How Much Does it Cost to Run a Space Heater?

Electric space heaters provide heat fast, and because they run on household power, you don’t ever have to buy fuel for them. You do not get this type of convenience for free, however, and you will observe a hefty hike on your monthly power bill if you use one regularly. The amount of money you spend to run a space heater depends on its size and frequency of use, and that amount may surprise you.

The Way Electric Space Heaters Work

Many devices which produce heat from power depend on electric resistance, or the fact that an electrical conductor heats up whenever you pass a current through it. Inexpensive heaters typically have one or two coils wrapped around a ceramic core and a reflector that radiates the heat made by the coils. Some more expensive heaters use a bulb which emits primarily infrared radiation. These heaters typically include a copper heat exchanger that receives the radiation and a fan which blows the heat created by the copper outside to the room. Manufacturers often claim that these models are far more environmentally friendly than traditional coil heaters.


Whether your heater is one which heats by opposition or by emitting infrared radiation, calculating the cost of running it comes down to just how much power it consumes, in watts. You may discover the wattage rating for your heater on a label located near the point where the power cord connects to the machine. If your unit doesn’t have a variable power selector, it likely consumes 1,500 watts, whether it’s a coil or infrared heater. Multiplying this number by the number of hours you use the machine in a day gives you a daily value for the number of kilowatt-hours of power it consumes.


Electric companies charge consumers from the kilowatt-hour, and rates vary from company to company and will depend on how much power you use and also the season. As an example, the Pacific Gas & Electric Company base speed is from $0.08 to $0.13 for base usage and from $0.27 to $0.34 for heavy usage. Multiply your applicable rate by the number of kilowatt-hours the heater consumes to find out how much it costs to function. As an example, for a customer who pays the base speed in winter, PG&E; charges approximately three dollars for the power to run a 1500-watt heater for 24 hours. That is approximately $90 for a month of continuous use.

Economical Heater Utilize

Running a heater continuously when no one is in the room wastes energy, and you’ll be able to prevent that by running the heater on a timer. The room will remain warm for a while after the heater automatically shuts off, and if you need it again, then you can always turn the heater back on. Utilize a plug-in timer in the event the heater doesn’t have among its own. You can lessen the amount of time you have to run the heater by closing the doors and windows. One of the benefits of electric heat is the fact that it produces no harmful fumes.


Space heaters need to be kept well away from any litter, draperies and upholstered or covered furniture.

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