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Any HVAC Folks Out There? (Vanity?

Posted on 11/07/2010 4:26:48 PM PST by plinyelder

This was a tough one to figure out what category this should go in!

Well .. Anyway .. I need some advice from an expert on electrical use.

Been out of work for over two years now and I am 'squeezing' every dime to survive!

Here is my question: I live in a two story, vinyl sided home.

I have an electric fireplace downstairs (12.5 amps +120 volts= 1500 watts) and the same upstairs.

I also have .. what I think is a 2.5 ton 'Heat Pump'.

I have No Clue, (being from Florida) What or how a heat pump works so .. Would it be 'cheaper' to run the two fireplaces to heat the home, (heat pump off) or should I just use the heat pump?

The fireplace upstairs is in the master bedroom and Really does the job but the one downstairs, really only warms two of the four rooms on the lower level.

I think that electric runs between 11 and 13 cents per Kilowatt hour.

Oh yea .. Both fireplaces can be set to turn off and on as needed (thermostat?) but the one on the lower floor has to run on high .. all the time to do the job.

Thanks Everyone


TOPICS: Chit/Chat; Miscellaneous; Science; Weather
KEYWORDS: broke; heat; heatpump; hvac; weather; winter
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I know that either option will be expensive .. I just want to know which one wont Kill my tiny bank account.
1 posted on 11/07/2010 4:26:52 PM PST by plinyelder
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To: plinyelder

As long as you keep the heating strips from turning on in the heat pump, it is the most cost effective. Usually, there is a little indicator on the thermostat to tell you when the heat strips turn on. The only way to keep them off on some units is to keep the inside temp setting low enough to keep the chill off in really cold conditions.


2 posted on 11/07/2010 4:31:29 PM PST by mazda77 (Mike Hogan - JAX Mayor)
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To: plinyelder

Heat pump, it’s an air conditioner that will take heat from the outside air and when the outside gets cold enough will automatically switch to electric resistance heat.
This assumes properly sized and operating equipment.


3 posted on 11/07/2010 4:32:14 PM PST by steve8714 (Never again should free men be asked to fight for those without the courage to turn them loose.)
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To: plinyelder

Put some socks and another shirt on.

I also live in Florida. Shorts and a t-shirt aren’t meant to be worn ALL the time ya know.


4 posted on 11/07/2010 4:34:53 PM PST by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: plinyelder
The heat pump is cheaper (assuming that it's properly charged). If it is a new, high-efficiency, heat pump it will be about half the cost.

Once temperatures start to go below about 27 degrees heat pumps are no more efficient than resistance heat (your electric units).

5 posted on 11/07/2010 4:38:36 PM PST by 69ConvertibleFirebird
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To: plinyelder

The heat pump is, by far, the most efficient. Electricity runs the compressor but extra heat is achieved by changing a gas to a liquid, and vice versa at the expansion valve. It turns your house into a giant refrigerator, giving you the ability to reverse the location of the condenser and the evaporator, depending upon the season. Fireplaces, especially those that don’t use outside air for combustion, will actually cool your home except for the area right in front of the flame.


6 posted on 11/07/2010 4:38:55 PM PST by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)
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To: 69ConvertibleFirebird

Oh, yeah... Also, fireplaces suck more heat out of the house than they add. Install an insert or wood stove and it will heat well without sucking all of the warm air up the chimney.


7 posted on 11/07/2010 4:40:35 PM PST by 69ConvertibleFirebird
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To: plinyelder
Run the heat pump. Small heaters aren't all that efficient, and are better just as supplements. Something to look into, if you're a little handy with your hands and tools is a solar heater or furnace. Here's one a guy built Youtube Solar Heater. Check out all the other vids on them. Youtube education is CHEAP.
8 posted on 11/07/2010 4:41:45 PM PST by mountn man (The pleasure you get from life, is equal to the attitude you put into it.)
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To: driftdiver
Put some socks and another shirt on. I also live in Florida. Shorts and a t-shirt aren’t meant to be worn ALL the time ya know.

I probably wasn't very clear on Where I live.

I am originally from Floor-E-Duh but live in Virginia now.
(That's why I know nothing about heat-pumps .. They seem to be very Inefficient?)

