The true cost of a space heater

Purchasing a space heater? Learn everything you need to know - from the upfront, monthly and longterm costs you'll encounter when you choose a space heater. Stay warm!

We’ve all been in this situation: you’re trying to keep your energy costs down, but your home just isn’t comfortable. In those freezing winter months, your house can quickly become chillier than you want it to be.

When throwing on a sweater or grabbing a blanket isn’t an option, or it’s just not enough, you might want to consider using a space heater.

But before you do, let’s look at why you might use a space heater, and then let’s explore how much a space heater actually costs compared to just turning up the heat.

Why space heaters?

If your furnace functions properly, you can solve most of your temperature problems by raising the thermostat. But should you?

There are a couple very good reasons to keep the heat down in winter:

  • It’s inefficient. If you sleep in a cold bedroom at night, you don’t need to heat up the living room, kitchen, and bathroom, too. You just need heat in the bedroom.
  • It’s expensive. Any heat that comes out of the vents in your home is heat that you will pay for. While paying for all that heat makes sense in some scenarios, paying to heat rooms you aren’t in often is just a waste of your money.

If you want to just add some heat to a smaller space, however, a space heater can be a great addition to your home.

But how much does it cost to run a space heater?

The upfront cost of a space heater

The cost of a space heater really depends on your needs: how much heat do you want and how big of a space are you looking to heat?

You can get a small space heater that goes under the desk in your office for less than $30. More powerful space heaters designed to warm up a larger room can be as much as $150.

It pays to shop around for a good space heater. Choose one that is rated to heat the space that you want to heat and no more than that. Get one that is too small and you risk having to run it excessively to reach the comfort level you want. Get one that is too big and you pay too much money upfront for power that you don’t need.

And while it should go without saying, always make sure you get a newer, energy-efficient model.

The monthly cost of a space heater

So, let’s say you have a space heater that is ready to go and appropriate for your space. How much does it cost to run a space heater?

Fortunately, this is not a complicated number to calculate.

Let’s say you have a 1,500-watt electric space heater in your home and the current energy rate is 10.5 cents per kilowatt-hour (you can check your energy bill for the exact rate). And for some reason, you want to run the heater for 24 hours a day (not recommended).

From here, it’s just simple math:

1,500 watts x 24 hours ÷ 1,000 x $0.105 rate = $3.78/day

To calculate your space heater electricity cost, you can adjust the watts, hours, and rate in the equation above.

At $3.78/day, you add $113.40 to your energy bill in a 30-day month.

Is the space heater cost worth it to you?

Only you can answer that. For some, the extra hundred dollars is worth it. For others, that might be too much.

Regardless, when you use a space heater, it’s important to remember a few basic rules to keep your costs down:

  1. Turn it off if you’re not in the room or not using it.
  2. Still put on that sweater or blanket.
  3. Turn down the thermostat in the house so you’re not paying for too much heat.

Brace yourself, winter is coming, so follow these tips to you can keep your costs down and stay comfortable.

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