Do electric heaters use a lot of electricity?
Quite a lot, actually. Most space heaters run on electricity. The standard electric space heaters draw 1,500 watts and generate about 5,000 BTU of heating output. How much exactly does it cost to run an electric space heater? Do heaters use a lot of electricity and raise your electric bill?
It’s very easy to estimate how much does it cost to run a 1500-watt electric heater per hour (or per day, week, month). Pretty much everybody can do it. We have done it for the best infrared heaters article here, for example.
How much electricity does a space heater use? How much electricity does a 1500 watt heater use?
Example (you can use an electric heater running cost calculator below for different wattages/kWh prices): If we assume the price of electricity is $0.1319 per kWh, a 1500-watt electric space heater will cost;
- $0.20 to run per hour.
- $4.80 to run per 24 hours (day). Example: How much does it cost to run a 1500-watt heater for 24 hours? Simple. Such a heater consumes 36 kWh of electricity. Running a 1500-watt heater for 24 hours will cost $4.80.
- $11.20 to run per week (8h/day).
- $48.00 to run per month (8h/day).
We’ll show you how to calculate the estimated running cost of electric heaters with the following equation:
Heating Running Cost (per hour) = Power (W) * Price Of Electricity ($ per kWh) / 1,000
We’ll even solve examples of how much a 1,000W and a big 5,000W will raise your monthly bills. You will also find a running costs table that tells you how much does it cost to run a 500W – 5,000W eclectic heater per hour and per day.
Running cost of all electric space heaters depends on only two factors:
- Heater wattage. How many watts does a space heater use? Most space heaters use 1500 watts of electricity. This is basically a measure of how strong the heater is. The wattage or power input is listed on the specification sheet of every electric heater (under section ‘Power’ you will see 1000W – 5000W).
- Price of electricity in your area. In all our calculations we’ll use the US national average price of $0.1319 per kilowatt-hour. In some states, electricity is cheaper (below $0.10 per kWh; Louisiana, Montana, etc.) and in others like New York and California, it’s more expensive (above $0.15 per kWh). You can look at how different electricity prices ($0.05/kWh, $0.10/kWh, $0.15/kWh, $0.20/kWh, $0.25/kWh, $0.30/kWh, $0.35/kWh, $0.40/kWh, $0.45/kWh, $0.50/kWh, $0.55/kWh, $0.60/kWh) affect the cost of running a 1,500 watt heater for 8 hours, 24 hours, and per hour in our detailed analysis here.
Based on only these two factors, we can calculate exactly how much does it cost to run an electric space heater per hour. To simplify things, we can use the following electric heater running cost calculators. Just input the wattage and cost of electricity, and you’ll get how much your specific heater costs to run per hour:
Electric Heater Running Cost Calculator
Using this calculator we can calculate per hour and per 24 hours running costs of electric heaters with different wattages:
Per Hour And Per 24 Hours Cost Of Running A 500W – 5,000W Electric Heater (Table)
Here is how many watts do space heaters use and their corresponding running cost per hour and per day (24h):
|Electric Heater Wattage:||Running Cost (Per Hour)||Running Cost (For 24 Hours)|
Calculate How Much It Costs To Run A Space Heater Yourself
It’s rather easy to calculate the running costs all electric devices. Power input (wattage) and electricity costs are the only two factors in the electricity cost equation.
Example: A 1500 W electric space heater costs about as much to run as a washing machine. That’s because an average washing machine also uses 1500 W of electricity.
How to get from a ‘1500 watts electric heater’ to ‘it costs $0.20 per running hour’?
Let’s calculate this step-by-step:
- 1500W heater will consume 1500 watts of electricity. Simple.
- How much electric does a space heater use? If you run it for 1 hour, this space heater will consume 1.5 kWh of electricity per hour.
- Price of electricity is let’s say $0.1319 per kWh.
- That means that such a heater consumes 1.5 kW * $0.1319 per kWh = $0.20 worth of electricity every hour.
- In 24h, such a heater will consume 1.5 kW * 24h = 36 kWh of electricity.