9 posted on 11/07/2010 4:42:00 PM PST by plinyelder ("I've noticed that everybody that is for abortion has already been born." -- Ronald Reagan)
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To: 69ConvertibleFirebird

Our home is heated and cooled by a closed-loop geothermal system. The system works great until the temp drops substantially below zero F. The home is earth sheltered with ICF construction so heat loss is less of an issue than most.


10 posted on 11/07/2010 4:42:57 PM PST by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)
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To: plinyelder

We have a wood stove and a electric central heating and air conditioning system, plus some little electric space heaters (some ceramic), and one big electric fake “fireplace”. The electric fake “fireplace” had to be abandoned because it just ate electricity prohibitively. It’s cute, but not practical. - We close the doors to the upstairs rooms, leaving them cracked just enough in the bathroom at the head of the stairs especially to keep the pipes from freezing. We use the woodstove as an adjunct to the central system, which we keep set on about 66 with the woodstove running on slow burning wood most of the time. Along with the central system set at 66, it never gets really cold in the house - AND the woodstove keeps the floor above it warm and toasty in that bedroom where husband does some limited work. The little space heaters we use in a very limited way, exercising safety precautions with them; the wood stove, too, being careful to use soot removing logs and sweeping the pipes with a wire chimney sweeper. Even if we have to buy a bit of firewood one day, it’s still good auxiliary heat and dependable if we should have a power outage (which we have had lasting days in the past). - We also wear enough clothes in the house that we don’t feel like we have to jack the temp setting up to try to be like Florida in order to be comfortable. I think we sleep better at night if it is not ramped up on high heat or the woodstove ripping and tearing. - Getting up and keeping the circulation working in the body is also a good thing. Our electric bill, including everything else, has always been very reasonable.


11 posted on 11/07/2010 4:43:08 PM PST by Twinkie
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To: plinyelder

The heat pump, being a reverse refrigeration cycle, is more efficient in normal temperatures.

Problem is that a heat pump doesn’t work well (if at all) in extremely cold weather. At low temperatures, the heat is supplied by an electric resistance strip.


12 posted on 11/07/2010 4:43:28 PM PST by Ole Okie (American.)
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To: gorush
The system works great until the temp drops substantially below zero F.

Why would that be since you are extracting heat from in-ground water at roughly 55 degrees, year-round? I would think that the efficiency would be consistent no matter what the air temperature (since it doesn't use outdoor air as the heat exchange medium). I obviously don't understand something about geothermal.

13 posted on 11/07/2010 4:47:25 PM PST by 69ConvertibleFirebird
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To: plinyelder

Heat pumps don’t work when the outside temp is below 40 degrees.


14 posted on 11/07/2010 4:47:38 PM PST by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: plinyelder
Been out of work for over two years.... I live in a two story, vinyl sided home.

Amazing....

15 posted on 11/07/2010 4:48:49 PM PST by dragnet2
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To: plinyelder

You’re better off keeping the lower floors warmer imo as heat rises and will eventually make its way upstairs. I would suggest keeping the T-stats low but not off, keep them at 60F if need be but if you go from freezing to 72F you’re just defeating any savings.

If you have electric hot water don’t forget to turn down both elements (if you have two) to about 130F - they run 24 x 7 and can really eat into your bill. Shower with a friend.


16 posted on 11/07/2010 4:50:57 PM PST by Sparky1776
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To: plinyelder

If your COP Coefficient of Performance is 10 it means that the heat pump puts out 10 Kw for each Kw put in. Check out the specs of your heat pump first. If is is an old unit it may be much less.


17 posted on 11/07/2010 4:51:19 PM PST by mountainlion (concerned conservative.)
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To: dragnet2
Been out of work for over two years.... I live in a two story, vinyl sided home.

Amazing....

Well .. I have worked for over fifty years for what little I am trying to hang onto.

