How Much Electricity Does a Space Heater Use & What's the Cost?
Space heaters are portable electrical appliances that are designed to heat specific rooms or areas of your home. They're great alternatives to central heating or HVAC systems which, although more efficient, heat multiple rooms at a time. The benefit of a space heater is that you can target your heating efforts to the room that you're currently using instead of using your central system to heat multiple rooms in your home which you aren't even using. When we use a space heater efficiently, it can help us stay warm and save money during the winter months.
But how much will you save? Our space heater cost calculator below can help you estimate how much it will cost you to run your space heater so you can start calculating some savings.
Electric space heater energy cost calculator
Kilowatts measure the rate at which electricity moves through an appliance. More kilowatts mean more electricity, and bigger space heaters will typically use more watts.
The average and more portable electric space heaters run at around 1500 watts. Some space heaters have heat settings though, so you'll want to figure out how much electricity it takes to run each heat level.
To get the most accurate number, look at the back of your space heater. You can calculate kilowatts by multiplying amps and volts and dividing by 1000.
Kilowatts = (Amps x Volts) / 1000
According to US Energy Information Administration, the average cost of electricity in the U.S. is 16 ¢/kWh. However, this number can vary depending on your electricity supplier. Today, people in some states have the power to shop for their electricity and find cheaper rates.
What is the cost and energy usage of running different types of space heaters?
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Infrared radiation space heater
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How to safely use a space heater?
Although space heaters are great for efficiently heating up individual rooms in your home, they can also be dangerous if used incorrectly. Heating equipment, including space heaters, is a leading cause of fires in U.S. homes, accounting for 14% of all house fires between 2014 and 2018. For the most part, space heaters are very safe to operate. Still, you want to make sure you follow the instructions and take precautions to avoid any issues.
Make sure you remember to turn it off after usageDon't run your space heater all day. Not only is this expensive, but it can lead to overheating.
Give it some breathing roomWhen you set up your space heater, make sure it's at least 3 feet away from other objects, especially flammable objects. Set it up on a flat surface so it doesn't fall. Never cover it with anything.
Unplug it when it's not in useOnce you're done with it, we recommend unplugging it—this will help reduce the cost of your electricity too.
Be preparedMake sure you have smoke detectors installed in your home if you're going to use a space heater just in case something goes wrong.
Don't leave your space heater unattended for too longThe whole point of a space heater is to heat up a room while you're in it. Don’t let your space heater work in vain‐‐and make sure you're there to monitor it in the rare event that something starts to go wrong!
How to save on my heating costs?
Determine when to use your central heating vs your electric space heaterSpace heaters are designed to save you money on heating by allowing you to target your heating efforts to specific rooms. In order to determine which is more cost-effective, you can compare your average heating costs with your central heating system to the cost of running your electric space heater for a set number of hours per day.
Get some blankets and a nice sweaterThis one may seem simple, but it can make a big difference! Whenever you can, try to use sweaters or blankets to warm you up instead of turning on the heater. It’s especially useful to do this at night when you’re sleeping. Most experts recommend sleeping in colder temperatures anyways.
Keep the doors closedMake sure you're not heating your rooms in vain. Keep the doors of the rooms you’re trying to heat closed so that the produced heat doesn’t leak out to other rooms. Use your space heater efficiently and avoid wasting the produced heat.
Ensure your home is well insulated?The EPA estimates that homeowners can save 15% on their heating and cooling costs with proper insulation in attics, windows, and basements. You can conduct an energy audit on your home to see where you can improve your home efficiency
Choose Perch EnergyAt Perch, we're on a mission to make cleaner energy more accessible, more affordable, and more equitable for all. Whether you rent an apartment, own a home, or run a business, Perch offers multiple ways to save money on your electricity bills, or even help the planet, too.
- For guaranteed savings on your annual electricity cost, join a community solar project in your area. Perch will help match you to a local solar farm—you'll support the operations of that farm so that it can generate and contribute as much clean, solar energy to the overall grid. You don't directly receive electricity from the solar power you're supporting, but thanks to government incentives, you'll get credits toward your own utility bill. Essentially, you're being rewarded with discounts on your own electricity because you're enabling solar generation and development in your state.
- With Perch, you can take your fossil-fuel-fighting, money-saving ways even further when you also switch your home or business' electricity plan to cleaner energy. If you're on your utility's default basic service rate, it's a "mixed" energy plan (generated partly by fossil fuels, partly by renewable resources). But Perch can switch you to a low-cost cleaner energy plan—outside of what your utility is offering—that's backed 100% by clean, renewable resources like solar and wind. We'll find you a price that's lower than the market rate for similar options in your area. You don't have to do anything differently, but you'll feel great knowing that your personal electricity usage is now contributing to a healthier planet, and you've reduced your everyday carbon footprint.