The $1000 radiator bill

The heat is on
The heat is on

I recently installed ducting to all the bedrooms, putting the air intake near the woodheater flue.

It was an easy job, assembled using an eBay kit and a few extra parts, with the wiring left for the pros.

I had them install a cheap bar-style radiator on the wall under the air intake for when I had no firewood, or for when a really cold blast hits.

The radiator was doing a great job on its own so I left it on for much of the time over slightly more than month.

Then the quarterly power bill came in – $1000 above normal!

I can’t say the increase was solely from the radiator, as I used the wall panels a little more than usual, but I suspect it was the bulk of the cost.

The scary thing is that my radiator is wired into the heat tariff circuit, which is less than a quarter of the cost of the standard power.

The unit came with a standard 240v plug, which means most people would just connect it to the expensive standard tariff.

I know – radiators use a lot of juice and I should have done the maths first yada yada – but it was still a shock.

I think of folk on pensions who buy a similar radiator and plug it into their wall socket in winter, and are then hit with the bill. Ouch.

Any doubt about firewood providing cheaper heating has been dispelled, even after the cost of chainsaws, chains, oil, petrol and time.

I’ll continue cutting my own firewood as it is the cheapest way to go.

Heat pumps are of course best for electrical efficiency, but there is a big spend required up front.

Lastly, under the current tariffs my 5.5kw solar system is near useless, just $150 off the bill. I don’t know why people would bother with new systems now in Tassie, although the return is better during the long summer days.

I am considering building a small wind turbine to power the radiator.

If only we could tap into all the hot air coming out of politics these days.

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Tasmanian Life