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Do Space Heaters Use a Lot of Electricity? Tips, Facts, & FAQ

Space heater

It is normal to want to keep a home warm during the winter. We go to great lengths to get the much-needed warmth during the cold season. How can you heat your home during this time of year without spending too much money on your electricity bill?

There are many appliances you can use to heat your room. One handy appliance is a space heater. Space heaters are great for heating a small room or keeping a small area warm. Some people use them as an alternative to central heating. Still, many people wonder if the energy usage from operating space heaters outweighs its value. The short answer is yes, they do use a lot of electricity. Keeping reading as we explain further. divider 1

How Much Electricity Does a Space Heater Use?

The answer to this question varies, depending on a number of factors. First, yes, space heaters use a lot of electricity based on these factors. However, the electricity consumption can also be maintained to a minimum if these factors are kept at a minimum. Let’s take a look.

combustion heater
Photo Credit By: Noordbizz, Pixabay

The Wattage Number on Your Space Heater

The wattage number is how much electricity your space heater uses. The higher the wattage number, the more electricity your space heater will use. On the flip side, the lower the wattage number, the less electricity your space heater will use.

The Kilowatt-Hour Rate Charged by Your Utility Firm

This is the cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh) your utility company charges for electric energy consumed at your home or business. A higher kWh rate means you pay more per unit of electricity consumed.

There are two types of kilowatt-hour rates: peak and off-peak rates. Peak rates apply when power demand is high, while off-peak rates apply when power demand is low.

The higher your peak rate is, the more expensive it will be to run your space heater during those hours. It’s because more people use electricity at home during those hours compared to off-peak hours when everyone goes to work or school.

The Appliance’s Size

Smaller portable space heaters use less electricity per hour compared to larger models. The larger the unit, the more wattage it’s likely to draw. That means more money is spent on energy costs.

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

The Room Size

A smaller unit will do the job if you have a small room or area that needs heating. This means your electricity consumption will be minimized.

However, if you want to heat a larger room, you will need a bigger space heater, and as seen in the previous point, a larger heater will consume more electricity.

The Number of Hours your Space Heater Runs

The hours your space heater operates is a crucial determinant of how much electricity your appliance uses. The more hours your space heater runs each day, the more electricity it will consume. If it runs for only 2–3 hours a day, it’ll use less electricity than one that runs for 8 hours a day.

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How to Calculate the Electricity Consumption of a Space Heater

A space heater uses electricity to heat the air in a small room or area. The electricity consumption varies, depending on the type and size of the space heater size you use. Some models use more energy than others.

To calculate how much electricity your space heater uses, find out your space heater’s wattage. You’ll find the appliance’s wattage on the space heater itself or the instructions manual your device comes with.

The wattage is the amount of electricity that powers and operates your space heater. Many space heaters use 1,500 watts. Ensure you always check before purchasing.

Once you find your appliance’s wattage, multiply it by the number of hours it’ll run. Then, divide the number you get by 1,000. Multiply the figure you get by the kilowatt-hour rate your utility company charges. This final number will tell you the cost of running your space heater.

Space heater in a living room
Photo Credit By: New Africa, Shutterstock

Monthly Average Cost of Electricity

The average cost of electricity when operating a space heater for one month varies by state. Since the wattage in many space heaters is 1,500 watts, we’ll calculate the average electricity cost based on this number.

Divide the wattage on your space heater by 1,000 to convert it to kilowatts. The electricity amount you use is calculated in kilowatt-hours. Assuming you keep the space heater running for 8 hours a day, multiply the kilowatts by the hours. This way, you’ll find out how much power your space heater uses daily. That comes to 12 kilowatts a day. If you use the heater every day for a whole month, it adds up to 360 kilowatts of power in one month.

The average rate of electricity in the US is 13.72 cents per kilowatt hour. So, the space heater will cost you $49.39 a month. You only need to change the cents to dollars by dividing by 100 and then multiplying the result by the kilowatts used in a month.

Use the same formula if your space heater has a different wattage. This way, you can decide if your space heater uses a lot of electricity or if it’s energy-efficient in your situation.

Tips on How to Save Electricity When Using a Space Heater

It’s that time of the year when we all want to stay warm and cozy, but keeping up with the heating bills during winter can be challenging. How can you keep your home warm and safe while saving money on your power bill?

Here are some tips:
  • Buy an Energy-Efficient Space Heater: Make sure that the space heater you buy is safe and energy-efficient. Look for one with an automatic shut-off feature. This way, it will turn off if it gets too hot or if its cord gets tangled. It’ll save on your monthly energy bill as it won’t use a lot of electricity.
  • Use Suitable Settings: If you use a space heater in your room, choose the right setting for it. These devices consume more electricity than other types of heating systems. Since they come with different temperature settings, you can lower their power consumption by using their lowest settings whenever possible. Also, you can set it to medium if you want moderate warmth. Don’t use a high setting as it consumes a lot of electricity.
  • Follow the Instructions Manual: The instructions manual is an excellent place to find tips on saving electricity and keeping warm. Adhere to these handy tips and be keen on cautionary labels and warnings on the appliance.
  • Unplug Your Space Heater When Not in Use: The most efficient way to use a space heater is to plug it in when you need it and unplug it when you don’t need it. If you leave your space heater plugged in all day long, even when it is turned off, you’re wasting energy.
  • Use a Wall Outlet Well: Don’t use an extension cord when connecting your space heater. Use the wall outlet instead. An extension cord creates short circuits that waste electricity and can even cause a fire.

divider 1 Conclusion

Space heaters are a convenient way to add warmth to your living space. But, it’s good to keep in mind that they use a lot of electricity. If you’re not careful, they can cost you a lot more money than you would have imagined.

Simply using the heater to warm up a cold room is one of the best ways to keep things more affordable for you, but it doesn’t make the cost go away entirely. Luckily, there are many ways to reduce energy costs when using a space heater, as we’ve discussed. So, is a space heater an energy-efficient option for you? We hope this article helped you answer that question.

Featured Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock


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