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.
27 thoughts on “How Much Does It Cost To Run An Electric Heater? (1500 Watt)”
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.
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.
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.
Great help. My oil furnace died about the time oil got pretty expensive.
I’ve been using my wood burner since. The rest of the families gone. It’s only me.
In winter I’m in one room most of the time. I use a space heater if I go to another room while I’m there.
My main house is a 200 year old log cabin. My wood burner works fantastic.
Thank you. I learned so much in your article.
Hi I have a 1500 watt space heater that I may use 12 hrs for that day a few days out the week and my electric bill is over 200.00??? Georgia Power says this is normal
Hello Vanessa, if you would use a 1500W space heater for 12h every day at 100% output (not just a few days), you will burn 480 kWh of electricity. The average US national cost of electricity is $0.1319/kWh; that would yield a monthly electric bill of $63.31. Over $200 in your situation seems like a very exaggerated figure.
I have an electric fireplace I have to use in my room, which is a converted garage that is not insulated, so it gets very cold. It is 5,000 btu’s with 1500 watts. I live with family and am being told not to use it because it’s costing hundreds of dollars to run. I use it to get the chill off of the room. I set it at 80 degrees because it gets cold almost right away when it goes off at anything lower. It doesn’t run constantly, but goes on when it needs to in order to keep me comfortable. I have nerve pain that is aggrevated by the cold. Is this really costing them hundreds every month or not.
Hello Liz, we can make some calculation to see how much does it cost to run a 1,500W electric heater per month. If you run it at 100% output, you will spend 1.5 kWh of electricity every hour. With average US national cost of electricity being $0.1319/kWh, that costs you about 20 cents per hour. Now, the real question is how many hours per month do you run the electric furnace.
If you run it for 8h/day, that’s 240h/month, 360 kWh/h, and the average cost is $47.48/month.
If you run it for 1h/day, that will cost you $5.94/month.
If you run it 24h/day, that will cost you $142.45/month. That’s the absolute highest cost (given average kWh cost).
In short, running an electric fireplace doesn’t cost hundreds of dollars per month. Hope this helps.
How can I figure out how much it cost for the month to run a electric heater A friend is staying with me & he is responsible to pay for the use of the electric heater in his room My light bill is usually no higher than $110.00 a month This month it was $187.00 So how much would he owe me since Idk how many hours
Hello Kathy, if you go by electricity bill alone, the difference is $77.00. If you have a 1,500W heater and run it for 8 hours per day at 100% output, you will spend about 360 kWh worth of electricity. If the price of electricity in your area is say $0.20 per kWh, that’s $72.00 in total. These numbers match quite well. Hope this helps.
I am considering replacing my old gas furnace with electric heaters. How many watts would I need for each sq ft of my home? Would it be less per sq ft for the main floor where the kitchen, dining and living rooms are more open and connected than it would for the individual bedrooms upstairs? Do I also calculate the sq footage of the hallways when calculating the size of heaters I would need? Are baseboard heaters or wall based fan heaters better?
Hello Judy, the best thing would be to get the number of electric heaters that generate the same amount of heat as your old gas furnace. An average 1,500W electric heater can generate about 5,100 BTU of heating output. Most electric baseboard heaters here also provide about 5,000 BTU of heating output. Now, if you had a 50,000 BTU gas furnace, you should get about 10 electric heaters. The best thing to do is just buy 5 of them, and see how many more you need based on how hot/cold your home gets.
On average, you would need about 30 BTU per sq ft for heating (that’s 0.0033 BTU per sq ft). That means that a 1,500W electric heater (5,100 BTU/hr) will adequately cover about 170 sq ft. Hope all of this helps you a bit.
How can I calculate the difference in cost between running an electric heater versus an infrared heater versus a propane gas fireplace to the same level of comfort for the same amount of time?
