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Do Space Heaters Use A Lot Of Electricity?

Colder climates are tough. It gets even harsher during the winter season.

Snow falls, ice forms, icy winds blow from every direction, and makes it harder to heat your home.

However, turning up the heat on the thermostat means raising the price of electricity you have to pay per month.

Then, an idea pops into your head. Why not buy a space heater?

Surely it’s less expensive than heating up the whole house!

Whereas it can save you money on your next utility bill, there are some things it would be a good idea to know about having such a device.

In this article, we’ll discuss how much power a space heater needs, some safe usage tips, how much it can cost you to run one every month, and some toasty alternatives.

Space Heater Electricity Usage

In short, space heaters will use around 1500 watts (W) of electricity every hour.

This, however, is the average number, and the actual amount used depends on several factors, such as the model you buy, and how much you use it.

Some smaller models will only need 200W to run, but will only heat up a small area.

The general idea to take away here is, the more power your space heater needs, the more area it can heat up.

However, more power also means a higher energy bill.

Regardless of how powerful your chosen model of space heater is, it will only be able to warm up so much.

Finding An Energy-Efficient Space Heater

Before you start shopping around, you need to consider how much of your home you want heated, and how much will be left colder than everywhere else.

Will it just be for your bedroom? Perhaps a small one will do the trick.

Do you need your dining room, kitchen, and living room to be nice and toasty?

Then a much larger and powerful model is your best bet.

Yet, what will the upfront cost be for a space heater? It depends.

They can be as cheap as $25, or can well exceed over $200. Check out this page to get a better idea.

Again, which model suits your needs best is highly dependent on which parts of your home you want heated.

It also helps to know just how much heat you need for whichever space you want to warm.

For rooms no more than 50 square feet (cubicle, small bedroom, bathroom), you’ll need about 500 watts of space heater power.

For anything up to 150 square feet (kitchen, living room, large bedroom), a space heater will need to churn out around 1500 watts.

To keep a room warm, make sure it’s fairly isolated from the rest of the house.

You can ensure this by keeping doors and windows closed while the space heater is running.

Space Heater Usage Tips

To work properly, the heating coils inside a space heater need to get quite hot to heat the air around it.

This can mean potential fire hazards if you’re not careful.

Some tips to avoid a blazing inferno in your home include:

  • Pay attention to any signs of malfunction
  • Be sure the device is plugged firmly into the outlet.
  • Check to see that your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are working.
  • Make sure you’re nearby while it works.
  • Keep the device away from children and/or pets
  • Anything flammable must be at least 3 feet away

Think of it like turning on a stove.

We’re taught to never leave something cooking unattended for too long. The same lesson applies to space heaters.

How To Calculate Space Heater Electricity Usage

Now to get down to the real meat and potatoes of the topic, the cost of using a space heater will add to your next energy bill.

To fully understand this, we first need to do a small conversion.

Whereas most electrical devices are measured in watts, your energy company will more-than-likely use kilowatts per hour (kWh) to determine how much you owe them.

This step is easy enough. Simply take the wattage of any device and divide that number by 1000.

For example, if you have a space heater that uses 400W, it will measure at 0.4 kilowatt hours.

Two other factors you’ll need are the time you’ll use a space heater for (hours per day, for example), and the amount per kilowatt hour your energy company charges you.

This should be visible in your monthly statements.

Say you need to heat up two rooms for five hours in one day, seven days a week.

Let’s take the average amount of wattage that most space heaters use, 1500W, multiply that by five, and you get 7500W or 7.5 kilowatts.

If your energy company charges, say, 15 cents per kilowatt hour ($0.015), multiply that number by 7.5 to get $0.1125, the cost it will take to run that space heater for a five-hour period.

To get the cost per week, multiply $0.1125 by 7 and you get $0.7875.

For months, multiply $0.1125 by 30, and for yearly, multiply the daily cost by 365.

All of these are general numbers, and your real bill may differ depending on the area you live in, and how much you actually use your device.

Just remember to take into account the cost per kilowatt hour your energy company charges, the power your device uses, and how much you plan to use it throughout the year.

Space Heater Alternatives

If getting a space heater won’t suit your needs, there are several alternative options you can consider instead.

If you don’t mind spending the extra money upfront, consider getting heated floors to help heat up several rooms at a time.

This will be especially convenient to install should you decide to do floor work anytime soon.

Other options include an electric fireplace or a fire pit.

However, fire pits are only good for outside, whereas an electric fireplace can be placed within your living room.

They are also much quieter in comparison to space heaters.

Also, consider any of these as well:

  • Layered clothing
  • Hot water bottles
  • Heated mattress pad
  • Electric blankets
  • Hand warmers
  • Solar patio heater

image: Wonderlane, Flickr, CC 2.0

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