How to save on a cold start

December 26, 2008

For many of us, plugging in our car is a convenient way to ensure that it starts on cold mornings. But your vehicle’s block heater is an energy hog: most use 400-450 watts – as much as 30 compact fluorescent light bulbs. If you plug in your car for 14 hours a night, that’s costing you $17-19 per month.

Since it takes just 2 hours for a block heater to warm most engines, anything more is a waste of power. But you don’t need to get up extra early each morning – you can just get a timer (available at most hardware stores), and program it to turn your block heater on automatically while you’re still sleeping. You can save over 80%, and still be sure that your car will start in the morning.

Based on the above numbers, a $25 timer can pay for itself in about 2 months – an amazing investment! (Plus: a car that’s plugged in will warm up more quickly, and produce fewer emissions while warming up.)

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