Hello Bob, well, you can think of it this way: Heaters powered by electricity are 100% efficient. 1,500W electric and infrared heater produce about 5,200 BTU. Propane gas fireplace uses propane; you usually have 5,000 BTU fireplaces. Now, a 5,200 BTU electric heater produces about the same amount of heat as a 5,000 BTU fireplace.
The real question is how much all that costs. A 1,500W heater (infrared or electric) will burn 1.5 kWh of electricity when running at 100% output producing 5,200 BTU. 1.5 kWh of electricity costs about $0.20 (average kWh price is $0.1319/kWh).
1 gallon of propane contains 91,500 BTU. It burns at near 100% efficiency. That means you need about 1/20 gallon of propane to produce about 5,000 BTU. How much does 1/20 gallon of propane cost? You can check the propane cost in your area. It usually costs about $2.50. 1/20 of a gallon thus costs $0.125. That’s $0.075 or about 37.5% less than electricity for the same heating output.
If you follow this logic, you can use your kWh and propane cost (in your area) and adequately calculate electric vs propane heating costs. Hope this helps.
Thank you – this helps me a lot! 😊
3 phase heater 30k watts running for 8 hrs. a day 7 days a week what would it cost? it is for commercial use.
Hi Sam, alright, a 30 kW heater running at 100% output will consume 30 kWh of electricity per hour. 8 hours per day, 7 days a week, is 56 hours. So you are looking to pay for 30 kWh/h × 56h = 1680 kWh in total. If we take the average US electricity price of $0.1319 per kWh, that’s $221.59. Hope this helps.
Just bought a hanging garage heater. It has settings for 5000W,4000w and 3000w.
I know that the 3000 and 4000 will have to run longer than the 5000 to reach thermostat setting. I also know that the 3000 and 4000 will heat my garage. So which setting would be the cheapist to run?
Hi Steve, the important thing to understand here is that electricity is about 100% efficient. That means all of the watts will be converted to heating BTUs. The cheapest to run per hour would be a 3000W setting (about $0.45/h); however, it will need longer to reach the thermostat setting than the 5000W (about $0.75/hour). Running the garage heater for 1 hour on 5000W will produce the same amount of heat as running the same garage heater for 1.6 hours on 3000W; the cost will be the same.
Here’s how it’s best to use these garage heaters:
1.) Start with the 5000W setting in order to heat up the garage quickly.
2.) Once you get to the desired temperature, run it on 3000W just to sustain that temperature. If that is not sufficient, switch to 4000W. If you see the temperature rising, you can just turn off the heat for some time.
Adjustable thermostats do this automatically. Hope this helps.
Exceptional site! Our property runs 6 1500W Heaters for about 8 hours each. Our rate is high in Colorado .1601 per kWh so-
1.5x .1601=.24 per hour
8×30=240hrs x 1.92=57.60 per month per heater. Correct??
Hi Denise, your calculation is superb! That’s exactly the right number. Basically, a 1500W heater will spend 1.5 kWh per hour. If you run it for 8 hours × 30 days = 240 hours per month, one heater will use 360 kWh of electricity. All 6 of them will use 2160 kWh of electricity. Using that Colorado price of electricity (2160 kWh × $0.1601/kWh = $345.82), all 6 heaters cost $345.82/month to run, and that’s $57.64 per heater (accurate to the cent). Well done on the calculations. 🙂
How do you calculate the cost difference between a 1500w heater ran with 110v and a 1500w with 220v ? ( $0.133kWh) Thanks
Hi Ronald, there is no cost difference between these two heaters. Namely, the wattage is important; a 1500W heater (be it on 110V or 220V) will spend 1.5 kWh per hour. Voltage doesn’t matter here; with half the voltage (110V), you will need to double the amps to get the same 1500W wattage. Hope this helps.
Thank You . I heard once that an “electric meter” reads the highest leg , so we should always “balance” our panel, and it would cheaper running 50% load / 50% load, compared to 80% / 20% . Thank You for your Service !