Thus far, today is the coldest day of the year: eight degrees at my house at 6:30 A.M.
However, between burning wood and an electric quartz heater that we now have in our living room, the house is comfortable without the furnace going on and off all day.
But how much does it cost to run that electric heater you logically ask? On full load (1500 watts) 15¢ an hour. So obviously on half load 7.5¢ an hour.
I usually turn it on half load at about 7 A.M. in the morning to take the chill off. The thermostat is in the living room and it's set at 62. With the electric heater on half load I can keep the temperature in that room at around 64 until the sun comes in the front window at which time it gets warmer.
If I leave the house, I turn it off. By then the between the sun and the wood stove the temp stays stable. At night when we're watching TV, I keep it on full load until about an hour before bed time at which time I turn it off. If it's really cold as it is now, I can keep that room at a comfortable 68.
All together I'm guessing I spend about $1.00 to $1.25 a day which translates to an increase in my electric bill of about $30 to $40 a month. It will actually be less than that because I don't actually use it as much as I've stated here.
My lock-in price for heating oil is $3.69 a gallon. The choice would be to keep the heat up to around 65 or sit in a very chilly living room, bundled up because the wood stove actually heats the upstairs better than it does the living/dining room parts of the house.
For the calendar year 2012 without the supplemental heater we used about 500 gallons of fuel. We also use oil to heat domestic hot water.
I anticipate that for calendar year 2013 we'll use even less. It will be interesting to see just how much less. If it's as much as 100 gallons, I will have saved $369 dollars in oil but I will have spent about $325 more for electricity. The difference though is bigger than that because the living room will be much more comfortable than it was before so that's an added benefit.
The only other alternative is to move to our condo in Florida. However, that's not going to happen for quite a while, if ever. Have you ever been in Florida in July or August? Not pleasant.