- If you multiply 36 kWh with the price of electricity per kWh ($0.1319 per kWh) you see that it costs $4.80 worth of electricity per day.
In short, we can see that the 1,500W heater cost per hour is $0.20.
You can use a little bit of math to simplify this step-by-step process. Namely, you have to multiply wattage with the cost of electricity and running hours (and divide it by 1,000 to convert watts in kilowatts). Here’s what the electric space heater running cost equations looks like:
Heating Running Cost = Power (W) * Price Of Electricity ($ per kWh) * No. Of Running Hours / 1,000
We can use this equation to solve some examples. Here’s the simplest one:
Example 1: How Much Does It Cost To Run A 1,000 Watt Heater For 24 Hours?
It will be easiest to start with a 1,000W electric heater. Let’s first outline all the data we’ll later input into the heating running cost equation:
- Power = 1000W.
- Price of electricity = $0.1319 per kWh.
- No. of running hours = 24h.
Now we have all we need to calculate exactly how much does it cost to run a 1,000W heater for 24 hours:
Heating Running Cost = 1000W * $0.1319 per kWh * 24h / 1,000 = $3.17 per day
Note: You may notice that the running cost for a 1,000W electric heater in the table differs from our $3.17 per day consumption. That’s simply because of a rounding error of the results in the table above; $3.17 per day is an accurate calculation of how much electricity does a 1,000-watt electric space heater consume.
Example 2: How Much Does It Cost To Run A 5,000W Electric Heater?
Let’s look at a big 5,000W electric heater. If you apply the 1W = 3.41 BTU conversion, we can calculate that a 5,000W produces 17,050 BTU of heating output (given 100% energy efficiency). That’s quite a lot of heating output. How much does it cost to run such a 5k watt heater?
Heating Running Cost (Per Hour) = 5000W * $0.1319 per kWh / 1,000 = $0.66 per hour
You can also use the electricity calculator above to confirm this calculation:
In short, you have to spend $0.66 worth of electricity to power a 5,000W electric heater for one hour. Obviously, a 5,000W heater will spend 5 times as much electricity as a 1,000W heater.
Example 3: 2kW Heater Cost Per Hour
In the UK, 2kW heaters are quite popular. How much does it cost to run a 2kW heater per hour?
A 2kW heater will use 2 kWh worth of electricity every hour. According to Energy Switching, the average price of electricity in the UK in 2022 is 17.20p.
That means that a 2kW heater will cost 34.40 pence per hour to run.
How much does it cost to run a 2000 Watt heater for 24 hours in the US?
In the US, running a 2,000W heater will cost $0.26 per hour. That means that running a 2,000W heater for 24 hours will cost $6.24 per day.
How Much Does It Cost To Run A Space Heater Per Month?
Everybody is interested in how much will it cost to run a space heater per month. Do electric heaters raise electric bills?
Of course, they do. The relevant question here is ‘by how much?’.
Let’s say that we have a standard 1500 watts heater are run it all month, 24/7. How many hours is that? Well, every day has 24 hours, and there are 30 days in a month. That’s 720 running hours per month.
However, we don’t actually run space heaters all the time. On average, we run space heaters for about 8 hours per day. That translates to 240 running hours per month. Let’s look at the electricity expenditure for both cases.
Running 1500W heater 24 hours per day all month (theoretical example):
Heating Running Cost = 1500W * $0.1319 per kWh * 720h / 1,000 = $142.45 per month
Running 1500W heater 8 hours per day all month (practical example):
Heating Running Cost = 1500W * $0.1319 per kWh * 240h / 1,000 = $47.48 per month
Realistically, a 1,500W heater will raise your electricity bills by about $50 per month.
In the UK, for example, they sell 1p per hour electric heaters with the implied promise is that 1p per hour electric heaters only cost 1 penny per hour to run. That’s obviously impossible and the English are seeing about £60 higher monthly bills than they expect to pay given the 1p per hour running cost.
If you have any questions about how much electricity your electric heater consumes, you can use the electricity cost calculator above or use the comment section below (give us wattage, price per kWh) and we’ll try our best to help you out with the calculation.