14 November 2018

Why use a block heater?

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If you suffer from the cold during winter, you’re not alone—your car suffers too. Did you know that one of the worst things you can do to your car is start it in cold weather? Fortunately, you can give it a little love and make life easier. All you have to do is regularly use a block heater, which has lots of advantages and no disadvantages!

After reading this article, you’ll understand why a good old block heater is a must.

Cars that are plugged in versus not plugged in

In 2009, CAA-Quebec conducted a comparative study for Agence de l’efficacité énergétique du Québec. At an average temperature of -10°C, the fuel consumption of different vehicle models that were plugged into a block heater and then not plugged in was analyzed over a distance of about 20 kilometres.

The results were clear: vehicles that were plugged in reached a comfortable cabin temperature 40% faster, and fuel savings still came up to the mark. A clear observation also emerges from these results: a block heater has only advantages, so why do without one? Let’s take a closer look.

First advantage: Fuel savings

As we just mentioned, a block heater always means fuel savings, which vary according to the type of vehicle. In fact, the average in the CAA-Quebec study was 15%, and some cars that were plugged in even saved 33% in fuel!

And since being plugged in for three hours is enough to reap all the benefits of a block heater (thank goodness for timers at night!), electricity costs are very low and are not likely to cancel out the fuel savings generated. Also note that these benefits occur during the first 20 kilometres, because beyond that distance, your car has warmed up on its own.

Quick tip: Do you have the option of plugging in your vehicle at work? This gives you another opportunity to reduce your fuel consumption during the day!

Second advantage: Faster cabin comfort

Has your car ever refused to start on a cold winter morning when you were in a hurry? A block heater can save your life by making it easier to start your car in very cold weather. What’s more, the cabin heats up almost twice as fast—a nice creature comfort that shouldn’t be overlooked.
It defrosts! A warmed up car helps the windshield and windows to defrost faster. Windows that are not fogged up are not only nicer, but also safer.

Third advantage: Mechanical health

By avoiding the aggression of a “cold” start, you help keep your car healthy in the long term. By preserving the engine and its components as well as the battery, you extend the life of your precious vehicle. That’s quite an advantage! Be aware that as soon as the temperature drops to freezing, it is beneficial to plug it in.

Good to know: Cars that are plugged in require fewer oil changes. If your car is equipped with an electronic maintenance reminder, you will therefore need maintenance service less often.

Fourth advantage: Fewer polluting emissions

What about the environment in all this? More good news: a block heater is also good for the planet! In fact, during dynamometer tests, CAA-Quebec found that a car that has been plugged in emits 15 times fewer hydrocarbons, 6 times less carbon monoxide and 4 times less nitrogen oxide at start-up.

By helping to reduce greenhouse gases, you reduce your ecological footprint. This means that if lots of Quebecers plug in their vehicles, tons of polluting emissions will not be released into the atmosphere! And since a remote starter is not necessary when a car has been plugged in, the negative effects on the environment are further reduced.

The figures speak for themselves. According to CAA-Quebec, if 100,000 Quebecers use a block heater one morning per winter, the fuel savings are equivalent to 50,000 litres or the equivalent of one tank truck.

Have all these advantages convinced you how essential a block heater is in Québec? It will be your friend as well friendly to your wallet, your car, and the environment. So, if your car is not equipped with a block heater, buying one is definitely worth it!

Lastly, it’s also important to have auto insurance adapted to your needs. Request an auto insurance quote from Promutuel Insurance and feel free to contact one of our agents if you have any questions.