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How many watts does a space heater use? Costs of comfort

Space heaters can fight the cold alright but their service comes at a price. Heating the house makes up 25% to 50% of your electric bill in winter. How much energy does a space heater use, and how much does it cost to run one? Find out in this article.

Heater’s wattage and your electricity bill

To use your space heater efficiently and avoid surprises on your bill, you need to know its wattage. Look for a label on the back of your heater or in its spec sheet. Space heaters come in various wattage ranges:

  • Low-power heaters of 500 – 1000 watts: Ideal for small rooms or spot heating.

  • Mid-range heaters of 1000 – 1500 watts: Suitable for warming up a medium-sized room.

  • High-power heaters of 1500 watts and above: Can heat up larger rooms or halls.


standard wattage of most electric heaters

The standard wattage of most electric heaters clocks in at 1,500W or 1.5kW. Lower or eco-friendly settings may bring it down to 750W. However, the heater will have to run longer to reach the desired temperature and will end up with the same consumption.

Once you know your space heater’s wattage, you can estimate its running cost. Divide your heater’s wattage by 1000 to convert watts to kilowatts and multiply by your electricity rate.

Cost of use per hour = wattage / 1000 × price per 1 kWh

If you live in California with a rate of $0.20 per kWh, running a 1.5kW heater will cost you about $0.30 per hour. If we leave it on all night, we will use 12kWh and pay $2.4. This will make $72 per month and $216 over the winter. On average heating and cooling stand for about a quarter of your energy bill, according to the US Energy Information Administration, but the expenses may grow higher during cold months.

5 tips to save heater’s watts and your money

Staying warm doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Here you find five simple yet effective strategies to keep your home cozy without hitting your budget.

  • Right-size your heater: Bigger isn’t always better. Choose a heater sized for the room you plan to use it in. Oversized heaters will only waste energy.

  • Power down when not in use: Don’t let your space heater run unattended. Turn it off whenever you leave the room or go to sleep.

  • Target heating: Put the heater near where you’ll be sitting or working, not in a drafty corner where much of the heat will be lost.

  • Dress warmly: Wear warm clothes and slippers indoors to feel comfortable at slightly cooler temperatures. Snuggling up with a blanket on the couch is a cozy way to stay warm without cranking up the heat.

  • Upgrade insulation: Drafty windows and doors are a major source of heat loss. Inspect for leaks and seal any you find. Close curtains and blinds at night to add an extra layer of insulation to windows. You can also use draft stoppers under doors to prevent cold air from seeping in.

Solar power and heater’s needs

Not to choose between cost and comfort, you may use solar panels. You can harness solar energy and turn on the heater during the day, or you can store your energy in a battery or send it to the grid and draw later if you want to run the heater in the evening.

Let’s take a standard 400-watt solar panel. With 25% DC to AC conversion losses, this panel generates about 300W. To continuously power a 1,500W heater, we would need five of them.

Electricity that goes into heating in the winter can be used for air conditioning in the summer, which also makes up quite a bit of your electric bill.

Suppose we want to run the heater in the evening for four hours. We can either draw power from the grid or use a battery. With the battery, we need to store 6kWh of energy in a day. With four peak sun hours per day, we will again need five 400W solar panels for it.

400 W × 5 panels × 4 psh - 25% = 6 kWh

By harnessing the sun and using your space heater wisely, you can enjoy its warmth without breaking the bank. Remember, a little planning goes a long way in keeping both you and your wallet cozy. If you’re wondering how else you can save money on electricity, check out our article “How to make home energy efficient, save money and help the planet”.

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Years of experience in translation and a love of nature help Julia find the right words to encourage going solar. She joined the team in 2023 and is happy to make her contribution to a greener future.

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