I live in a 3 bedroom, two bath, large den, kitchen, attached garage Patio home. I live alone except for when my kids are in from college which is rare. I am hot natured so I keep my electric heating usually set at 60 degrees. However if it is extra cold like zero, I may turn it up 2 or 3 notches and it goes into Aux/emergency mode.

I went outside yesterday and looked at my Kentucky Utility's Meter and it was circling as fast as roadrunner running...(in Aux emergency mode), and it was 38 degrees outside...so I went back in and turned the heat off and went back outside and it was barely moving (which was amazing).

I'm hot natured so the cool house doesn't really bother me. However, since I only use one room in my place would an IHEATER (infrared heater) better serve me? I wonder how fast the meter would turn with one of those plugged in or would it really make a difference. I would of course have the heat turned completely off if I used an iheater.....I'd still keep it set at 60 to 64 degrees... does anyone know for sure? Please advise. Thank you,

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    For anybody else who is mystified like me: 60F = 15.5C; 0F = -18C; 38F = 3.3C
    – Flyto
    Commented Feb 3, 2014 at 16:24
  • It looks like an IHEATER is a fairly high powered heater, which probably has a higher fire risk than central heating. If there's any risk you'll fall asleep (through fatigue or alcohol), or temporarily leave the heater on while unattended, then please ensure you have a correctly installed and tested smoke alarm in any room you're operating the heater in! In fact, when it comes to consuming too much alcohol, a smoke alarm may not even wake you, so best not to use it at all in that case... Commented Feb 7, 2014 at 4:00
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    Does your central heating simply use an electric element, or is a heat pump (air conditioning) system? Commented Feb 7, 2014 at 4:01
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    @HighlyIrregular: If you didn't know this - Aux / Emergency Heat mode is pure electric heat. It comes on automatically when it is too cold for the heat pump to operate, or you switch it on if the system fails. This is very common throughout the USA, and cuts in to the value of heat pump systems dramatically. You are better off with natural gas (where available - cities) or propane (expensive and shipped by truck, but way cheaper than... Electric). The Aux / Emergency heat issue is a MAJOR part of the OPs question.
    – user2423
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 0:10

2 Answers 2


You don't make clear what type of heating system you have at present, or what the Kentucky Utility Meter measures (electricity? Gas?).

However, it sounds as though it may be some sort of heat pump system where "aux / emergency" mode turns on a resistive electrical heater. If this is the case, then you may find the answers to this question useful, and perhaps this one in particular. If this is not the type of system that you have, then it would be worth clarifying for people to better help you :-)

  • I'm sorry, I am renting a patio home and I am on Kentucky Utilities. It is all electric. However, my meter turns very fast when the water heater is turned on and also just as fast when my unit kicks into Aux/emergency heat. I keep it at a low heat too. Never above 66, right now i've got it set to 60. I only use one room in my place and wondered if it would save me money to buy an iheater, for the room i use and keep it at a certain temp like 66. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!! Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 21:52
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    I think the best advice that I can give, given the information available, is "probably"! Infrared heaters are quite cheap, so I'd buy one and test it :-) Do remember that you'll want some background level of heating in the rest of the house to prevent things from freezing.
    – Flyto
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 9:32
  • I've got one arriving this monday. Thanks!! My place is new, well, 3 and 1/2 yrs old and I'm not surrounded any other units so I'm not insulated by another buildings like in a regular town home.which is good but down for the insulation heat problem but ill try that infrared heater and do you know how cold it has to get in a home for pipes to burst? it normal never gets under like 56 even when the heat is off.i know that's a dumb ques. but i don't know how pipes work in a newer home.thanks so much.... Commented Feb 6, 2014 at 10:33

I realize you were specifically asking about using an infrared heater but that still is an electricity consumer and depending upon where and what your electricity comes from, may or may not be sustainable. Have you considered utilizing something along the lines of a Tea Light Heater? It may not be viable given your particular situation but it's possible it might be just what the doctor ordered for you.

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