Knowing how much it costs to run your space heater

Calculating Space Heater Electric Usage

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Calculating Space Heater Electric Usage

I am in the process of ordering an energy saving space heater for my home. I need one that covers around 1000 square feet for the kitchen and living room area. I live in the South, but the nights can get pretty chilly. My current electric bill statement indicates: Days of service - 33, Total KWH - 822, Avg. KWH/day - 24, Cost per day- $2.77. I am looking at purchasing the EdenPURE® Heater (1483 watts) that is advertised on TV. However, my concern is how much electricity it will take to run it. How do I calculate electric usage? HELP! Please.

The Calculations Are Easy

Calculating an appliance's electric usage is very easy if you know its wattage. In this case, you say the heater you are considering uses 1483 watts or 1.483 kilowatts. Simply multiply this by the number of hours you expect to use it and that will tell you how many kilowatt-hours you will use. If you have it on for five hours a day, for example, then that will be 5 times 1.483 or 7.415 kWh per day or roughly 222.5 kWh per month.

Related: 12 Frugal Home Heating Tips

To Find the Cost to Run Your Space Heater…

Here's an easy way to figure out what your electric space heater and other appliances cost to run. Multiply the number of volts in the line by the amps to get the wattage used. For kilowatt-hours, multiply by 1000. (One kilowatt is 1000 watts used in one hour.)

For example, if a space heater uses 1000 watts per hour, that is one kilowatt hour. To find the cost per kilowatt hour in your community, check your electric bill. For example, if you used 24 kilowatt hours of power per day and were charged $2.77, you are paying $2.77 divided by 24, or 11.54 cents per kilowatt hour.

Thus, a space heater that uses 1483 watts per hour uses 1.483 kilowatt hours. Therefore each hour it is run will cost you 1.483 times 0.1154 or about 17 cents an hour to run.
Barbara in CT

An Electrician's Insight

As someone in construction for the last 45 years with the last 18 as an electrician, let me give you some advice. If you are looking at a 110, 115 or 120 Volt A.C. (these are all the same!) electrical heater, keep this in mind. The National Electrical Code states that these type heaters must be limited to a maximum of 1500 watts. Accordingly, you will find some of these heaters stating that they will put out both 750 and 1500 watts or maybe 600 and 1250 watts or many other combinations.

There are many different versions like Halogen, Oil-Filled, Ceramic or so on. All claim to be more efficient than the others are. The bottom line is that all the 110 Volt are maxed at 1500 watts by Regulations and can't be broached legally.

As to how to calculate the total, take the maximum wattage per one hour of operation (1483), divide by 1,000 to get 1.483 KWH (Kilowatt Hour). Look on your bill for the actual KWH cost. In my area, it is 8.5 cents. Multiply that times the hours a day you will run it (say 12 hours for our example). For our example, the calculation will be 1.483 X 0.085 X 12 = $1.51 to operate your space heater for twelve hours. But remember that this is at my local pricing and for a dozen hours a day. Also keep in mind that your total bill price includes your "whole" house electrical bill and not just your heater.

If you really want to know precisely how much energy in watts it is using, go to your local Ace Hardware and pick up an Energy (watt) Use Meter. You plug it into the wall first, and then plug your heater into it. It will give you a constant readout of your actual wattage used on that appliance.

Proceed with Caution

I do not know what the calculation would be concerning this woman's bill, but she really needs to make sure that her electrical outlet can handle the wattage on the heater she buys. If it is too high, she may end up with a fire in her home.

Contact Electric Supplier

The best resource you have is your electricity supplier. I called ours when it came time to replace a water heater, and they were extremely helpful, which resulted in a major savings for my family and a loss of money for them. We bought a system we could run with our oil furnace. Start there. They can give you rates, usage, and suggestions for what's best for you.

Reviewed January 2018

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