One minute you’re enjoying the hazy copper aura of Fall and then wham, it’s November. The sky turns gray and the air isn’t just brisk, it’s bleeping cold! You start caulking, wrapping windows, and laundering the down quilts. And you know what else is looming out there—-those massive heating bills.
In the search to keep warm and save a little cash, many of us turn to space heaters. They can be an effective short-term way to heat small spaces. I’ve had many through the years, but I was always curious about the Hydro-Sil portable models. I often saw them advertised in magazines, claiming to be more energy efficient than other space heaters. They had to have some advantage over others, considering the high upfront cost (about $200).
When the time came to buy a new space heater, I decided to bite the bullet and try a Hydro-Sil. I ordered the four foot space heater model, which looks like a section of baseboard with its own plug.
So what’s the verdict? First, it is important to understand that the heat from a Hydro-Sil is not fan-forced, it just naturally rises like permanent baseboard heat does. For this reason, it does not warm a room as instantly as a fan-forced heater. Without the fan, it is also very quiet, and you must be mindful not to leave the unit on after use.
I was happy with the warming capacity for a small room, but what I really wanted to see was the electric bill. That would be the real question as to this heater’s energy efficiency. I have to say that I was pleased. With everyday use(for maybe two hours), the Hydro-Sil added only approximately $8 to $10 per month to the bill. The manufacturer maintains that the silicone used in these models, once heated, holds its temperature without a large output of additional power.
I’ve owned the four foot Hydro-Sil since 2001, and it is still working. It comes with a lifetime warranty. I purchased a second, smaller model(three feet) in 2003, and have used it since. The three foot model comes with a thermostat, and the heat cycles on and off to maintain the preset temperature.
I have not used the Hydro-Sil permanent baseboard heat, and can’t assess the effectiveness of that product. I like the Hydro-Sil space heaters, and I would buy one again. I do believe that they pay for themselves and continue to save a household money over the years. It could be many years, considering the lifetime warranty.