How much electricity does a space heater use?

Ted Curley
Journeymen wiremen at US Electric-International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)

Hello, I'm Ted Curley, a licensed electrician with a wealth of experience in the electrical field. I've launched this platform to share my extensive knowledge and insights with you. My journey in the electrical field spans over a decade, during which I have cultivated a deep understanding and expertise in...Read more

Ted Curley
Journeymen wiremen at US Electric-International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)

Hello, I'm Ted Curley, a licensed electrician with a wealth of experience in the electrical field. I've launched this platform to share my extensive knowledge and insights with you. My journey in the electrical field spans over a decade, during which I have cultivated a deep understanding and expertise in...Read more

Space heaters use a significant amount of electricity, ranging from 750 watts to 1,500 watts, depending on the model. This means that running a space heater for an hour can use between 0.75 and 1.5 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity.

The cost of running a space heater will vary depending on your electricity rate. For example, if your electricity rate is 15 cents per kWh, then running a 1,500-watt space heater for an hour would cost you 22.5 cents.

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Example of how to calculate the cost of running a space heater

  • Space heater wattage: 1,500 watts
  • Electricity rate: 15 cents per kWh
  • Running time: 8 hours per day

Calculation of energy usage

  • 1,500 watts / 1,000 watts/kWh = 1.5 kWh – this is how much energy a space heater uses per hour
  • 1.5 kWh x 15 cents/kWh = 22.5 cents per hour
  • 22.5 cents/hour x 8 hours/day = $1.80 per day
  • $1.80 per day x 30 days/month = $54.00 per month
  • 1,500 watts / 1,000 watts/kWh x 8 hours/day x 30 days/month = 360 kWh – this is how much energy a space heater uses per month.
how much energy does a space heater use

Factors Affecting Electricity Consumption

Electricity consumption by a space heater is influenced by several key factors. Understanding these factors is crucial for determining how much electricity a space heater will use in different situations.

1. Heater Wattage

  1. Wattage Rating: The wattage rating of a space heater is a primary determinant of its electricity consumption. Higher wattage heaters consume more electricity, as they generate more heat.
  2. Variable Heat Settings: Many space heaters come with adjustable heat settings. Lower heat settings consume less electricity than higher ones.

2. Duration of Use

  1. Usage Duration: The amount of time a space heater is in operation directly impacts electricity consumption. Longer usage periods result in higher electricity bills.
  2. Thermostatic Control: Heaters with thermostatic controls can automatically regulate their operation to maintain a set temperature. This can help reduce electricity consumption by preventing unnecessary heating.

3. Energy Efficiency Ratings

  1. Energy Star Certification: Look for space heaters with Energy Star certification. These models are designed to be more energy-efficient, which can significantly reduce electricity consumption without sacrificing heating performance.
  2. Eco Mode: Some modern space heaters come with an eco mode that optimizes energy usage, further reducing electricity consumption.

4. Room Size and Insulation

  1. Room Size: The size of the room you intend to heat plays a vital role. Smaller rooms require less energy to heat compared to larger spaces.
  2. Insulation: Well-insulated rooms retain heat better, allowing the heater to work more efficiently and consume less electricity.
  3. Sealing Drafts: Properly sealing drafts and ensuring windows and doors are closed can prevent heat loss, reducing the need for prolonged heater use.

Understanding these factors will help you make informed decisions about your space heater usage and manage your electricity consumption effectively.

how much electricity does a space heater use

Comparing Space Heaters to Other Heating Methods

When it comes to heating your space, you have several options to consider. Let's compare space heaters to other common heating methods to help you make an informed choice.

