Do space heaters save moneyA common question we often ask ourselves before purchasing a space heater to keep us warm during the winter season is, “Do space heaters save money?” 

Most of us are already used to running electric furnaces and heat pumps in our homes for long periods of time and that leads to high electricity bills.

And because space heaters are portable and can be only used in one section of the room, you might be wondering whether they’re worth purchasing for your house or not.

So, “Do space heaters save energy?”

The short answer is that yes they do but this depends on how you use them.

You might be thinking of replacing the central heating system in your home with space heaters in every room but is this worth it and will it save you money?

The answer to that question may surprise you.

But don’t worry, we’ll take you through the best options for you to consider in this article.

Now let’s dive into how to save money while using space heaters efficiently.

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Do Space Heaters Save Money?

Yes, you can save money when using a space heater. The most cost savings occur when the space heater is equipped with a good thermostat and you don’t raise the heat above a normal temperature. You also need to use an electric space heater in one room and leave the rest of the house colder.

Finding the Most Energy-Saving Space Heater

Space heaters have an energy-saving efficiency rating that is up to three times higher than that of using central heating systems.

You can find our guide on the most energy-efficient space heaters here, or read on to figure out the comparison cost between central heating and space heaters.

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Space Heater vs Central Heating Cost Comparison

Do space heaters save money?

Let’s find out.

Space Heater Energy Usage

In order to find out how much energy your space heater uses, you need to determine its wattage first.

The wattage is printed on the user manual or the space heater itself. The wattage tells you how much electricity is used to power your space heater.

Some of the best space heaters use 1,500 watts.

If we assume that you have a 1,500 watt electric space heater, then your heater uses 1.5 kilowatts of power because 1,000 watts is equal to 1 kilowatt.

Kilowatt-hours are used to measure your electric bills. This is the energy used when using a 1-kilowatt appliance for an hour.

Now use the formula below to find out how much a 1.5-kilowatt (1,500 watt) space heater would cost to use.

  • Watts x Hours Per Day x kWh Rate ÷ 1000 = Average Daily Cost

Let’s say you want to keep a room warm for 4 hours per day with a 1,500 watt space heater.

First, multiply the watts your space heater uses by the number of used hours:

1,500 Watts x 4 Hours Per Day = 6,000

Next, multiply this number (6,000) by your utility company charging rate:

For instance, if your utility company charges the rate of $0.15 kWh for electricity, then we would complete the calculation like below.

6,000 x 0.15 = 900

Now, divide this number (900) by 1,000:

900 ÷ 1,000 = 0.90

Therefore, to heat a room for 4 hours with a space heater, it could cost you about $0.90 per day.

This formula enables you to estimate the level of efficiency of space heaters and find space heaters that are energy efficient.

Central Heating Energy Usage

As a general rule, it’s pricier to heat rooms with standard electricity than with natural gas or any other fuel sources when using a central heating system with an electric furnace.

You can find electric furnaces that range anything between 10 kilowatts to 50 kilowatts.

For a typical 2,400 square foot house that’s equipped with a modern high-efficiency electric furnace that uses 18,000 watts, it will cost about $10.80 per day for heating.

Here’s the formula for measuring the cost of a central heating system:

  • Watts x Hours Per Day x kWh Rate ÷ 1000 = Average Daily Cost

If we plug in the numbers from our example home (2,400 square feet with an 18,000 watt electric furnace), we get this equation:

18,000 Watts x 4 Hours Per Day = 72,000

Next, multiply this number (72,000) by your utility company charging rate.

For instance, if your utility company charges the rate of $0.15 kWh for electricity, then we would complete the calculation like below:

72,000 x 0.15 = 10,800

Now, divide this number (10,800) by 1,000.

10,800 ÷ 1,000 = 10.80

Therefore, to heat a house for 4 hours with an electric furnace, it could cost you about $10.80 per day.

When using electricity as a power source for your central heating system, we recommend using a heat pump when you can because heat pumps are more energy-efficient than HVAC systems.

Do Space Heaters Use a Lot of Electricity?

Do space heaters save energyMost electric space heaters use 1,500 watts of power. Therefore, it would cost $1.56 a day to use a space heater 8 hours a day, based on the national average electricity rate of 13 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). An average one-month electric bill would be $46.80.

How to Save the Most Money with a Space Heater

Many people are looking for the best cost-effective and energy-saving way to heat their homes during the winter season. 

Instead of using their central heating system or propane space heaters, most people are using energy-saving electric space heaters in the rooms they use the most. 

We can turn down the central heater a few degrees and use the space heater in our rooms for efficient zone heating to save the most money.

The thermostat in your space heater enables you to heat your room to a decent temperature level that is not above normal.

That’s how you’ll save costs by only heating a small section of your room and leaving the rest of the house cold.

Space Heater Energy Saving Tips

Do space heaters save energy? They can as long as you follow these expert tips:

  • Choose one of the  most energy-efficient space heaters here.
  • Use space heaters in a smaller space.
  • Close the door to the room to avoid heat loss.
  • Turn down the central heat for everywhere else in the house and use the space heater only in the room that you have occupied.
  • Use space heaters with thermostat settings so that you can set them at the lowest settings that you need.
  • Turn off the space heater when not in use. You can also purchase energy-saving space heaters with timers.
  • Select space heaters that are the right size for your space. The size is normally indicated on the space heater.
  • Compare the wattages to check out which one uses less energy.
  • Plug the space heater into the wall rather than into an extension cord.
  • Buy a safe space heater that has a tip-over switch so that when it accidentally tips over it shuts off automatically.
  • You can also choose a space heater with a programmable thermostat that automatically regulates the room temperature by cycling on and off.
  • Set the space heater in Automatic or Eco Mode which fluctuates between high and low fan speeds and selecting the best heating level. This saves energy once your room is properly heated.

Saving Money on a Space Heater

Now that we’ve answered the question, “Do space heaters save money?”, you may now be wondering, “How can I save the most money on a new space heater purchase?”

To effectively save money on a space heater, you should consider the following aspects:

  1. The type of heater that you want (convection, radiant, or fan-forced). 
  2. The heating capacity (the wattage rating).
  3. Energy efficiency (adjustable thermostats, energy-saving modes, programmable timers, and low wattage).
  4. Safety features (cool to the touch surfaces, tip-over switch, overheat protection), and noise level (consider no fan units).

If you’re looking for a new space heater that will allow you to save money, have a look at our in-depth guides to find the right unit for your needs:

Do Space Heaters Save Energy & Money Summary

So, do space heaters save money?

It clearly depends on how you use your space heater.

As stated earlier, if you choose to replace your central heating system with space heaters in every room, then you’ll end up using more energy and paying more in electricity bills.

A better option is to choose one or two rooms that you want to heat and use a space heater in those areas while keeping the rest of the house colder.

Do space heaters save energy?

As we’ve discussed, if you use the space heater in an energy-friendly way and invest in a unit that has energy efficiency features, then you can save a lot of energy during the cold season.

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About David Morrison

David is an Air Quality & Comfort Technician. He has expert knowledge on the technology and design of air purification, air conditioning, and heating systems. His main role is to write content that helps people get the most value out of their air purifiers, air conditioners, and heating units. (See Full Bio)