Using Space Heaters? Be Aware of Cost and Safety Measures

Heating your home with electric space heaters can easily double or triple your electric bill if you are not careful. Even though they are typically small in size, and often touted as 100% efficient, electric space heaters use a lot of electricity. Most space heaters use on average 1,500 watts of electricity and cost about 15¢ an hour to operate. While that may not sound like much, it can add up quickly if heaters are left on for several hours a day. Leaving one space heater on for 8 hours a day for a period of one month could easily add an additional $30-$40 to your monthly electric bill.

Following are some good tips to help manage your electric bill if you use electric space heaters in your home.

Do not heat rooms that are not in use: Space heaters should only be used in rooms you are occupying and should never be left unattended. Remembering to turn off heaters when you leave a room can help you save money on your electric bill.

Use a thermometer to monitor room temperature: Most space heaters do not have individual thermostats or temperature controls, and those that do are often inaccurate or hard to read. Use a separate room thermometer to accurately monitor room temperature and avoid overheating.

Your central heating system may be a better choice: If you are using multiple space heaters in your home for more than a few hours a day, it may be more efficient to use your central furnace for heating. Using your central heating is generally the most cost effective way to heat an entire home.

Appropriate uses for space heaters: Most space heaters work best in areas that can easily be closed off to retain heat, such as a small bedroom or office. They do not work well in areas that cannot be closed off to the rest of the home, or large rooms as the heat will dissipate away quickly.

Select the right space heater: Not all space heaters are created equal. Some space heaters are designed to evenly heat a whole room, while others are better at heating only what is directly in front of them. Use the guide on the back to identify which space heater might be right for you.