Set a timer for your engine block heater

For some, an engine block heater is necessary to survive winter in Minnesota.

The heaters use electric heat to warm a vehicle’s block and fluids, helping the engine start on cold days.

Engine block heaters also use a lot of electricity and can be expensive to run day after day. To save energy and money, it’s a good idea to install your heater with a programmable electronic timer.

Even on the coldest of winter nights engine block heaters only need approximately four hours to fully warm an engine, but for convenience many people plug them in when they arrive home in the evening and leave them on all night.

Programmable electronic timers can be found at most hardware and auto parts stores, and should be set to start engine block heaters four hours before you plan to start your car. Be sure to purchase a timer that is rated for 15 amps and is suitable for outdoor use. 

To figure out your exact cost of an engine block heater (or any other appliance) you can use this simple formula.

Watts X Hours divided by 1,000 equals kilowatt hours

Example: 500 (watts) X 24 (hours) divided by 1,000= 12 kWh’s

Kilowatt hours times the rate (.10) equals cost

Example: 12 kWh’s X .10=$1.20 per 24 hours

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