January 31, 2024

Heat Your Space Wisely & Safely


As the winter temperatures plummet outside, we might be spending more time indoors. If you use them, be sure to use space heaters efficiently and safely. Safety is a top consideration when using small space heaters. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that more than 1,700 residential fires every year are associated with the use of space heaters.

Small space heaters work by convection (the circulation of air in a room) or radiant heating. Radiant heaters emit infrared radiation that directly heats objects and people within their line of sight and are a more efficient choice when you will be in a room for only a few hours and can stay within the line of sight of the heater.

How Much Could A Space Heater Impact Your Electric Bill?

You can use this simple formula to determine the cost to run the heater: watts ÷ 1,000 X $0.09

  • Locate the wattage of your heater based on the rating information printed on the heater. A common wattage for space heaters is 1,500 watts.
  • Dividing by 1,000 changes watt hours to kilowatt hours.
  • Most average residential members pay $0.09 /kWh.

The results: In general, your space heater could be costing you $0.135 per hour or $1.08 for 8 hours. If plugged in for 8 hours every night for a month, that could add up to $32.40!

When Buying & Installing A Small Space Heater, Follow These Guidelines:

  • Locate the heater on a level surface away from foot traffic.
  • Buy a unit with a tip-over safety switch, which automatically shuts off the heater if the unit is tipped over.
  • Plug heaters directly into the wall outlet. If an extension cord is necessary, use the shortest possible heavy-duty cord of 14-gauge wire or larger. Always check and follow any manufacturer’s instructions pertaining to the use of extension cords.
  • Select a heater of the proper size for the room you wish to heat. Most heaters come with a general sizing table.
  • Choose a thermostatically controlled heater because it avoids the energy waste of overheating a room.

To learn more about space heaters, check out this space heater safety article here.