AspectSpace HeatersCentral HeatingHeat PumpsFireplaces
Cost EfficiencyHighAffordableLowHighest
Installation ComplexityPlug and PlayProfessionalProfessionalProfessional
Energy SourceElectric/GasGas, Oil, ElectricElectricWood/Gas/Electric
Heating ControlRoom-SpecificWhole HouseWhole HouseRoom-Specific
Energy EfficiencyVariesEfficientVery EfficientVaries
PortabilityHighly PortableNot PortableNot PortableNot Portable
Environmental ImpactDepends on SourceVariesEco-FriendlyDepends on Source
MaintenanceLow MaintenanceRegular ServicingRegular ServicingRegular Cleaning
Heating SpeedRapid HeatingSlowerSlowerRapid Heating
Zoning FlexibilityExcellentLimitedLimitedLimited
Initial CostLowHighModerateModerate-High
Noise LevelsGenerally QuietVariesVariesVaries

Cost Efficiency

Space heaters are often more cost-effective for heating specific areas, whereas central heating systems may be costly to operate, especially in larger homes.

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Installation Complexity

Space heaters are plug-and-play devices, while central heating systems and heat pumps require professional installation.

Energy Source

Space heaters come in electric or gas variants, central heating systems typically use gas, oil, or electric heating, heat pumps are electric-powered, and fireplaces can use wood, gas, or electricity.

Heating Control

Space heaters provide room-specific heating control, while central heating systems heat the entire house simultaneously.

Energy Efficiency

Heat pumps are known for their high energy efficiency, followed by central heating. The energy efficiency of space heaters and fireplaces varies depending on the model and fuel source.


Space heaters are highly portable and can be moved around as needed, unlike other heating methods.

Environmental Impact

The environmental impact varies depending on the energy source. Heat pumps are typically eco-friendly, while gas heating methods may have a higher carbon footprint.


Space heaters require minimal maintenance, while central heating and heat pump systems need regular servicing. Fireplaces require periodic cleaning.

Heating Speed

Space heaters and fireplaces can provide rapid localized heating, whereas central heating and heat pumps may take longer to heat an entire home.

Zoning Flexibility

Space heaters offer excellent zoning flexibility, allowing you to heat specific areas. Central heating and heat pumps have limited zoning options.

Initial Cost

Space heaters are typically more affordable upfront compared to central heating and heat pump systems.

Noise Levels

Space heaters are generally quiet, while noise levels in central heating and heat pump systems can vary depending on the model.

Consider these factors carefully when choosing the heating method that best suits your needs and budget.

Eco-Friendly Options

In an era of increasing environmental consciousness, eco-friendly heating options are gaining popularity. If you're concerned about reducing your carbon footprint while staying warm, consider these environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional space heaters:

Energy Star Certified Heaters

  1. High Energy Efficiency: Energy Star certified space heaters meet strict energy efficiency standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). They consume less energy, which not only reduces your electricity bills but also lowers greenhouse gas emissions.
  2. Advanced Features: These heaters often come equipped with advanced features such as programmable thermostats and timers, allowing you to optimize heating while minimizing energy waste.
  3. Reduced Environmental Impact: By choosing an Energy Star certified heater, you're contributing to a reduction in harmful emissions and promoting a cleaner, more sustainable environment.

Solar-Powered Heaters

  1. Harnessing Solar Energy: Solar-powered space heaters utilize the sun's energy to generate heat. They are equipped with photovoltaic panels that convert sunlight into electricity, which is then used for heating.
  2. Zero Emissions: Solar heaters produce zero emissions, making them one of the greenest heating options available. They reduce your reliance on fossil fuels and help combat climate change.
  3. Cost Savings: While the initial cost of installing solar panels and solar-powered heaters can be significant, they offer long-term cost savings by harnessing free solar energy.
  4. Backup Heating: Some solar-powered heaters have backup heating sources (e.g., electric or gas) for cloudy days or nighttime use, ensuring you always have a heat source available.

By opting for eco-friendly space heaters like Energy Star certified models or solar-powered heaters, you can enjoy the warmth you need while minimizing your impact on the environment. These options not only reduce energy consumption but also contribute to a more sustainable future.

