Skimpy Space-Heater Savings

Sales of space heaters soar in the winter. But can space heaters actually save you money on your energy bills?

Consumer Reports has sized up space heaters, including the heavily advertised Amish Heater.

You may have seen the infomercial for the Heat Surge fireplace, or the newspaper ad claiming it will "help home heat bills hit rock-bottom."

Consumer Reports Jim Nanni checked out the Heat Surge, which costs $298 and up, if you order what the company calls a "hand-built Amish Fireplace mantle."

Jim Nanni says, "The Heat Surge is essentially an electric space heater with faux fireplace that's made in China. The fireplace is illuminated by some lightbulbs."

So can the Heat Surge or any space heater save you money on your energy bills.

Nanni says, "You could potentially save some money using an electric space heater by heating just one room while lowering the heat in the rest of your home."

Otherwise space heaters just add to your energy costs. As for the Heat Surge--

"You can fin many less expensive heaters with high performance." said Nanni.

Consumer Reports recommends the $80 DeLonghi SafeHeat Mica Panel space heater.

"If you really want to save some money, reduce temperatures five to 10 degrees at night and when you're away. You can save up to 20% on your heating bill and you can remain comfortable, in every room in your home." said Nanni.

If you do use a space heater, Consumer Reports says never leave it unattended.

Check the cord to make sure it's not frayed. And keep the heater away from furniture, bedding, and curtains.

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