Whether it’s cheaper to use a space heater depends on the specific situation and how you plan to use the heater.

In some cases, using a space heater can be more cost-effective, while in others, it may be more expensive.

Using a space heater can be cheaper if:

  1. Heating a single room: If you need to heat a single room or a small area, a space heater can be more cost-effective than raising the temperature of your entire home using a central heating system. By focusing the heat in the area you spend the most time in, you can lower the thermostat for the rest of your home and save on heating costs.
  2. Supplementing central heating: In large homes or spaces that are consistently colder than the rest, using a space heater can help maintain comfort without overtaxing your central heating system. In these situations, a space heater can be an efficient way to provide targeted warmth without raising the thermostat.
If you have gas central heating then this will be a lot cheaper to run than an electric heater considering the power consumption.

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However, using a space heater can be more expensive if:

  1. Replacing central heating: Attempting to replace your home’s central heating system with space heaters in every room is usually less efficient and can lead to higher energy consumption and increased costs. A central heating system is generally designed to heat an entire home more effectively than multiple space heaters.
  2. Inefficient space heaters: Using an old or inefficient space heater can consume more energy than necessary, leading to higher energy costs. It’s essential to choose an energy-efficient space heater with features like an adjustable thermostat and timer to maximize cost savings.

To determine whether it’s cheaper to use a space heater, consider factors such as the size of your home, the efficiency of your central heating system, and how you plan to use the space heater. If used strategically and in conjunction with other energy-saving measures, a space heater can be a cost-effective option for targeted heating in certain situations.

Running Cost Of a Space Heater

Here’s a table that compares the energy consumption and costs of three different types of space heaters, assuming an electricity rate of $0.12 per kilowatt-hour (kWh).

This table can help you understand the costs associated with using various space heaters and make informed decisions about which one to use.

Heater TypePower (Watts)Energy Consumption (kWh)Cost per HourCost per 8 Hours
Ceramic Space Heater1,5001.5$0.18$1.44
Oil-filled Radiator1,5001.5$0.18$1.44
Infrared Heater1,0001.0$0.12$0.96

Please note that these values are approximate and can vary depending on the specific make and model of the space heater, as well as regional electricity rates.

The energy consumption and costs provided are for one hour of continuous use, and the cost per 8 hours assumes the space heater is used for a full 8-hour period.

To calculate the energy consumption and cost for different usage durations or electricity rates, you can use the following formula:

Energy Consumption (kWh) = (Power in Watts) x (Hours of Use) / 1,000 Cost = Energy Consumption (kWh) x Electricity Rate per kWh

By considering the energy consumption and costs of various space heaters, you can make informed decisions about which heater is best suited to your needs and budget.

Are Space Heaters Cheaper Than Electric Heat?

Electric space heaters are generally more expensive to operate than central electric heating systems because they convert 100% of the electricity they consume into heat, while electric central heating systems have an average efficiency of around 75%.

This means that for every dollar spent on electric central heating, you get about 75 cents worth of heat, whereas with an electric space heater, you get a dollar’s worth of heat.

When Are Space Heaters More Cost-Effective?

Electric space heaters can be a cost-effective option for supplemental heating in smaller spaces or in rooms that are not frequently used.

For example, if you only need to heat one small room for a short period of time, using a space heater can be more efficient and cost-effective than turning up the central heating system for the entire house.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Space Heater

When considering the cost-effectiveness of using a space heater compared to electric heat, it is important to take into account factors such as the size of the space being heated, the insulation of the room, the energy efficiency of the space heater, and the cost of electricity in your area.

Choosing an Energy-Efficient Space Heater

To maximize your energy efficiency and reduce your heating bills, look for space heaters with features such as programmable thermostats, multiple heat settings, and energy-saving modes. Choosing a high-quality, energy-efficient space heater can save you money in the long run.

Consulting an HVAC Expert

Ultimately, the cost-effectiveness of using a space heater compared to electric heat will depend on your specific heating needs and the conditions of your home. It is recommended to consult an HVAC expert to determine the most cost-effective heating solution for your home.