Person heating their hands at home over a domestic portable radiator in winter, energy crisis

A space heater can save the day when a supplemental source of heat is needed. Perhaps you have that one room you rarely use that’s always a bit colder than the rest of the house. Or maybe it’s a sunroom that needs a little boost a couple months out of the year. Whatever, the reason, many homeowners turn to space heaters as an efficient and economical way to deliver added warmth where it’s needed.

But just how efficient and economical are they at keeping a home warm and cozy? Read on to find out.

Operating Cost

A number of factors impact the cost to run a space heater, including the number of watts of the space heater, how long it runs each day, electricity rates, and whether the space heater is equipped with energy-efficient features.

  • It is estimated that on average, it costs 24 cents per hour to run a standard 1500-watt space heater. This may not seem like a lot but consider that running a 1500-watt space heater for 8 hours a day during the course of one month will cost just under $60.
  • Operating a space heater at a lower setting can reduce costs. For example, using a 750-watt setting instead of 1500 can save an average of 96 centers per day, or just under $30 per month.
  • Local electricity rates help determine costs; the higher the rates, the higher the cost. Some utility companies offer discounted rates during off-peak hours, meaning it may be less expensive to operate a space heater at night versus during the day.
  • A space heater with a timer or auto-off feature minimizes energy waste as does an adjustable heat setting that allows you to choose a lower setting to reduce electricity demands.
  • Space heater placement can also impact efficiency. Ideally, place your space heater under a window to prevent cold drafts from making the room feel colder. And avoid placing any furniture or other obstructions in front of the space heater.
A Short-Term Solution

Space heaters serve an important purpose – they offer a short-term solution for less-than-ideal conditions. However, compared to central heat, space heaters are not as efficient, which translates to higher operating costs. What’s more, space heaters pose a greater fire risk than central heating. According to United States Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates, approximately 1,700 fires are caused by space heaters each year. While newer space heaters are safer than ever, there are still things you can do to minimize risk.

  • Never leave a space heater on if you’re not home or asleep.
  • Avoid leaving a space heater on for more than 8 hours at a time.
  • Do not leave pets or small children alone in a room with a running space heater.
  • When choosing a space heater, purchase a high-quality model designed to heat the space of the room needed added warmth.

Now let’s go back to that room that used to be plenty warm, but now is always colder than the rest of the house. Sure, the space heater is a good short-term solution, but not for the long haul. Heating systems are designed to heat all areas of a home evenly, so if yours suddenly comes up short, it’s time to have the problem identified and treated accordingly by the home comfort experts at Zach Heating & Cooling. Contact us today to find out just how good whole-house comfort can feel.