Space Heater Electricity

How Much Electricity Space Heaters Use and the Cost to Run Them

From cold climate regions to winter weather across the country the cold outside can start to creep into our homes and chill our bones. But you’re probably wondering if a space heater would be more economical than running up your heat bill – whether it be gas or electric heat.

You may also be wondering is the electric heater safe to run and for how long? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using your own personal electric heater? Do I need a high powered space heater for large rooms?

But most importantly you’re wondering what you came here for:

How much electricity does the space heater use?

Let’s dive in to find out how much energy it uses and if it makes sense for you to use one over your home heat.

How Much Energy Space Heaters Use

The first step to finding out how much energy (and possibly the cost) your electric heater uses is to find energy. This should be printed on the heater or in the owner’s manual.

On average, most electric heaters use 2000 watts, but some are slightly lower around 1500 or while more powerful space heaters for large rooms use more. Let’s continue to assume that you have a 2000 watt heater. Because 1000 watts equals 1 kW, which means that your heater uses 2.0 kW of power.

However, your utility bill is based on kilowatt hours, which is the energy used to run a 1 kW appliance. To find out the cost of using an electric heater of 2.0 kW, use this formula.

Multiply the number of watts used by your electric heater by the number of hours you plan to use it. Maybe on a Saturday or Sunday you would tend to be home longer and may want to use it for 10 hours in a day.

2000 x 10 hours = 20,000

Now divide this number by 1,000.

20,000 / 1,000 = 20

Then multiply this figure to your current rate of your utilities.

For those that have solar power, you can skip the latter formula. You can use your solar panels to produce your own electricity. But the first formula will help you understand how much energy will be used for your heater.

For example, suppose your utility charges the national average rate of 13.17 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity. In this case, we’ll do the calculation like this.

20 x .13 = 2.6

That’s it! For one cold day that you want to stay nice and warm inside the comfort of your own home may cost about $2.60 for using the space heater 10 hours in a day.

That comes down to about $.26 an hour, so if you use it sparingly throughout the day then that’s what you can expect it will cost per hour.

If you only plan on using it for 2-3 hours a day even at 7 days a week or 30 days a month that’s roughly $15-23 more a month to your electric bill.

You know you’ve seen higher spikes in your utility bill when you’ve used your electric or gas heat to warm up the entire house (especially electric heat) so it may make sense to use your electric heater to spare turning up the knob to heat up your whole house.

Electric Heaters Pros and Cons

In addition to how much energy is needed to use a space heater, here are some saving and safety tips to remember.

Do you consider using space heaters to save money? If you turn off the forced air heat through the rest of the house and work for a limited time in one room using a portable heater then you’ll save based off those calculations above. But if you turn on the electric heater, in addition to gas or electric heat, or run the electric heater all the time, the cost can quickly add up.

This is because the central furnace tends to drip heat, as it is distributed through the air ducts of the home. Personal heaters can heat a room well, especially if the windows are energy efficient, well sealed and the space is well insulated.

If you don’t have energy efficient windows, get plastic insulator window kits to weatherize your windows and keep the cold air outside and the warm air inside.

Electric heaters definitely take precedence over older portable heaters, such as kerosene heaters, since they do not produce smoke and are much safer.

Different Types of Electric Heaters

The most common electric heaters are:

Coil heaters

Electric coil heaters carry electricity through metal coils and radiate heat generated through the room.

Infrared Heaters

Infrared heaters use the electromagnetic energy of infrared radiation.

Both types of heaters are safe, but they should not be in direct contact with flammable materials such as fabric, bedding, paper or wood. It’s safer and more cost effective to invest in a new high quality electric space heater, instead of getting an old, costly and potentially dangerous one out of the attic. To save energy, use a timer and turn off the heater after a specific amount of time, or turn it off once the room has been warmed up.

Do not ever fall asleep with the space heater on, in case something happens to the cable or heat source. If it’s a new model, and you don’t have any known electrical problems, it’s probably fine. But still, this will run up your electricity bill by running it throughout the night.


Remember, if you use a space heater only for a few hours a day in a room where you spend a lot of time it will save you from having to heat up your whole house.

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