in a range of design and size. Some even look like an attractive piece of furniture, wood stove, flat panel or fireplace.

The nice thing about a portable infrared heater is that you can move it from one room to another as you change rooms. Or you could put one in each of several rooms. Using an infrared heater, it takes just a few minutes to get a room warm and comfortable.

Used in conjunction with your current heating system, stand-alone infrared heaters can reduce your home heating bills by as much as 50 percent because you can turn down the thermostat for the whole house, and then supplement as needed with infrared. Depending on how much you are paying for home heat, an infrared heater could pay for itself in just a matter of weeks.

Infrared heaters cost nothing to install or maintain (no wood or pellets to purchase) and can keep you warm for pennies a day.

Stand-alone portable infrared heaters can heat from 300 to 1,800 square feet, depending on the model you select. Some even have a programmable thermostat to start the heater just before you get home, so your favorite chair will be warm and ready for you.

An infrared heater just may be the solution you've been looking for to slash the cost of staying warm and comfortable this winter.

Mary Hunt is the founder of and author of 24 books, including her 2013 release, "The Smart Woman's Guide to Planning for Retirement." You can email her at [email protected], or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630. To find out more about Mary Hunt and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at

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