18 posted on 11/07/2010 4:51:22 PM PST by plinyelder ("I've noticed that everybody that is for abortion has already been born." -- Ronald Reagan)
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To: gorush
We built new in ‘02 and included a ground source heat pump with four 200 foot wells under the driveway. The Water Furnace unit inside the house has a noisy scroll compressor, otherwise it works great. We've had no service calls.
The WF also heats the floor in the main level with forced air upstairs. I can adjust the forced air duct to put some heated air downstairs but this is rarely needed.
Our house is built into the side of a hill with an insulated wall and floor. We sealed all the receptacles and double house-wrapped the corners. Blown cellulose in the walls and ceiling, plus the best Andersen windows I could buy complete this package.
Power bills are +/- $100/month.
Needless to say, I'm sold on geothermal.
19 posted on 11/07/2010 4:53:29 PM PST by Eric in the Ozarks (Impeachment !)
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To: Twinkie

Oh, and yeah, we also use room-darkening, insulated pull-down shades over our miniblinds, especially at night. Any time we can pull back curtains, shades or blinds and allow the sun to shine in and heat the rooms, we do. - I’m no expert, as you can tell I’m sure - but, we do live cheap and not spoiled to ipsy pipsy comfort. - Oh, and when I use the electric oven, I don’t waste the heat from that when I turn it off, I open the oven door a bit to allow that heat to join in the party. We also use light bulbs to heat up and dogs’ houses outside and a small space heater set on very low to heat up the cat room which is also furnished with a very padded enclosed cat bed. Having hairy pets is also helpful. One dog has a very heavy winter coat, while the one which does not has to be sort of coddled. The cat has a Persian daddy and a very full long coat winter and summer. - We also keep a bit of firewood inside so that we don’t have to run in and out. The doors are kept pretty much shut, but it is important to allow enough fresh air to keep from getting carbon monoxide built up. (We also have a carbon monoxide alarm; which came in handy the one time it went off due to the woodstove door being a bit ajar. That one time did two things, it made the alarm cost well worth the fifty or so dollars we paid for it, and it made us become very aware of shutting the stove door good every time we put wood in it.


20 posted on 11/07/2010 4:55:08 PM PST by Twinkie
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To: driftdiver

hje says original from Fla...now living in VA.


21 posted on 11/07/2010 4:56:19 PM PST by Doogle ((USAF.68-73..8th TFW Ubon Thailand..never store a threat you should have eliminated))
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To: plinyelder
only warms two of the four rooms on the lower level.

All I can offer is - are the vents in the two colder rooms opened and/or an obstruction in the duct work leading to these rooms?
22 posted on 11/07/2010 4:56:26 PM PST by presently no screen name ("Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down.." Mark 7:13)
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To: 69ConvertibleFirebird

The liquid in our loops is 59 F year round. Our power bill actually drops when we switch to AC mode.


23 posted on 11/07/2010 4:57:30 PM PST by Eric in the Ozarks (Impeachment !)
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To: 69ConvertibleFirebird

You aren’t really extracting heat from the ground, it is the heat achieved from the change of state of the coolant. The cold is sent to the outside earth in the winter and the heat is retained inside. It really is just a giant refrigerator. That hot coil on the back of the refrigerator is indoors in winter and is switched to the outdoors in summer by changing the direction of coolant flow, making the evaporator inside during the winter and outside during the summer. If the ground were to freeze around the “evaporator” tubes the system will cease functioning. Here in Wisconsin the outside evaporator is 10’ underground and hundreds of feet long. A well designed system is very frugal...many older systems are under-designed from what I hear...


24 posted on 11/07/2010 4:57:59 PM PST by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)
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To: presently no screen name
only warms two of the four rooms on the lower level.

All I can offer is - are the vents in the two colder rooms opened and/or an obstruction in the duct work leading to these rooms?

Maybe you read me wrong?
The heat pump works fine.
I just wanted to know if it was cheaper running my two 1500 watt electric fireplaces instead of the heatpump.

25 posted on 11/07/2010 4:59:52 PM PST by plinyelder ("I've noticed that everybody that is for abortion has already been born." -- Ronald Reagan)
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To: plinyelder

The heat pump has to be cheaper. It will extract heat from the outside air and place it in your house. Also the electricity used by the heat pump unit will be converted to heat as it runs the compressor and that too will brought inside and result in heating. Only during the coldest nights would the electric resistance heating the air handler have to come on, and I’ll bet that is very rare in Florida. (I assume you’re in Florida.)


26 posted on 11/07/2010 5:00:35 PM PST by chickenlips
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To: plinyelder

The least expensive option is a sweater and mittens. Just keep the house warm enough to keep the pipes from freezing. Presuming you live where it gets below freezing, right?