Government Regulations and Rebates

Government regulations and incentives play a significant role in promoting energy efficiency and sustainable heating solutions. It's essential to stay informed about these regulations and take advantage of available rebates to make environmentally conscious choices. Here are some valuable resources and links to get you started:

Energy Efficiency Standards

  1. Energy Star Program: The Energy Star program, run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), sets energy efficiency standards for various appliances, including space heaters. Visit the Energy Star website to learn about their certification criteria and find Energy Star-rated heaters.
  2. Department of Energy (DOE): The DOE sets minimum energy efficiency standards for heaters and other household appliances. You can find detailed information on these standards on the DOE's Appliance and Equipment Standards Program website.
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Tax Incentives and Rebates

  1. Federal Tax Credits: The U.S. government offers tax credits for energy-efficient home improvements, including heating systems. Check the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website for the latest information on available tax credits.
  2. Local Utility Rebates: Many local utility companies provide rebates and incentives for installing energy-efficient heating systems, including space heaters. Visit your utility company's website or contact them directly to inquire about available rebates.
  3. Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE): DSIRE is a comprehensive database that provides information on state-level incentives, rebates, and policies related to energy efficiency and renewable energy. You can explore available programs in your state on the DSIRE website.
  4. Federal and State Programs: Various federal and state programs offer financial incentives for adopting energy-efficient heating solutions. Explore these opportunities on the website and your state's official energy department website.

It's essential to stay up-to-date with the latest regulations and incentives, as they can change over time. Taking advantage of government programs and rebates not only helps reduce your heating costs but also contributes to a more sustainable and energy-efficient home. Always verify the eligibility criteria and application processes on the respective websites provided for the most accurate and current information.

Expert Opinions

Gathering insights from experts in the field can provide valuable information when it comes to choosing and using space heaters efficiently. Here are some expert opinions and links to reputable sources where you can find expert advice:

Interviews with Energy Experts

  1. The Department of Energy (DOE): The DOE regularly publishes resources and advice on energy-efficient heating. Explore their Heating and Cooling section for expert tips on efficient space heater usage.
  2. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE): ACEEE is a respected organization that conducts research on energy efficiency. Visit their Consumer Resources section for expert insights and recommendations on space heaters and energy conservation.
  3. Energy-Efficient Appliance Manufacturers: Leading manufacturers of energy-efficient appliances often have blogs or advice sections on their websites. For example, companies like Dyson and Honeywell provide expert guidance on their products and energy-efficient heating.

Consumer Reviews

  1. Consumer Reports: Consumer Reports is known for its unbiased product reviews and expert opinions. You can find detailed space heater reviews and recommendations in their Home Heating section.
  2. Amazon Customer Reviews: While not strictly expert opinions, customer reviews on platforms like Amazon can provide valuable insights into the real-world performance of specific space heater models. You can search for top-rated space heaters and read customer feedback to inform your purchase decision.
  3. Home Improvement Forums: Online forums like Houzz and DIY Chatroom often feature discussions where homeowners share their experiences with space heaters. These can offer practical insights and tips from people who have used these devices.

Consulting experts and reviewing consumer feedback can help you make informed decisions about the best space heater for your specific needs and ensure you use it effectively and safely. Always consider multiple sources of information to get a well-rounded perspective.

Tips for saving energy when using a space heater

  • Use a space heater to spot-heat a specific room instead of heating your entire home.
  • Turn off the space heater when you leave the room.
  • Place the space heater in a central location in the room so that the heat can circulate evenly.
  • Use a thermostat to automatically turn off the space heater when it reaches a certain temperature.
  • Consider using a more energy-efficient type of heater, such as a heat pump or a pellet stove.

Real-life User Stories on Space Heater Usage

User Story 1: Sarah's Cozy Winter Evenings

Sarah, a homeowner living in a moderately cold climate, was looking for an effective way to keep her living room warm during the winter without cranking up the central heating system. She decided to invest in a high-quality electric space heater.


  • Sarah's living room was spacious and often felt chilly, especially during the winter evenings.
  • She chose a 1500-watt Energy Star certified space heater with a built-in thermostat for precise temperature control.
  • Her living room had good insulation, so she expected the heater to work efficiently.
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User Experience:

  • Sarah placed the space heater near her favorite reading nook, ensuring it was at a safe distance from furniture and curtains.
  • Using the thermostat feature, she set the heater to maintain a comfortable temperature of 72°F (22°C).
  • The heater quickly warmed up the room, and within minutes, she felt cozy and comfortable.
  • She often enjoyed her evenings reading by the warm glow of the space heater while sipping on hot tea.
  • Sarah was delighted to find that her electricity bills remained reasonable, thanks to the heater's energy-efficient design.


