How Much Does it Cost to Run an Electric Space Heater?

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Whether it is the biting wind of ice-cold climate of the north or the chilly breeze of the south, an electric heater provides the warmth you need. Electric space heaters come above all other heaters as they don’t generate fumes and provide an efficient heating mechanism.

It’s a great idea to light up your furnace for warming up your room and staying toasty. However, this will use a lot of natural gas. Another convenient option to keep the chill out of your room is to use electric space heaters. Electric space heaters use a lot of electricity. Still, if you utilize the heater properly it is possible to keep the bills down.

Electric space heaters are best for small, confined and compact areas. If you want to warm up your entire house, then these are not the right option to choose. You must take care while using them, or they may cause safety hazard. Low wattage space heaters which use around 500 – 1000 watts are available that help saving your cents!

How Much Does Space Heater Cost To Run?

Power Consumption

The principle of electric space heater is the generation of heat from electricity, which consumes a lot of energy. A powerful electric space heater consumes around 700 to 1500 watts, according to U.S DoE. This energy is almost the same consumed by a toaster, but you don’t use appliances like toaster all day long. A heater is a device used consecutively for many hours. Hence, it elevates your bills.


If you are in the phase of deciding whether to buy an electric space heater or not, its best to make some cost estimates first. The power wattage of each heater is mentioned on the box or user manual. You can use it to make cost estimations.

Based on these estimations, you can decide whether you can afford an electric heater or not. Even if you can afford it, it may pose a strain on your budget, if not used properly.

How To Calculate Cost of Running A Space Heater?

You can manually calculate the costs your heater produces by the following method. Use this simple formula that divides the power of heater in watts with 1000, then multiplies the result in kW with usage hours. Multiply the result with the electricity charges.

The national electricity average for U.S household cost about $13.19. So to be conservative, lets use a rough figure of $0.20.

In this example, you run a 1500 watts heater for 8 hours a day to keep you cozily warm before going to bed and bill charges are $0.20, then:

15,000 / 1,000 = 1.5 kW

1.5 x 8 hours = 12

12 x 0.20 = $2.4 per day

Common space heater rating and its consumption

Below are a estimated calculations of cost to run space heater for 4 hours, 8 hours and 24 hours respectively, split between 3 common heater wattage. Based on $0.20 per kilowatt which is higher than national average of $13.19 (as of 2020). You can expect your heater consumption to be slightly lower than this ball-park figures:

Duration of Usage500W750W1500W
Per hour$0.10$0.15$0.30
4 Hours$0.40$0.60$1.20
8 hours$0.80$1.20$2.40
24 hours$2.40$3.60$7.2

Lyon-Coffey Electric Cooperative, Inc. has provided a helpful electric space heater consumption chart at their website.

For using an online calculator for making these cost calculations, click this link


To get the best efficiency, prefer buying a heater that comes with a timer and a thermostat.

According to Gary Foreman, electric space heaters provide a 100% efficiency.

All the energy emitted by a space heater is used to warm the room it is heating, so energy is not lost. Using a space heater is worthwhile because, in the case of other heating ways, a lot of heat gets lost.

Merits and Demerits of a Space Heater


  • A beautiful looking espresso finish
  • The combo is great to save a lot of space
  • The maximum weight capacity is more than enough
  • Super simple to assemble by two people
  • The pricing is within anyone’s means


  • As they can be expensive, they can be a burden to your budget
  • They are not suitable for heating large areas
  • They can cause fire hazards

Factors Affecting Your Space Heating Bill

Heater and Room Size

You must find a compromise between the heater and the room size. The size of the heater matters a lot. A big sized heater is meant for larger rooms, and small-sized heaters are made for small ones.

Based on the misconception that a big heater will be more effective in a small room, you may think of deploying a big one in your small room too. However, it just adds to your electricity bill.

Similarly, using a small heater to heat a large room is not productive either. You must choose the right sized heater suitable for the size of your room.

Room Insulation

Insulation and air-sealing is a significant investment that helps you get the best results from your space heater. A properly insulated room gets warm quickly and retains heat for a long time. You will see a significant decrease in your electricity bill after you insulate your room. There is no need to keep the heater on all the time as the room stays warm for a few hours even after turning it off.

Power Wattage

A heater having a higher wattage will consume more power than others with low wattage. If you want to heat your room, a space heater with moderate power wattage is the best. It saves you money.