27 posted on 11/07/2010 5:04:24 PM PST by gunsequalfreedom (Conservative is not a label of convenience.)
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To: gorush
I've been interested in ICFs and geotherm for awhile, and want to build in the next 2-3 years.

Is your whole house ICF? How are your heating bills.

28 posted on 11/07/2010 5:04:37 PM PST by mountn man (The pleasure you get from life, is equal to the attitude you put into it.)
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To: Twinkie

Oh, Yep. Hot air rises. Cold air stays low. That’s why in winter, we shut upstairs doors pretty much so the hot air stays downstairs, and in summer we keep them wide open so that the hot summer air from downstairs can freely rise upstairs. We live downstairs, even sleep down there.


29 posted on 11/07/2010 5:04:46 PM PST by Twinkie
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To: plinyelder
mazda77
steve8714
69ConvertibleFirebird
gorush
mountn man
Twinkie
Ole Okie
Sparky1776
Doogle
chickenlips

And anyone else that I may miss .. "Thank You" for all of your help.
It Really is important to me.

For Sure .. Freerepublic and the folks here .. Are The Best! 8)
30 posted on 11/07/2010 5:05:18 PM PST by plinyelder ("I've noticed that everybody that is for abortion has already been born." -- Ronald Reagan)
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To: Sparky1776

A good way of saving some energy is to put a water tank blanket on your hot water heater. It’ll insulate your tank, keeping your water warmer, longer.


31 posted on 11/07/2010 5:08:47 PM PST by mountn man (The pleasure you get from life, is equal to the attitude you put into it.)
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To: Sparky1776; plinyelder

A good way of saving some energy is to put a water tank blanket on your hot water heater. It’ll insulate your tank, keeping your water warmer, longer.


32 posted on 11/07/2010 5:09:12 PM PST by mountn man (The pleasure you get from life, is equal to the attitude you put into it.)
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To: 69ConvertibleFirebird
" I obviously don't understand something about geothermal."

It seems to me you have a pretty good understanding. I suspect that the BTU output of the unit is simply inadequate to provide enough heat to keep the place warm when the temperatures are very cold. Like any furnace, if it has to run all the time, it may not output enough heat to completely warm the house.

33 posted on 11/07/2010 5:11:31 PM PST by norwaypinesavage (Galileo: In science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of one individual)
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To: plinyelder

One consideration is that the electric fireplaces provide you will flexibility to heat just the room you are in. This would clearly be applicable to the bedroom. For example, you could turn the heatpump down at night and use the electric heater in the bedroom. I have three options in my house, propane central gas, heat pump, and electric baseboard. I use all three at different times and in different places in the house.


34 posted on 11/07/2010 5:11:34 PM PST by iontheball
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To: mountn man
A good way of saving some energy is to put a water tank blanket on your hot water heater. It’ll insulate your tank, keeping your water warmer, longer.

I think that I'll give that a try mountan man!

35 posted on 11/07/2010 5:13:11 PM PST by plinyelder ("I've noticed that everybody that is for abortion has already been born." -- Ronald Reagan)
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To: plinyelder

I can remember, and if the economy doesn’t get any better I may have to do again, nailing up blankets over the windows to keep the cold out and the heat in. May not look pretty on the inside but keeps it warmer! Good luck.


36 posted on 11/07/2010 5:14:26 PM PST by snippy_about_it (Looking for our Sam Adams)
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To: iontheball

Yea .. I forgot .. I have a propane driven fireplace but I decided to give it up because the propane has gotten too expensive.


37 posted on 11/07/2010 5:15:49 PM PST by plinyelder ("I've noticed that everybody that is for abortion has already been born." -- Ronald Reagan)
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To: mountn man
Our house and out-building are both built with ICF. Heating, AC and hot water run about $1,000.00/year. Both buildings plus the heated garage run a little over 3500 sq. ft.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

38 posted on 11/07/2010 5:17:47 PM PST by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)
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To: plinyelder
Unless your windows are real energy efficient already, there is that plastic you put over your window frames and then warm up with a blow dryer, which shrinks the plastic tight, and provides an extra vapor barrier.

Something else you can do is go to Lowes or Home Depot and get a can of Great Stuff for about $5-$6 and go around to all your outside walls, remove the electric wall plates and seal around the electrical boxes.

