One of the fun things about a house built in the 1950s being inhabited by 21st century residents is the electrical system. Nobody thought twice back then about having three bedrooms sharing one 15 amp circuit. A few lamps, three clocks, and a couple of radios or record players could all be safely run at the same time . Even if you used one of the bedrooms for a home office, an electric typewriter wouldn't trip the breaker.
Some of you know that we spent a good amount of our savings last August upgrading the insulation in our exterior walls and attic. It is much more comfortable in our home, and while I hated spending the money, it was definitely worth the expense. That said, attempting to maintain our entire home at 65F (18C) during the winter, results in us spending more money than we would like. So, we decided to go with supplemental zone heating. For us, this meant setting our main thermostat at a lower setting than normal, and using an electric oil-filled radiator to warm up the space we were using to about 65F (18F). Since we wear layers, 65F (18C) is plenty warm for us.
Back to the problem of only having 15 amps to work with in the bedrooms. We have two small electric oil-filled radiators that use 500 watts on the lowest setting, and two larger ones that use 700 watts on the lowest setting. One of the small electric oil-filled radiators is in our bathroom ( it does have a GFCI plug), because our bathroom gets no heat from the central system, and the other small electric oil-filled radiator is in my husband's home office which we are temporarily using for our bedroom. This bedroom is the smallest bedroom in the house, and only has one exterior wall. Because of this, the lowest setting on the heater coupled with our normal winter bedding makes it plenty warm in there on the coldest nights.
Having only 15 amps to work with, presents a challenge if we want to run a heater in more than one bedroom as 15 amps = 1800 watts. The wiring can handle 1800 watts, but the 15 amp breaker should only carry 12 amps on a continuous basis before tripping. We have some newer wiring and circuits in our kitchen that can carry 20 amps, or 2400 watts (amps x volts = watts), but that doesn't do anything for us in the bedrooms. Just as a point of reference, our garage has 30 amp breakers, but the wiring is not of a high enough gauge to handle 3600 watts, so that job was obviously not done by an electrician. Edited to add: Please note that I am in the United States and used 120 volts for these calculations. While you do have 240 volt circuits in the US for larger appliances such as electric stoves or dryers, 120 is the standard for household voltage. The voltage in your country may be different.
The front bedroom, which is my craft/sewing/computer room plus kitty headquarters, currently is serving as all of the above plus my husband's temporary home office. This room is the most uncomfortable room in the house. I've puzzled until my puzzler is sore trying to figure out why there is such a large temperature discrepancy between it and its mirror image bedroom at the back of the house. I know the back bedroom gets the morning sun, but the front bedroom gets the afternoon sun, so shouldn't that equal out? I dunno, but I have cold kitties and the kitten, aka Circus Act has some sort of issue about not liking enclosed spaces and refuses to use the fuzzy cat bed because it has a roof.
The picture is a couple of months old, but it captures Circus Act being totally adorable.
The nineteen year old, aka Cranky Old Lady, she understands curling up in her little house to stay warm, but she screams her head off when we have to pull her out to do meds twice a day because she's toasty warm in her house. When I need to go in there to perform assorted financial acts of wizardry, Circus Act wants in my lap because he's cold, and I end up trying to type with one hand to keep him away from my papers and from chomping on my computer cords. Plus, I'm cold too, but I can't bring in one of the heaters, because I'm afraid that Circus Act will either knock it over or chomp on the cord. He's like a puppy in his chewing habits. He is getting better as he gets older, but he's still learning right now.
In other words, I need a heater that's in my price range, safe, low wattage, and that Circus Act can't knock over or somehow destroy. There's no such thing as perfection on this earth, but I found something that works pretty darn well for my needs. Since it was coming up on cyber Monday, I found a 25% off coupon and ended up buying two heaters for the two larger bedrooms in our house. I thought I could get away with installing these without having to use any power tools, but I did end up having to get out the cordless drill, so I guess that means I broke my "No more home improvement projects until January" sabbatical. It was only for one afternoon, and now that it's done, I think it was worth it.
Can you tell that this floor is a work in progress?
Hey, I get a lady and a baby with my heaters! I hope she likes to clean and do dishes, I'll offer to play with the baby while she scrubs the bathroom tile.
Well, the lady and the baby must have gotten lost on the way here.
Cranky Old Lady is making sure that the lady and her baby don't try to break in. Actually, she heard the ice cream truck and wanted to keep an eye on her as she drove down our street. It rained last weekend so our lawn/weeds have exploded into a temporary patch of green.
Using the template to mark the holes on the wall. The instructions said I wouldn't need a drill, but I tried screwing the drywall anchors in as directed and had trouble, so I got out the cordless drill and drilled some pilot holes.
The pilot holes were not enough and I couldn't find the box of bits to get a larger one. Since it was only two holes, I just used the bit for screwing in Phillips head screws to enlarge the holes.
Okay, I got the drywall anchors in place, and got the clips to hold the heater in place screwed in. Please ignore the ugly grey thing with boxes on it. It's part of my husband's junk from his home office that had to temporarily go in here until he gets his home office back.
I struggled a bit getting the heater on the clips and I didn't read ahead to see that if I wanted to use the locking bar option, that I needed to insert the screw part of the way before hanging the heater on the wall. I was afraid to take it back off the wall, so I put a mirror on the floor and eventually got the screw in place with the teeny tiny Allen wrench that came with it.
The second heater for the back bedroom went much faster. I even remembered to put the screw partially in place for the locking bar, before I hung it. Unfortunately, it fell out as I was getting the heater on the wall, so I again used the mirror to assist me in getting the screw tightened up.
As I expected, the heater in the back bedroom is working better for us than the one in the front bedroom. On the coldest nights, the back bedroom heater can keep the room at our desired temperature of 65F (18C) or higher at less than the highest setting, while the front bedroom heater struggles at the highest setting to reach even 65F (18C). We've had a similar experience with our window air conditioners in these two rooms, so it's the room, not the heater. Still, we've been pleased and are happy that we no longer have to make room on the floor in the back bedroom for one of the electric oil-filled radiators, and that Circus Act has not found a way to destroy the heater in the front bedroom. I did take the precaution of wiping down the cords of both heaters with vinegar to dissuade him from chewing on them. So far, he hasn't expressed an interest in the cords, and likes to lay on the floor next to the heater when it's on.
According to the owners manual, my Envi heaters are 475 watts/3.95 Amps and are designed to work best when installed 6" to 8" from the floor, in an insulated room of no more than 150 sq feet (14 sq meters). The square footage can be increased if the room is very well insulated, or will need to be decreased if the room is less insulated. Multiple heaters can be installed to heat larger rooms, and the heater works best as a supplemental heat source which allows you to decrease the temperature on your central heating system while heating only the room you are in. There is also a hardwired version available in some regions.
After I got the heaters installed, I had some hot chocolate with chocolate whipped cream.
Sadly, the whipped cream melted a bit while I was trying to get a good picture. Still, it was tasty!