Do Space Heaters Save You Money?

by Louise Balle, Demand Media

    The average American household eats up a significant amount of energy. For instance, the average household consumes 920 kwh each month in electricity, according to 2008 statistics from the Department of Energy. These costs can really add up. One way you might be able to save some money is by buying a space heater for your home, which could help you cut down on your heating energy costs.

    What Is a Space Heater?

    A space heater is a portable heating unit that you can place in any room at any position you wish. It distributes heat in a smaller space compared with a central unit that disperses heat to all rooms of a home at once. You can purchase combustion heaters that take fuel, but modern space heaters commonly operate on electricity. These space heater units come in a variety of sizes and wattages depending on the size of each room you wish to heat.

    Alternative Heating Methods

    Before considering if a space heater will save you money, first consider the usual alternatives. The common methods of heating a home are with an oil furnace, gas heater or hot water boiler. These units require fuel fill-ups on a regular basis and in some cases electricity usage to keep the heater's motor running. So factor in both of these costs when you're deciding if a space heater is advantageous financially.

    Energy Usage

    Whether using a space heater will save you money depends on the area of the home you need to heat, costs and the amount of time each day you plan to run the unit. A large, 1,440-watt space heater uses about 1071 kwh per month if you run it for 24 hours a day for 31 days out of the month. At a rate of 15 cents per kwh you'll pay about $161 per month for that one heater. Compare this cost to what you pay currently for your heating unit. For instance, if you pay $300 to fill up your oil heater every month along with $70 per month extra on your electric bill due to the operation of the heater, using two large space heaters at $322 in electric costs would save you about $48 per month in this example ($370 – $322).

    Considerations

    Keep a few considerations in mind as you decide if buying space heaters will benefit you financially. Obviously, the money-saving benefits depend on the cost of electricity in your specific area. Also, if you have a very small home with one floor and only a few main rooms, it could save you money, but if you have a multi-floor home with many rooms you'll have to buy many units, which multiplies your costs. Also, you can always practice energy conserving activities with a space heater to save money. For instance, you can turn off the heater when you're not home so it only runs for about 12-14 hours a day.

    About the Author

    Louise Balle has been writing Web articles since 2004, covering everything from business promotion to topics on beauty. Her work can be found on various websites. She has a small-business background and experience as a layout and graphics designer for Web and book projects.