39 posted on 11/07/2010 5:18:54 PM PST by mountn man (The pleasure you get from life, is equal to the attitude you put into it.)
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To: plinyelder
I just wanted to know if it was cheaper running my two 1500 watt electric fireplaces instead of the heatpump.

All electrical resistance heaters are 100% efficient, at least if you buy into that whole Conservation of Energy mumbo jumbo. Below a certain temperature your heat pump is an electrical resistance heater and will give you the exact same BTU's per kilowatt consumed as your electric fireplaces. Above that cutoff temperature, your heat pump is more efficient, and will give you more BTU's per kilowatt than the electric resistance heaters by basically extracting some heat from the air that is outside your living space.

When you're at the point of the year when you're heating your house, there's no point in turning off TV's or the stereo or the lights to save electricity. You're getting the same heat per kilowatt consumed out of those as you are from your electric heaters too.

40 posted on 11/07/2010 5:19:07 PM PST by Wissa (Gone Galt)
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To: gorush
WOW, thanks.

Looks good.

41 posted on 11/07/2010 5:20:26 PM PST by mountn man (The pleasure you get from life, is equal to the attitude you put into it.)
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To: plinyelder

As an aside to your question you can if you haven’t done so already do some things to help reduce the load on your heat pump/strip heaters. Caulking is cheap and isn’t that hard to apply around doors, windows, eaves, pipes, etc. to help stop air infiltration. Also look at your door/window seals and replace if worn or not stopping air movement. Depending upon your attic insulation you may look at adding some as a do it yourself project.

Heat pumps will be cheaper to operate than strip heat although at some point they will need their auxillary strips to kick in to help. Good luck.


42 posted on 11/07/2010 5:24:08 PM PST by deport
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To: plinyelder
This is the home that I am trying to heat.




43 posted on 11/07/2010 5:25:29 PM PST by plinyelder ("I've noticed that everybody that is for abortion has already been born." -- Ronald Reagan)
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To: gorush

gorush

THAT .. Is a BEAUTIFUL Home!!


44 posted on 11/07/2010 5:29:08 PM PST by plinyelder ("I've noticed that everybody that is for abortion has already been born." -- Ronald Reagan)
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To: plinyelder

Thanks...we love it.


45 posted on 11/07/2010 5:30:23 PM PST by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)
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To: plinyelder

I’m not a HVAC tech, nor do I play one on TV. I can only speak from experience in Phoenix.

Heat pump I’ve had for years is good for raising the outside temperature in the ‘30’s to 75 degrees inside, but more importantly, reduces 120 outside to 75 degrees inside.

Works well for those cases.


46 posted on 11/07/2010 5:30:51 PM PST by Cyber Liberty (We conservatives will always lose elections as long as we allow the MSM to choose our candidates.)
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To: mountn man

Adults generate roughly 400 to 600 BTUs per person/hour, depending on their size. So I suggest you invite lots of people over in winter, after supper of course. In summer, you visit them.

I would also have a sealed door between upstairs and downstairs and basement. Control and/or timer both your heaters depending on activity. Check seals on windows, seal the fireplace flue if you are 100% electric. Wear heavier clothing, but I don’t go less than 55 - 60F, it’s a little too uncomfortable. On the bright side, if you are shivering all the time you are burning cals and will need to eat more. Life is a trade-off.


47 posted on 11/07/2010 5:36:05 PM PST by CanaGuy (Go Harper! We still love you!)
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To: plinyelder

“Electric fireplace”... Huh?

If it’s 1500 Watts, that’s the same as a blow dryer. Sounds like a toy rather than a heating device.


48 posted on 11/07/2010 5:36:23 PM PST by Rio
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To: gorush
Photobucket
49 posted on 11/07/2010 5:38:19 PM PST by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)
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To: Cyber Liberty

It is all so confusing .. really.

I was born and raised in Fort Lauderdale and I honestly don’t remember IF we ever had to use any type of heater to warm the home in the winter.

I will say this though .. Until I went away to service, I never had the luxury of AC either!

(Well .. Didn’t have AC in southeast Asia either but did have it when I came back to the states!) 8)


50 posted on 11/07/2010 5:40:14 PM PST by plinyelder ("I've noticed that everybody that is for abortion has already been born." -- Ronald Reagan)
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