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  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Charles in New York is feeling the chill and needs some help with a space heater. What can we do for you?

    CHARLES: We live in a three-level house. Upstairs, when we plug in the space heater – because we’re trying to figure out – you know we’ve always rented apartments and we’re trying to figure out how can we manage our heat bill better –

    TOM: Right.

    CHARLES: So at night we turn down the thermostat and we plug in space heaters …

    TOM: Yep.

    CHARLES: … in a couple of the bedrooms.

    TOM: OK.

    CHARLES: But when you plug in the space heater, it shuts down all the power.

    TOM: The reason for that is because the outlets that are in the bedrooms are probably 15-amp outlets …

    CHARLES: Oh.

    TOM: … and the space heater is drawing a lot more power than that.

    CHARLES: Right.

    TOM: And very frequently, that one circuit that goes through the bedrooms is usually the same circuit in all the bedrooms …

    CHARLES: OK.

    TOM: … for the outlets because, typically, you’re only plugging like lights in it and the vacuum cleaner and that sort of thing. So you’re obviously pulling more power than this particular home – than this particular circuit can take.

    The solution is probably two-fold. First of all, I would look to see what I could do to make my home more energy efficient and EnergyStar.gov has a good home energy auditor on there that you can follow along step-by-step; try to save some money, perhaps add some additional insulation, things of that nature. And secondly, what you might want to try to do is you’re only running these space heaters in the bedrooms you’re sleeping in, is that correct?

    CHARLES: Right.

    TOM: Well, I might just give up on the space heaters; add a clock setback thermostat and maybe set it to go down after you get in bed at night when the covers are on and you’re nice and warm.

    CHARLES: OK.

    TOM: That’s what most people do. A clock setback thermostat will actually cut your heating bills by about ten percent at least.
     

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