You’ve seen the commercials where space heaters are promoted as the amazing machine that will help you save money on your heating bills. What is the cost to run a space heater? The total cost to operate this type of heating system will vary depending on a couple of factors.
Forced-air heating systems are one of the most common heating methods. It’s compatible with a furnace, heat pump, or solar energy heat sources. Furnaces are the most common heat source for forced-air. Furnaces continue to evolve and become more energy efficient but cost still varies based on electricity prices and fuel rates.
A furnace with an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating of 80 or above will be the most energy efficient and will be cost-effective enough to heat a small house without any aid from a space heater. If you have a large house or older furnace, look up your electricity cost in cents per kilowatt-hour.
According to Smarter House, a 1500 watt plug-in space heater will cost 1.5 times your electricity cost in cents per kilowatt-hour. Average nation rates are about 12 cents per kWh so that heater would cost 18-cents per hour to run.
If the cost of running a space heater every night is less than heating the whole house, then it’s cost-effective. Remember, if you do decide to run your electric space heater, running it as little as possible is the best way to save money.
How to Save Money with a Space Heater
Most professionals will recommend using space heaters as a last resort. Central heating is more efficient than a space heater when heating the same amount of space. But if something has malfunctioned with your system and you can’t afford to fix it or you’re renting, a space heater can come in handy to save on costly bills and repairs.
Space heaters will save you money if you use only one and only in one room. Using three space heaters in three different rooms all day and all night is going to cost you more than just cranking up the heat.
The Energy Department estimates that the cost to heat an entire home with electric space heaters cost 43% more than a gas furnace. Using a space heater in your bedroom only while you sleep is a practical way to use a space heater and won’t make much of a dent in your electricity bill.