March was a weird month for temperatures and March’s heat bill proves it. But April is proving to be April. Cold nights and mornings, then warming up into the 40′s or 50′s with some rain thrown in–need those May flowers!
I had my furnace shut off and was determined I wasn’t turning it back on until the fall. Well, that didn’t happen, but I still have it only set to 60…I use a little electric heater in the mornings to take the chill off. (For me, this has proven to cost less.)
I call this a milk shed heater…not even sure why. When I saw it in the store, that was the picture in my mind. Six years ago, it cost $20. I used two of them that winter after my first gas bill of the season was over $300–my electric bill rose only $150-$175. I was very in love with my $20 heaters.
Until one let out a very loud and disturbing SCREECH!
Being Miss Frugal, I was hoping to get enough life out of it to last the rest of this season.
After unplugging it (!), I removed a few screws to get to the innards.
As you can see, there is not much inside one of these heaters. A motor, an electric element, and a fan.
I vacuum the insides of the electric heaters in the fall and spring, the same as I’d clean the back of fridge. Dust is damaging and I haven’t figured out the cure to dust yet, so I clean anything that attracts and builds up with dust.
I vacuumed all of the dust that’s collected for a few months and sprayed the bearings with a just a couple squirts of P B Blaster. This stuff is almost magical (with probably more ingredients that I don’t want to know about right now)…it’s a lubricant and it loosens rusted parts with just a few squirts. I haven’t found anything “natural” that will take its place yet.
That’s it. Now, we’re smooth (and screech-free) heating again. I’ll buy a new heater this spring when they’re on sale. Parts do wear out and I don’t want to pay full price next winter if this heater decides to really die, not just screech its forewarning.
Note: This fix worked on this heater. It may not work on all heaters and may void warranties if there is one. This was a $20 heater that I had nothing to lose if it didn’t work.