  • Sarah's investment in an energy-efficient space heater made her winter evenings more enjoyable and cost-effective.
  • She appreciated the precise temperature control and the heater's ability to create a warm and inviting atmosphere in her living room.

User Story 2: John's RV Adventure

John, an avid traveler, spent a considerable amount of time on the road in his RV, exploring various destinations. He faced challenges during the winter months when the temperature dropped significantly. To stay warm and comfortable while conserving energy, he turned to a portable space heater.


  • John's RV had limited insulation, making it vulnerable to cold weather.
  • He opted for a compact, low-wattage ceramic space heater that could be easily moved and stored.
  • His goal was to reduce his reliance on the RV's propane furnace, which consumed a lot of fuel.

User Experience:

  • John placed the space heater on a stable surface inside his RV, ensuring it was away from flammable materials and well-ventilated.
  • Using the heater's adjustable thermostat, he maintained a comfortable temperature inside the RV.
  • The ceramic heater quickly raised the temperature, making the RV cozy without the need for the furnace.
  • John was pleased to see that he significantly reduced his propane consumption, leading to cost savings during his travels.
  • The heater's compact size made it easy to store when not in use, allowing him to maximize space in his RV.


  • John's decision to use a portable space heater in his RV improved his comfort during cold-weather travels.
  • It not only reduced his propane expenses but also provided a convenient and energy-efficient heating solution for his adventures on the road.

Summary of Key Findings

In our exploration of “How Much Electricity Does a Space Heater Use,” we've uncovered essential insights to help you make informed decisions about space heater usage. Here's a summary of the key findings:

  • Heater Wattage Matters: The wattage rating of your space heater directly affects electricity consumption. Lower-wattage heaters are more energy-efficient.
  • Duration of Use: The longer you run a space heater, the more electricity it consumes. Consider using programmable thermostats to optimize heating.
  • Energy Efficiency: Energy Star certified heaters and eco modes can significantly reduce energy consumption while maintaining warmth.
  • Room Size and Insulation: Smaller rooms with good insulation require less energy to heat efficiently.
  • Comparing Heating Methods: Space heaters offer portability and zone-specific heating, but central heating and heat pumps may be more energy-efficient for larger spaces.
  • Eco-Friendly Options: Energy Star certified heaters and solar-powered heaters are eco-friendly alternatives that reduce carbon footprints.
  • Government Incentives: Explore tax credits, rebates, and incentives for energy-efficient heating options to save money while making eco-conscious choices.
  • Expert Opinions: Seek advice from trusted sources like the DOE, ACEEE, and appliance manufacturers for expert insights on space heater usage.
  • Real-Life Experiences: User stories showcase the benefits of space heaters in enhancing comfort and energy efficiency.


Are space heaters cost-effective for long-term use?

Space heaters can be cost-effective for short-term or zone-specific heating. For long-term heating, central systems or heat pumps may offer better efficiency.

What are the safety concerns with space heaters?

Safety is crucial. Keep space heaters away from flammable materials, use heaters with tip-over protection and overheating safeguards, and never leave them unattended. Follow manufacturer instructions.

Are there energy-efficient alternatives to electric space heaters?

Yes, consider Energy Star certified electric heaters or heat pumps for energy-efficient heating. Solar-powered heaters are also eco-friendly alternatives.

How can I reduce my carbon footprint when using space heaters?

Reduce your carbon footprint by choosing energy-efficient heaters, improving room insulation, and considering solar-powered heaters. Additionally, explore government incentives for eco-friendly heating solutions.
Ted CurleyJourneymen wiremen at US Electric-International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)

Hello, I'm Ted Curley, a licensed electrician with a wealth of experience in the electrical field. I've launched this platform to share my extensive knowledge and insights with you. My journey in the electrical field spans over a decade, during which I have cultivated a deep understanding and expertise in various roles. Let me take you through my journey and my passion for electricity and space heaters. If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line at

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