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How Much Does a Space Heater Cost to Run_

How Much Does a Space Heater Cost to Run?

Winter is coming. Literally. It’s going to get colder and colder, and of course, you’re going to want to stay warm. Who wouldn’t want to stay warm this winter? When thinking about ways to get warm, our minds almost always start at purchasing a heater. However, in these turbulent times, we have come to investigate products to ensure we make the right decisions. We don’t want to break the bank, invest in a product that can’t withstand the test of time, or buy something that doesn’t do the job right. 

We’re going to break down some of the things to consider about space heaters, primarily, how much it costs to run a space heater.

Types of Space Heaters 

Before you make that all-important decision of purchasing a space heater, you need to know the different types that exist. In total, there are four types of space heaters; Convection, Ceramic fan-forced, radiant/infrared, and micathermic (hybrid) panel heaters.

Convection Heaters

Convection heaters are possibly one of the most popular options. This is mostly because of their ability to heat large space. While they are not the fastest option by any means, this doesn’t detract from their wide hot air dispersion. Convection heaters are filled with a heat transfer oil; this helps radiate the heat from the external surface area. They are usually thermostat controlled, dispersed through natural air, and sometimes feature a fan. They are incredibly low maintenance and don’t require to be refilled.

Ceramic Fan Forced Heaters

Ceramic fan-forced heaters make use of a fan (as if the title didn’t suggest that). However, it is this fan that makes them incredibly versatile.

These ceramic fan-forced heaters can switch between oscillating and being completely stationary. When oscillating, they disperse heat throughout the room, whereas the stationary option performs a spot heat.

Timers are a very common feature amongst ceramic fan-forced heaters, which can be set to run for a specific amount of time before being automatically turned off. Most ceramic fan-forced heaters also include a remote, which means you can control the temperature, oscillation, speech, and more without much more than a button push. 

Some remotes and ceramic heaters even feature thermostats to give you a reading of the temperature. The fans also feature various settings, giving you numerous ways to utilize them to the fullest extent.

Radiant and Infrared Heaters

With radiant heaters, you’re getting direct heat with the use of infrared rays. These infrared rays warm objects by offering a more direct heat and makes them great options for heating up portions of a room. Above all, you’re getting an energy-efficient and near-silent heating unit.

The infrared models have been managing to gain in popularity due to their ability to heat more expansive spaces instead of conventional fan model heaters, you’re getting direct heat with the use of infrared rays. 

These infrared rays warm objects by offering a more direct heat and makes them great options for heating up portions of a room. Above all, you’re getting an energy-efficient and near-silent heating unit. The infrared models have been managing to gain in popularity due to their ability to heat more expansive spaces instead of conventional fan models.

Micathermic Panel Heaters

Micathermic panel heaters are hybrids. These hybrid heaters are 20% direct radiant heat and 80% convection heaters. These mountable units are silent and don’t emit light. These heating units are known for using airflow and circulating heat waves, which eventually heat a room or space.

Please note they are incredibly hot on their exposed surfaces and therefore should be kept away from children and/or pets.

Fuel and Power

Different space heaters require various means of fuel. On the one hand, it can rely on gasses such as propane or kerosene. On the other hand, it can be from infrared. These can genuinely appear across the board. 

Most types of space heaters have made models that cater to these different needs. If you find one that requires gas, you should consider your ability to afford those types of commitments. The last thing you need is to freeze during the winter due to an inability to purchase your heating unit’s required materials. Heating with a kerosene heater can amount to fees of nearly double what you’d expect with a propane heater. To keep a 1500 square foot home warm you’d potentially be paying nearly $300 a month.

If you’re going with an electric unit, you should possibly ensure you find one that is energy efficient but still produces decent, if not excellent results. This is purely a matter of further research and investigation into what works for you and your needs.

The average price for propane is between $2.00 and $2.75 per gallon. The average for kerosene is $2.25 but this varies. The average cost of heating a home with propane heating is roughly $180 for a 1500 square foot home in moderate weather conditions.

Electrical heaters will depend on your utility provider and your total monthly usage. It can range from as little as $0.08 per kilowatt-hour to as much as $0.34 or more for heavier users. You need to work out your average rate (cost per kilowatt-hour) and multiply that by the number of kilowatt-hours you expect the heater to consume. Again, this will depend on the size of the room and the ambient temperature. Another alternative is considering green methods such as solar panels which could be an investment to consider for your home.

Cost 

As mentioned above this honestly comes down to a specific product and not the type. Most types of space heaters have different forms of gas or power requirements. Some of these space heaters require things such as propane or kerosene; others require electric power. 

So you have to determine what the overhead costs will be based on the method of powering this unit and what those methods cost. Propane and kerosene costs are continually changing prices depending on supply and demand.

When it comes to electric space heaters, we know that for the most part these average about 1500w of power usage. Smaller units use between 200w and 1000w of power per hour.

Final Thoughts

When you’re looking at how much it costs to run a space heater, you realize the challenges that face your decision. It isn’t as easy as throwing out numbers; it takes time to understand what type of heater you’re going to purchase and what their requirements are going to be. 

It would help if you answered those critical questions of what you’re looking for, what those heating units need to operate efficiently, what you can afford, and so on. Understand that the prices of these gasses change all the time and understand the availability of these gas types. 

At the end of the day, you need to ensure you do the necessary research to make the best possible decision.

This article was last updated on November 19, 2020 .

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Written by
Charl Jooste