Tuesday, December 24, 2019

is the space-heater trick working?

I don't pay rent: my company pays that for me. Instead, I pay a monthly "admin fee" that also includes my electricity. In the spring and fall, during those perfect windows of time when I use neither my A/C nor my heating system, my bill is very low: around W160,000 (or about $135). In the summer, the bill can get up to around W200,000 if I blast my A/C day and night, but winter is worse: the ondol floor-heating system consumes large amounts of electricity, and my bill often skyrockets to just over W350,000.

I'm trying something new this year: instead of turning on my ondol, I'm using a modest space heater that I'd bought years ago. I've placed it close to my bed so it can warm me while I sleep. In theory at least, the space heater uses far less power than the ondol does, making it a much cheaper option for wintertime heating. Last month, my bill was just under W180,000 ($153), which is fantastic for this time of year. I'll be curious to see what my December bill is (the bill for December arrives the first week of January). If it's under W200,000, I'll be delighted.


  1. I'd forgotten just how expensive electricity is in Korea (most of my time there Uncle Sam took care of me). People say that electric is one of the things that cost more in the PI than the USA, but I power my 3 bedroom house here for around $100 per month. Granted, I've gotten to where I don't use aircon much (fans keep me cool enough), but your place seems small enough to keep plenty warm with just a space heater. Except I'd not like taking a shower in an unheated bathroom!

    I loved ondol heating though. My central heat in the states felt drafty and cold by comparison.

  2. It probably doesn't help that the electricity market is dominated by only one or two large power companies in Korea. Lack of competition = more expense for the consumer.

  3. Electricity is billed exponentially in South Korea. Watch your KW hours on your meter and go to the electric company's website to get a sense of what you might have to pay. Also, investing in a good sleeping bag can really save some money over time.

  4. John from Daejeon,

    Luckily, I've got a good sleeping bag! Might be time to break it out, eh?



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