It’s perfectly normal to wonder “How much electricity does a space heater use?” when your wallet is not particularly ready for a hefty electric bill next month. However, having to choose between warming up your cold feet in the winter and keeping at least some cash in your wallet isn’t the most fun choice you’d want to start the New Year with.
So, how much does a space heater cost to run? Fortunately, not that much. The overall cost of your electric space heater will depend on two things – its wattage and the cost of electricity in your area.
Most space heaters have wattages of about 1,500 watts per hour, some a bit more, some a bit less, but let’s assume you’re using a standard 1,500-watt space heater. If you’re unsure of your heater’s wattage, it’s usually listed both on the heater itself and in its manual.
As for the electricity cost, the average cost in the U.S. right now is ~$0.13 per kilowatt-hours but it can vary between $0.09 and $0.3 depending on your state and city.
Still, with these two numbers in mind, all we need to do is apply this simple formula:
- Since 1,000 watts = 1 kilowatt, this means your 1,500-watt heater uses 1.5 kilowatts of power per hour (kW/h).
- Multiply your heater’s power consumption (the 1.5 kW) by the number of hours you want to use it to get the total amount of kilowatts you’re going to use. So, if you want to use it for 12 hours, that’s 1.5 x 12 = 18 kW.
- Lastly, multiply the kilowatts by your electricity rate. So, 18 kilowatts (for 12 hours) at a rate of $0.13 per kW/h = $2.34 for 12 hours of continuous use. If you want to use your heater 12 hours per day, 7 days a week, that’d mean 7 x 2.34 = $16.38 per week or $70.2 per month if you use the heater all 30 days of the month for 12 hours each day.
As you can see, if you use a standard space heater that often, you’ll rack up quite a hefty electricity bill just with your heater. However, if you use it only when you need it, it does cost mere cents per hour.