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Do Space Heaters Save Money? Factors, Pros, Cons, & Safety Tips

Space heater in a living room

As winter sets in and the temperatures drop, people start cranking up the heat in their homes. Several appliances are effective at heating the home during this cold season. But one of the primary factors when heating a home is making sure you’re not spending more than you need to.

One appliance that comes in handy is a space heater. This appliance uses electricity to produce heat for an indoor environment. Unlike central heating systems that provide warmth throughout a building, space heaters are only meant for individual rooms or small areas.

These devices range from small portable units that plug into wall outlets to large floor models with wheels. This way, you can roll them from place to place as needed. A space heater can be a great alternative to larger systems that require maintenance and regular service, but do they save you money? It will use less energy and save money if you want to warm only one or two rooms.

Keeping reading as this article will answer this question and give you insight into space heaters.

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Does a Space Heater Lower Heating Expenses?

While a space heater is an affordable way to warm up your home, it all depends on the amount of space you’re heating. It will use less energy and save money if you want to warm only one or two rooms. In such a case, it is more affordable compared to the central heating system.

To lower your monthly energy bills significantly, use a space heater to heat the room you’re occupying and turn down the heat in other rooms.

However, a space heater can only heat one room at a time. If you want to heat every room of your home, you must buy a space heater for each. In such an instance, it is not a viable option as it will increase your energy bill. It might even prove more costly than your home’s central heating system.

Space heater
Photo Credit By: New Africa, Shutterstock

How Much Will It Cost You to Operate a Space Heater?

Usually, space heaters need electricity, and that means they cost money to run. The cost to operate one depends on many factors, such as the amount of time you use your space heater. It also depends on how much energy it uses when it’s on. We’ll look at these factors later on.

A space heater can use between 750 and 3,000 watts to run. It comes with two heat settings (high and low). A low setting takes 750 watts to run, while a high setting uses 1,500 watts. In an hour, it’ll usually cost around $0.20 to operate a space heater with an output of 1,500 watts.

The 3 Factors Affecting the Amount of Electricity Your Space Heater Uses

If you don’t use your space heater well, it can cost you more. So, it’s crucial to look at the factors affecting the amount of electricity your space heater uses to determine how to cut costs. They include:

1. Hours of Use

A man unpacks a box with a domestic electric heater
Photo Credit By: Yevhen Prozhyrko, Shutterstock

The first factor affecting how much energy a space heater uses is how much time you use it. The more hours you use it, the more electricity it will consume. If you only use a space heater a few times per week, it won’t cost more to run as opposed to a space heater that runs for about eight hours every day.

2. Size of the House

The house size has a massive impact on how much electricity your space heater uses. If you live in a small apartment and only need to keep one room warm, you can get away with using a smaller space heater compared to someone who lives in a large house.

Smaller houses heat up faster, thus using less energy. It doesn’t take as much heat to warm the house. Large houses use more electricity and need a large space heater.

3. The Temperature Settings of the Space Heater

A heater that can warm the air at home
Photo Credit By: Hello_ji, Shutterstock

The space heater’s temperature settings are a crucial factor affecting the amount of electricity consumed. The higher the temperature setting, the more energy it will consume.

Some space heaters have many temperature settings to control how much heat these appliances produce. The high-temperature setting uses 1,500 watts every hour, while the lowest setting uses 300–750 watts per hour.

Let’s now look at several ways you can save money using your space heater.

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Tips on How to Save Money When Using a Space Heater

You can do several simple things to save money when using a space heater:
  • Use the Space Heater in Rooms You Frequently Use: The more you use a room, the more likely you need warmth in that space. If you heat an entire house with one small space heater, you’ll have a hard time keeping up with the cost of heating your home. But, if you only use one or two rooms, using a space heater will not be costly.
  • Buy an Energy-Efficient Space Heater: An energy-efficient space heater can save on energy costs compared to traditional space heaters. A traditional space heater uses more electricity, and this increases your electricity bill every month. On the flip side, an energy-efficient space heater uses less electricity, translating to a lower electricity bill. So, look for a space heater with the Energy Star label. It has been tested and meets strict energy standards a reputable organization sets.
  • Weather Stripping: Weatherstripping is an affordable way to save money on your utility bills, especially if you have a drafty door or window in your home. A small amount of weather stripping can reduce drafts and help you keep the heat from escaping your home. As your house retains heat naturally, you don’t have to adjust your space heater to a high setting. Also, you don’t have to use it for too long.
  • Reduce the Temperature of the Thermostat: The other thing you can do is turn down the thermostat on your central heating system to allow you to use less energy, and you’ll have saved money on your heating bill.
  • Be Modest with the Space Heater’s Settings: Use the lowest setting possible to prevent the space heater from using too much energy and making the room uncomfortably hot. You can also adjust the thermostat on your central heating system. This way, it turns off earlier than usual. It will save money on both systems.
  • Dress Warm During Winter: Space heaters supplement your home’s central heating system. They don’t replace it entirely. If you have a space heater and you’re cold, wear more clothes or put on an extra blanket. Then, turn the heat on your space heater down! You’ll save money on your utility bill and still be comfortable. It’s a simple solution that works for everyone!
  • Switch Off the Space Heater When Not in Use: The biggest way you can save money using a space heater is by switching it off when you aren’t using it. If you turn it on to heat your room but then leave that room, you’re wasting energy and money. Instead, turn it on only when you want to use it. Then, turn it off after use. It will keep your home warm without using extra energy.
  • Try Placing the Space Heater in Different Positions: Place your space heater in different positions and see which gives off the most heat in the lowest setting. You may find a spot where the space heater heats up your room well without operating it for too long or at a higher setting.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Using Space Heaters

Space heaters maintain the temperature in a room or area where the central heating system doesn’t reach. They have several advantages and disadvantages.

Let’s look at some of them!

  • They heat up fast
  • Portable and easy to use
  • Easy to install
  • A cheaper alternative if your home’s heating system breaks down
  • Newer space heater models are energy-efficient
  • They work best in enclosed spaces
  • You can only use a space heater in a small space
  • It can overheat and cause a fire if left unattended
  • A space heater isn’t designed for extended use
  • Operating many space heaters for different rooms will increase your energy bill.
Space Heaters
Image Credit: alirad-zare, Unsplash

Safety Tips When Using a Space Heater

These fundamental safety tips will come in handy if you want to mitigate the risk of fire:
  • Keep combustible objects away from the heater. Don’t put anything that can catch fire on top of or near the space heater.
  • Turn off the space heater when you leave the room or sleep at night. Don’t let it run while you’re asleep.
  • Read the manual thoroughly before operating the space heater. Make sure you know how to operate it safely.
  • Ensure your space heater is away from wet items or water.
  • Plug the space heater into a wall socket directly. Don’t use an extension cord. You’ll increase the risk of a fire if you add extension cords.
  • Ensure the space heater you buy has safety features, including an automatic switch-off and overheat sensors.
  • Make sure the space heater you buy is approved by a well-known laboratory and meets the current safety standards.
  • Put it three feet away from any object when running.
  • Ensure your home’s smoke detectors are working well.

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There you have it! Use a space heater to lower the energy use in your house if you’re tired of paying high electricity bills during winter. Space heaters save money in the long run. They are inexpensive and portable.

A good space heater can make a cold room at least somewhat livable, but don’t expect them to heat up your whole house.

To get the most benefit from a space heater, limit their use to a few rooms of your home where they will have the biggest impact. This way, you’ll lower your monthly electricity bill considerably.

Featured Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock


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