How Much Does a Space Heater Cost to Use?

18. How much does a space heater cost to use

When it’s cold inside, you’re tempted to do whatever it takes to become comfortable again. It feels good then, but when the utility bill comes along at the end of the month, those good feelings go away. By knowing how much it costs to use a space heater, however, you’ll be able to stay comfortable and not break your budget in the process. Here’s what you need to know.

If You Ran a 1500 Watt Space Heater 24/7, It Would Cost You $150/Month!

Although the cost per kilowatt hour of electricity being used around the world has many variables, the average cost of this energy measurement is about 10 cents. 1,000 watts is the equivalent of one kilowatt hour, which means a 1,500 watt space heater will cost 1.5 kilowatts per hour, or $0.15 in energy costs. You can afford $0.15, right?

But if you take that 15 cents and multiply it by 24 hours over the course of 30 days in a billing period, you’ll end up paying nearly $150 more on your power bill that month than normal. Even if you’re not running your space heater on full, the costs are going to be high.

  • 600 watts: About $60 per month.
  • 750 watts: About $75 per month.
  • 900 watts: About $90 per month. 

So if you just look at the actual operating costs of a space heater, it seems pretty darn expensive. That’s not the only factor which must be considered in this process. If you’re operating a space heater and adding warmth to your home, then there’s the possibility of reducing the running time of your furnace or primary HVAC system. 

Save 2% on Each 1 Degree You Lower Your Furnace Thermostat

For practical purposes, let’s say your thermostat is set to 72 degrees and it costs you $150 per month to operate it during the colder months. By running a space heater, you’re able to reduce your thermostat setting to 62 degrees. That 10 degree change means saving up to 20% on your heating costs. In other words, you save $30 per month because you’re using the space heater.

And let’s be honest: you’re not going to be using your space heater 24/7. It wouldn’t be safe to do so. You go to work. You won’t run the space heater while you’re sleeping. This means you run it maybe 8 hours per day. At 600 watts, that means you’re actual cost to operate the space heater every month goes from $60 to $20.

With the savings from your HVAC system, you actually gain a net savings of $10 per month.

What If I Don’t Have an Electric Space Heater?

There are heaters available today that run on propane and kerosene, but their cost savings can be difficult to calculate because these fuels are priced based on supply and demand. You may be able to save more by using them, but you might also save less. The one main advantage of using a fuel-based space heater is that you will still be able to have heat should the power go out.

So when looking at the cost of operating a space heater, it is necessary to look at the wattage being used and figure out what your kilowatt per hour energy cost happens to be. The price savings of a thermostat reduction must also be examined. Combine these two figures and you’ll be able to calculate your exact cost each month.