Can a Space Heater Save You Money?

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Photo: Flickr/dr.mafisto


Can you save money by using a space heater, instead of your central heating system, to keep your house warm this winter?

Consumer Reports recently looked into this matter and found that in order to cut costs using an electric space heater, you’ll need to lower the heat in the other rooms in your house. Small space heaters are often less expensive to run when you’re heating one room or supplementing heat in one room, according to the Department of Energy. But advocacy group Alliance to Save Energy points out that using space heaters to heat rooms is rarely as efficient as a running the central heating system.

What you pay for electricity will, of course, also affect the cost of using a space heater. Electricity rates vary across the country, with Connecticut and New York having among the highest rates, and Washington and Idaho having some of the lowest, Consumer Reports said.

SEE: 8 Quick Ways to Save $290 This Month

The publication tested numerous 1,500-watt space heaters and discovered that it would cost $2.82 a day to use a space heater for 16 hours a day, based on the national average electricity rate. You should never use a space heater while sleeping, in case of fires, Consumer Reports cautioned.

The organization also provided a formula to help anyone calculate how much money they’ll spend using a typical 1,500-watt space heater.

  1. Multiply 1500 watts by X hours of use = A.
  2. Multiply A by your electricity rate per kilowatt hour = B.
  3. Divide B by 1000.

Compare your findings with what you’ve been charged to use the central heating system on your utility bill, and you can determine which type of heating will save you more.

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