How Much Energy Does a Space Heater Use?

Rising energy prices and a cold winter season can make a dent on your wallet when it comes to heating the home. Experts recommend using an electric space heater with your central heating and adjusting it to a lower setting to reduce energy usage and save on energy bills. But how much energy does a space heater use? The answer varies depending on where you live and the amount of electric wattage that is being used to run your heater. If used properly, a space heater could end up saving you on energy bills this winter season.

Use Space Heaters Wisely to Save Energy

First things first: Your space heater is not made to be used as the primary heat source in your home. It’s a supplemental heating source that works in tandem with your whole-home central heating. By lowering your thermostat and utilizing a space heater to heat the rooms you use, you can save money, excessive wear on your central home heater, and energy. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends turning your thermostat back by 7°F to 10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting to save as much as 10% on energy and costs. (For more info on cold-weather thermostat settings, visit What’s the Best Temperature to Set the Thermostat in Winter? Using a space heater in occupied rooms provides more than enough heat for you and your family, and you’re not wasting energy overheating empty, unoccupied rooms.

Wattage and Quick Calculations

Energy savings depend on the amount of energy an electric device uses. Most Lasko heaters have a maximum heat output of 1,500 watts (12.5 amps) and come with adjustable settings and thermostats, which allow you to operate your heater on a lower setting of 750 to 900 watts. Those wattage numbers are important when calculating how much energy does a space heater use. The cost and amount of energy will depend on the heat setting you have selected and how often you run your heater. As energy rates across the country vary, it’s important that you contact your energy company for definitive rates regarding your bill and wattage use. Consumer Reports also questioned how much energy does a space heater use, and conducted their studies on space heaters that use 1,500 watts of power. They found that it would cost $2.82 a day to use a space heater for 16 hours based on the 2011 national average electricity rate. That averages to around $85 a month. Since space heaters should not run unattended, most households’ usage should be less than 16 hours a day, saving even more energy and money than anticipated. As all energy costs and usage vary, Consumer Reports offers a quick formula to help you determine what your energy usage will be:

  • Multiply 1,500 watts by X hours of use = A
  • Multiply A by your electricity rate per kilowatt hour = B
  • Divide B by 1,000

Let’s say your electricity rate per kilowatt hour is $0.12. (The current national average is around $0.13, with states like Alaska and New York topping the charts at around $0.22 and $0.19 an hour respectively, and states like Idaho and Arkansas coming in low at around $0.10 and $0.09.) How much energy does a space heater use is reflected in the amount of time you have the device turned on. If you only use your space heater 8 hours a day, at $0.12 per kilowatt hour, your average space heater energy use comes in at $1.44 per day. Pairing a space heater with a lower thermostat setting can potentially save big on energy and money through the winter season.

Tips on Maximizing Space Heater Efficiency

Always follow instructions found in the user manual when operating your heater to make sure you are using it correctly and efficiently. Choosing a heater with programmable thermostats or smart features can help maintain consistent temperatures that help reduce energy use. For example, a heater like the Digital Ceramic Tower Heater with Save-Smart® Control or the Ceramic Pedestal Heater with Remote Control offers advanced, energy-saving Save-Smart® technology. The programmable thermostat maintains a low-heat setting that automatically uses less energy. Most heaters have a range of high and low settings. On the low setting, a space heater’s current draw can be reduced by as much as 60%, further lowering the electricity use per kilowatt hour and saving money on your energy bill. A pedestal heater like the 30″ Digital Space-Saving Ceramic Pedestal Heater with Digital Remote offers three quiet settings for low to high heat, plus an auto-thermostat setting. Make sure your heater is the appropriate size for the room you want to heat; a large whole room heater fits best in a bigger enclosed space (up to 300 square feet), while a smaller tabletop & compact heater is perfectly-sized for enclosed bedroom or home office spaces. A MyHeat™ Personal Heater is perfect for a desktop (and only uses 200 watts of power), but would not heat a large, open concept family room the way a room heater like the Digital Ceramic Heater with Warm Air Motion Technology would. When your heater is not in use, or you are leaving for the day, be sure to power off and unplug the device. In general, being conscious of the electrical devices that are running in the home, turning off lights, and unplugging electrical products that you are not currently using helps save on energy bills. Understanding how much energy does a space heater use depends on the user, the home, and the average costs in the state. Keep these tips in mind to use your heater wisely, stay warm, and save on energy bills this winter season.

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