Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Word to the Wise: Watch Out for Those Space Heaters!

Every winter I receive a few calls from our clients with space heaters...
"Hey! Even though I have solar, I received a utility bill this month, what's the deal with that?"

Just a word to the wise -- space heaters use a substantial amount of electricity. The typical unit we see is generally a 1,500 watt space heater but I've even seen a few which use as much as 4,000 watts every hour of operation.

That's a whole lot of electricity! Let me put it into perspective here...

If your typical solar system out there is producing, let's say, 5 kilowatts per hour for about eight hours per day in the winter and you've plugged in a space heater which requires 1,500 watts of electricity (or 1.5 kWs) for eight hours, a good portion of what you're producing during the daytime is being used up by that single space heater.

To make matters even worse, some families out there use a few space heaters at a time, really increasing the amount of electricity used. So now you can begin to see why I receive calls every winter with questions why our solar clients have now received a utility bill. I can't stress this enough: be careful with those space heaters, they use more electricity than you'd think!

It's also worth mentioning that once you go solar, you only need to "settle" with the utility company once each year so if you do receive a bill, make sure not to pay it unless it's actually your time of the year to settle. If you have further questions about net metering (NEM), feel free to visit SDG&E's website here: Smart Meters and Net Metering.

If you're anything like me, you're looking forward to those sunny warm summer days. However, in the meantime while it's rainy and a bit cold, be careful with those space heaters!

Pey Shadzi
Operations Manager at Cosmic Solar

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