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Case Study: Block Heater

On a frigid morning such as this in Ottawa, I smile and thank my mechanic for convincing me to put a block heater in my Honda. It cost me $75 installed, and then I paid $25 for a high amp timer and extension cord, but at the end of it, I think the timer and such paid for itself the first winter, in electricity not used. The block heater pays dividends every morning my car starts and warms up quickly, so I can get to work (ok maybe not that many dividends if it gets me to work, but at least I get to work).

It all comes down to the same question, “What do you want your money to do for you?”. If you buys something that someone else views as a luxury, but you enjoy it, and use it, then who cares what anyone else thinks? Now if we are talking about a $500.00 hammer, then maybe we could argue a little.


Feel Free to Comment

  1. Wow, you did your homework, good to know this. Unfortunately I also have a problem with the circuit that the timer is on has a GFI on it which keeps tripping for some reason, so I am not sure the block heater is on that much :-).

    Good Comments! Excellent take! -C8j

  2. but it is quite expensive, even with your timer.

    600w block heater, 3 hours

    1.8kw x $0.089 = $0.16 x 20 days per month = $3.20

    I think this cost less than running the engine to warm it up in the morning.

  3. Not sure if you know how much electricity block heaters suck, but it is quite expensive, even with your timer. I’m not sure about the current temperatures in Ottawa, but here in the NWT, we generally try not to use them unless the core temperature goes below -20. Even then, many people just plug in for a short while before leaving their house. The only time we leave cars plugged in all the time is when it dips under -30ish for extended periods of time.

    You are likely better getting a good oil change (0W30 Oil) before the winter freeze. Battery blankets are very important here as well for the cold days, but I suspect you don’t need those.

    Block heaters are certainly nice for the car, but in dollars and cents, likely an expensive purchase in a climate like Ottawa. The five or six cold starts you have in Ottawa each year won’t hurt the car in the long-term.

  4. Good point, I don’t typically leave the car plugged in too often at night, but if it is going to be below 15 below (celsius) I will use the timer and the block heater.


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