If you have an outdoor living space, you may find yourself attempting to extend its use into as many months of the year as possible. Come winter, this task becomes impossible without installing some kind of heater system to combat the cold and wind. Within the heater industry, there are several options for your deck, screened-in porch, or veranda. The two most popular options are electric heaters and gas heaters. However, which one is more cost-effective and a better fit for your porch in Maryland?
Look at Your Gas and/or Electric Bill
Whether a gas heater or electric heater is going to be more cost effective for you depends largely on the market where you live. This is because gas and electric prices vary according to region rather than being static across the States. The most effective way to heat decks in Bethesda, Maryland may not be the best choice for homeowners with decks in Fairfax, Virginia, for example.
Check your gas and/or electric bill to figure out how much you pay per kilowatt (for electricity) and per 1,000 BTUs (for gas). These numbers will help you do some quick calculations to find out which has the lower operating cost between gas and electric heaters.
Do the Calculations
The easiest way to ascertain the best financial choose for your heaters is to do those quick calculations.
For example, say electric heaters - like those by Infratech - take approximately 4 kilowatts per hour to run. If electricity costs $0.10 per kilowatt per hour in your region, we know that’s an operating cost of $0.40 per hour per heater. This is derived by multiplying the cost of electricty by the amount of energy it requires to run.
The same calculations can be made for gas. If your gas burner runs at 34,000 British thermal units (BTUs) per hour, you need to multiply that by the price per BTU to determine your per-hour operating cost for a gas heater.
Is Gas or Electric More Expensive, and Why?
While the price discrepancy between electricity and gas is location and market-dependent, gas heaters are generally more expensive than electric heaters. This is in part due to the loss of efficiency with gas heaters. Combustion plays a role in gas heaters, and consequently energy is lost through that process. Gas heaters are roughly 75% efficient, whereas outdoor electrical heaters run at 90% efficiency.
Other Factors to Consider for Your Deck or Screen Room
When doing your calculations, don’t forget to also take into account other factors that could affect overall operating costs. This includes how many of each type of heater you want installed.
If the prices are somewhat comparable between gas and electric, as is often the case, go with the type of heater works best in your outdoor space. This could be based on any number of factors from heater aesthetics to placement requirements within the outdoor living space to control options.
When the operating cost is separated by a thin price margin, make sure to do your research and choose the heaters that are going to offer the best versatility and function and make your deck, veranda, or screen porch most comfortable throughout the chilly months.
For more details about the operating costs of electric heaters and gas heaters or more general information about what heaters would work best in your outdoor space, please contact a representative of Design Builders, Inc.