electric plug

How Much Electricity Do Space Heaters Use?

Space heaters generate heat by passing an electric current through the appliance, which turns that electricity into heat and spreads it indoors. Some heaters, like ceramic heaters have coils, a reflector, and a ceramic core. Others, like infrared heaters may contain a bulb that emits infrared radiation, a copper heat exchanger, and a fan. Regardless of what kind of space heater you use, knowing how much electricity it uses can be very helpful information.

Space Heater Energy Usage

The basic equation for a space heater’s cost per day is:

(Wattage/1000) x (usage per day by hours) * (Kilowatt-hour cost)

To determine your space heater’s electricity usage, first find the wattage of the appliance. You can usually see this information in your owner’s manual or printed on the heater itself. The wattage determines how much electricity is necessary to power your unit. Most electric heaters require 1,500 watts, but yours may be a little lower or higher. For reference, 1,000 watts is the equivalent of one kilowatt, so your electric heater most likely requires 1.5 kilowatts of power.

Kilowatt-hours (kWh) are the basis of your electricity bill. This is how much energy you use when a one-kilowatt appliance is running for 60 minutes. You can determine your electrical usage by multiplying the number of hours you will be using your heater and the number of watts.

For example, you might want to keep a room warm for 8 hours with your trusty space heater, so you’d multiply those 9 hours by 1,500 then divide by 1,000 for a total of 12 kilowatt-hours.

Now take the rate charged by your utility company for electricity and multiply the number. A standard price a residential customer in the US is about 13 cents per kWh. If we use the above formula, that comes out to a total of $1.56 for that day.

Example: (1,500w/1,000) x (12 hours) * ($.13/kWh) = $1.56

Decrease Your Energy Bills

There are a few ways to save money when heating rooms with an electric space heater to ensure maximum efficiency. The tips below will help you maximize your energy usage while decreasing your overall costs.

Add Insulation

This one might sound simple, but a little insulation goes a long way, especially in older houses. You can help keep cold air out of your home while keeping warm air in by adding insulation to your basement, attic, floors, ceilings, and crawl spaces.

Use Caulking

You can lose a surprising amount of heat through the points where plumbing and electrical lines pass through your home. Prevent leakage by caulking around these points to form a seal.

Set Your Thermostat Strategically

You can decrease your energy bill between five and 15 percent every year by setting your thermostat between 10 and 15 degrees lower for eight hours per day. Make it easier by using a smart thermostat.

Decrease Heat in Other Rooms

Heating up a whole home or office takes up a lot of energy. Instead, consider saving money by heating only the rooms you need. If you only heat or supplement the heat in a room, you’ll save quite a bit on energy bills. If you have central heating, lower the temperature and use your space heater to heat the room you’re actually in.

Use a Timer

If you constantly run your space heater when a room is empty, you’re wasting that energy. Instead, use your heater’s timer to automatically shut it off after a period of time. If push comes to shove, you can simply turn your unit back on.

Choose the Right Space Heater

There are plenty of different types to choose from, so consider using this guide on space heaters. And if you’re solely focused on energy efficiency, read our guide on the best energy efficient space heaters.

To help ensure your safety, inspect any heaters, whether they’re infrared space heaters or otherwise. For the best energy efficiency, look for a heater with a thermostat or timer to prevent overheating your room. And remember to be safe while operating your space heater.

For more tips on keeping your home warm during cold months, read 9 Simple Ways to Keep Rooms Warm in Winter.

Still have questions? Ask an HVAC expert directly via chat or phone.

Published on 2020-10-25 by Ben Travis

Last updated on 2020-10-25

Recommended Reading