Ceiling Height

a room with high ceilingIf the ceiling is too high, your space heater will take longer to heat up as heat rises. To warm the entire room, you will have to keep the heater turned on for a long time. Keeping it on for long will result in an increased bill and loss of both money and electricity.

Using a single high-wattage heater vs multiple low-wattage heater?

For a large room, it is better to use several small heaters instead of a single high-wattage heater. The former will cover many parts of the room quickly, but the latter will take more time to heat up the entire room. 

A high-wattage heater will need to be turned on longer and require more electricity.

Turn heater off when not in use

If you don’t bother to turn off the space heater when you do not need it, it will not only add to your bill but also pose safety threats. Set the timer so that the heater will turn off automatically on the set time.

Drafty Rooms or Weather Stripping

Crack near windows or any other place in your room, lets the cold air to seep in. Similarly, the damaged stripping and caulk also act as an inlet for cold air. Such scenarios cause a loss of heat, resulting in an increased bill.

Try blocking these cracks permanently or by stuffing a towel there. Keep the heater away from the leaky areas that let air in the room.

Presto Heat Dish and Lasko Designer Series are two of the great energy-saving space heaters. You can find many other fantastic options on Amazon.

Running a space heater is more cost-effective than using central heating systems. Especially when you want to heat a small area like a shed or terrace temporarily, you can’t use the central heating. Rather than warming the entire house, it is advisable to warm up the room you occupy most of the time with a space heater. But if you use more than two or three bedrooms, you may go for other heating options that can easily overwhelm the entire house.

It’s better to use your heater in a confined room because a heater consumes more electricity to heat-up big rooms. Don’t leave the heater turned-on in an empty place as it is a threat to your safety.

Never Ignore the Recommended Use

It seems that a large heater will heat our small room in no time. But practically, you will find it quite counterproductive. A large heater, no doubt, warms your place in no time, but it causes electricity wastage. It consumes much more energy than required for heating-up such a small room.

In the same way, we may think that a small heater is an excellent choice to heat a large room. It seems like the heat will eventually fill up the entire apartment after waiting for a while.

However, this isn’t the case. Doing so puts a strain on your space heater and causes it to overwork, ultimately reducing its useful life. You will keep the heater on for a longer time, resulting in increased electricity consumption.

Therefore, opt for the right size of an electric space heater for your room. Manufactures provide booklets containing instructions about the recommended use.

Reduced Electricity Consumption

Electric heaters are almost 99.99% efficient, but those coming with an Energy Star air-source heating pump are 100% perfect in this regard.

You must stay mindful of how much these space heaters can cost you. 1500-watts is the standard wattage used by most of the space heaters. Make your calculations to keep aware of the cost an efficiency your heater produces. Calculate how much using one, two, or more heaters can cost and then use them accordingly.

Air-sealing and Home Insulation

Although home insulation is a significant investment, it can significantly reduce your electricity bills.

Tips to Save Electricity

Follow these simple tips to save power:

  • Buy a space heater that offers variable thermostat Try keeping your heater at the lowest suitable level.
  • Select the right-sized heater for your room. Manufactures provide the sizing information.
  • Keep the doors closed when using a space heater to prevent loss of heat.
  • Turn off the heater when it is not being used.
  • Set timer on your space heater to turn off after a specific time. For example, SunKni 1000W Space Heater comes with a timer.
  • Buy a heated mattress topper or electric blanket, these are awesome for night time use as it keeps you warm and toasty directly

Choosing the Right Type of Heaters to Optimize Electricity Consumption

Personal Heaters

Best to be kept under your office desk, in a small room or bathrooms, personal heaters produce enough heat to warm you up. It uses less electricity and doesn’t cost much. They come with features like oscillation, variable thermostat and overheat protection. AUZKIN Portable Space Heater is one of a kind.

Convection Heaters

These heaters utilize the natural air movement for warming the cold air. Naturally, the warm air rises because of less density, and the cold air goes down. Space heater takes in and warms this cold air. This type is best for confined and compact places and has a lower risk of hazard. These are focused to heat the entire room, not the person directly.

Radiant or Halogen Heaters

Halogen heaters are different from convection heaters, as they generate and then spread the heat. They use photons to create safe infrared rays that are first absorbed by our skin before the air. They are best for poorly-insulated places. They make little or no noise and are best for an instant on the spot heating. Radiant space heaters focus on warming the person, instead of heating the entire room first.

