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Sunday, August 26, 2012

How to fix your winter heating bills

An air conditioner for heating costs just 20 percent of the cost of running an electric heater

Bad news stories of air conditioners driving up peak electricity demand during heat waves abound.

The good news is that using an air conditioner to heat your home in winter uses only 20 percent of the electrical energy of an electric heater.

So if you are using electric heaters to keep warm and are concerned about your electricity bill - there is an alternative available that will cut that heating bill by 80 percent.

These two diagrams illustrate why air-conditioners are so much cheaper to run than electric heaters.

The performance of air conditioner systems for heating is available at the Air Conditioner Energy Ratings government website.
Reverse Cycle Air Conditioner - energy flow
Reverse Cycle Air Conditioner - energy flow
(Pay for 1 kilowatt-hour, get an extra 4 kilowatt-hours free)

Electric Heating - energy flow
Electric Heating - energy flow

Interesting implications on fuel costs

The Wildcard Of Renewable Energy
By News Staff | August 13th 2012
"If you produce only heat from woodchips you have an energy efficiency of more than 80 percent"
The same can be said of burning wood pellets, natural gas, heating oil or any other fuel to heat your home. It looks like a good proposition - obtaining more than 80 percent of the energy content of the fuel as useful heat.

It is not the best that can be done however.

If the heat energy in the fuel is converted to electrical energy at 50 percent efficiency then each 2 kilowatt-hours of heat energy can produce 1 kilowatt-hour of electrical energy. If this is used in a reverse-cycle air conditioner to heat your home, you obtain 5 times 1 kilowatt-hour (that is 5 kilowatt-hours) of heat energy for each 2 kilowatt-hours of heat energy in the fuel.

Burning high-quality fuels such as natural gas for heating is an unnecessary waste of energy resources.