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I was wondering which size heater would be cheaper on my electricity bill. My room temp. dips to 64F during the winter and is in the mid. 70s in the summer. I'm just trying to figure a way to cut down on my electricity bill. Thanks for any input!
 

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You might want to check out the Kill A Watt device. I used it on my systems and identified what was consuming the wattage and saved some money on my electric bill. With heaters, you can't just look at the wattage because they don't run 24/7.

Shop around for this item as it's available all over and I've seen prices all over the board. I'm not necessarily recommending the source linked, just showing what it is.
 

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This may be a tricky way to save money overall. In theory a 150 watt will need to produce the same number of BTU to maintain the temp as the 200W, so they would in theory be equal. The rub comes in when you look at the time it takes to do the heating. It is not going to be a major difference but the 200w will kick on and stay on less time than the 150. This makes the contacts in the heater cycle more often and that is a major cause of heater failure. Ideal would be a heater that came on and was just big enough to maintain an even temperature by staying on all the time. Ideal is not going to happen, though. For me, the question would be more about getting the smallest heater that will maintain the temperature during all room conditions. This will make the heater last longer and overall the electrical expense is covered by not replacing the heater as often. Lots of theory that may not pan out as heaters vary so much in quality and lifetime. I'm now using a heater that I feel has a much better shot at working long term but I find the rate of them being bad out of the box is depressing. I find no good heaters on the market at a price I will pay.

Probably turning off the computer for an hour a day would save more money but who wants to suggest that????
 

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Other than the heater, do you keep a cover on the tank? I have glass lids on most of my tanks, seems to help retain a lot of the heat.
 

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exasperatus2002 said:
generally the bigger heater will have to run less to maintain the set temp then the smaller unit would.
Correct and that would lead one to think that it would last longer. The problem is that it doesn't work that way. When I tear down a heater to find why they have failed, most of the time it is bacause the contacts are bad. Either the current welds themn together and they are full on or they arcing causes the contacts to stop making contact and they won't heat. The reason the contacts go bad is due to their tiny size and the number of times they open and close. Looking at a heater, you find there is usually a bi-metal spring with the contacts all inside a glass or metal tube. When the air in the tube get cool, the bimetal bends and closes the contacts. This turns the heat on and the air in the tube gets hot until the bimetal bends the other way. The large heat coil makes this cycle much more frequent than a smaller heat coil. The heater rarely fails due to the coil going bad but due to the contacts which control the heat coil. Bigger coil, more cycles, and quicker failure. If the water temperature were being sensed rather than the air, the bigger coil would be fine. That can't be done with a cheap heater as the contacts and bimetal would have to be in the water mixing water and electricity.
 
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