How Much Does It Cost To Run An Electric Heater? (1,500W Example)

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 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 1,500-watt electric heater per hour (or per day, week, month). Pretty much everybody can do it.

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 1,500-watt electric space heater will cost;

  • $0.20 to run per hour.
  • $4.80 to run per 24 hours (day).
  • $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:

  1. Heater wattage. Basically 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 1,000W – 5,000W).
  2. 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).

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


Price Of Electricity Per Running Hour


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 5,00W – 5,000W Electric Heater (Table)

Electric Heater Wattage: Running Cost (Per Hour) Running Cost (For 24 Hours)
500 Watts $0.07 $1.68
750 Watts $0.10 $2.40
1,000 Watts $0.13 $3.12
1,250 Watts $0.17 $4.08
1,500 Watts $0.20 $4.80
2,000 Watts $0.26 $6.24
3,000 Watts $0.40 $9.60
4,000 Watts $0.53 $12.72
5,000 Watts $0.66 $15.84

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 1,500 W electric space heater costs about as much to run as a washing machine. That’s because an average washing machine also uses 1,500 W of electricity.

How to get from ‘1,500 watts electric heater’ to ‘it costs $0.20 per running hour’?

Let’s calculate this step-by-step:

  1. 1,500W heater will consume 1,500 watts of electricity. Simple.
  2. If you run it for 1 hour, it will consume 1.5 kWh of electricity.
  3. Price of electricity is let’s say $0.1319 per kWh.
  4. That means that such a heater consumes 1.5 kW * $0.1319 per kWh = $0.20 worth of electricity every hour.
  5. In 24h, such a heater will consume 1.5 kW * 24h = 36 kWh of electricity.
  6. 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 how 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:

how much electricity does a 5000 watt heater use per hour

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.

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 1,500 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 1,500W 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 1,500W 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.

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.

6 thoughts on “How Much Does It Cost To Run An Electric Heater? (1,500W Example)”

  1. in general, is it more economical to leave an electrical baseboard heater thermostat at 65 degrees all the time, or turn it off at night and back on in the morning? I assume that a baseboard heater thermostat will shutoff flow of electricity when the thermostat reaches its set temperature and will keep the electricity flow off until the room temperature falls below its set temperature. Is that downtime 10% of the time …. or 40% of the time … or more?

    • Hello Randy, it’s economically better to turn off the electric baseboard heater at night. The temperature during the night will drop but reaching the same set temperature in the morning will cost you less kWh than keeping it on throughout the night. The downtime depends on your insulation; when at a set temperature, an electric baseboard heater will maintain that temperature. Essentially, it will provide enough heat to match the heat loss; and heat loss mostly depends on how well your home is insulated.

  2. I just wanted to comment is that most of the oil filled heaters typically do not stay on full bore all the time, depending on the conditions of course.
    So the charts above while helpful can be a bit misleading as to the actual cost over a 24 hour Period/ Week/ Month. I will agree though that there is no way for the author to “guesstimate” what your actual cost will be as there are just TOO many variables involved

    • Hello Tim, that’s exactly right. In rare cases, the output is 100% all the time. But as you’ve correctly pointed out, the variable output when the set temperature is reached has too many variables to adequately estimate. Thank you for the input.

  3. My central heating doesn’t work in my apartment it works fine during the day and blows cold air at night that’s been going on for 2 years and I get no help
    So I bought 3 space heaters and run them only when I home 2 hours coming in from work turn off at bed time and 2 hours in the morning getting ready for work and maybe 5 hours on the weekends. How much will it cost me they are 1500 watts

    • Hello Melissa, sorry to hear about central heating. If I get this right, you run each of them for about 4 hours per day? That’s 12h per day (3 heaters). Adding 3×5 hours on Saturday and Sunday, that’s 30h. All in all, if you run them 90h per week. That’s 1,500W*90h = 135 kWh. Alright, if you’re electricity cost is the national average ($0.1319/kWh), the 1,500W heaters cost you $17.81 per week. Hope this helps.


Leave a comment