Fan-forced Heaters

Fan heaters use a fan that ensures quick and even circulation of warm air in the room. Convection and radiant heaters both can be fan-forced. They may use any of the heating technologies, like convection, ceramic, metal-heating element or infrared technology. This type of heaters poses an ignition-risk if placed near curtains or wooden furniture. Dyson Hot Fan Heaters are powerful fan-forced heaters.

Infrared and Coil Heaters

Coil heaters conduct electric current through coils and release the produced heat to surroundings. On the other hand, infrared heater uses electromagnetic radiation to transfer energy to surrounding objects. They can cause fire hazards so you should take care while positioning them.

Heater Selection Checklist

  • Right size
  • Compact
  • Good-quality body
  • Proffered style (Compact, Tower, etc.)
  • Suitable Wattage
  • Timer
  • Thermostat controls
  • Automatic turn-off feature
  • Remote control
  • Power cord
  • Handle
  • Easy-rolling wheels for big heaters
  • Cool-to-touch body
  • Easy to use and a digital meter
  • Warranty
  • Buy from a trusted source

Portable kerosene or propane space heaters are generally not safe for indoors. They release carbon monoxide, so it best to use electric heaters according to experts.

All portable heaters come with a tilt switch, so whenever turned over, they turn off automatically. This feature saves from fire hazards.

Tips to Position Your Space Heater

Placing the heater on the right spot dramatically enhances the benefits it provides. Heaters are meant to heat a specific area of your home. It is better to heat a room and leave the rest of the house cold.

Safety first! Yes, we surely want to avoid any fire accidents. According to a report by the National Fire Protection Association, NFPA, almost one-third of home fires are a result of such heaters

To place the space heater in the right location, you must first know which precisely the right spot for it is. We recommend you consider the following points for optimal heater positioning.

Room Service

For trapping more heat, it’s advisable to choose a confined area for your heater. You better place it in a room with closed doors. Look at your room and select the spot that can be most useful.

The heater may be placed near your armchair, where it can keep you warm and toasty. Oscillating heaters, for example, Lasko oscillating tower heaters are also available, which help in spreading heat in your entire room.

Keep Away From Water

Dampness and moisture pose harmful effects on your electric heater. Try placing it in a place that is free from water or moisture. Keep it away from the bathroom, kitchen sinks, and laundry.

Feeling brisk in your bathroom or kitchen in the ice-cold winters?

No worries! You have a solution for that too!

Go for the space heaters that come with special protective features that prevent water-based damage. For instance, OPOLAR Space Ceramic Bathroom Heater.

Don’t let Furniture Come In The Way

For a sound a steady heat regulation, avoid placing an electric heater at a place where furniture gets in the way. Doing so, not only damages the furniture polish, but also result in blocking the regular heat circulation.

Off The Wall and Away From Flammable Stuff

Once you have chosen the spot where your heater will give maximum benefit, try placing it a few feet away from the walls to ensure optimum heating and safety.

However, for a small area like hallways or the entrance, you can use heaters made to be mounted at the walls. Such heaters are equipped with exhausts and ventilators that ensure proper heat regulation.

Curtains and bedsheets can easily catch fire. It is not reasonable to place an electric heater near such things. Besides, all other flammable substances are equally harmful.

Buffer Areas

Although Portable heaters are small, still you can’t carelessly keep them anywhere. When your electric heater is placed at a confined place with full power, the heat emitting areas may get too hot. The heated area can cause burns, so it’s better to keep a buffer zone. A buffer area of around 2-3 feet is recommended. A side-corner will be the best choice.

Near the Ground, Away From Windows

It is not advisable to place a portable heater on a table. When placed on the ground, the electric heater has more air to warm and is more effective. Keeping it near a window will reduce its standard output. Still, placing the heater under a window is fine.

Using Several Heaters For a Big Room

It’s unreasonable to use a single high-watt heater to warm up a large room. You must use several small heaters instead of getting the job done. These small heaters will heat the specific areas that require warmth and eventually heat many parts of the room. Using a single large one will consume a lot of electricity.

How these tips help in saving electricity?

When you place the heater is an open room, the room won’t get warm in a suitable time. The incoming cold air will waste the warmth produced by it and result in electricity wastage. If you are keeping it near a window, you will face the same issue. Using a single high-wattage heater instead of several small ones lead to more electricity bill. Blocking furniture will lead to poor heat circulation in the room. Therefore, you will keep your heater turned on for a long time to warm the room. All these practices lead to wastage of electricity.

By following the tips we provided, you can save electricity as a responsible citizen does!

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