Electric heaters, both infrared and simple electric strip varieties, will have a large impact on your electric usage. Most plug-in electric heaters that use a 115 volt circuit will have a maximum wattage of 1,500. A 1,500 watt heater will produce about 5,120 BTUs, which has the ability to heat a 12 by 12 insulated room in single digit weather.
A 1,500 watt heater running on the highest setting for an hour will cost about 17 cents at today’s electric rates. If it runs on the highest setting for an entire day, it could cost over $4.00. Over a 30 day billing period that one electric heater could cost you over $120.00. 1,500 watts is equivalent to 1.5 KW or if it runs for an hour it would be 1.5 KWH. This is how URE bills its members, by the amount of KWH used in a billing cycle.
It is important to remember that all electric heaters will produce an amount of heat equivalent to their wattage. Do not get misled by creative advertising. A 1,500 watt electric heater, whether it is infrared, electric, or some sort of ceramic storage, is going to cost the same for the same amount of heat generated.
Advertising that claims one infrared heater can heat an 800 square foot home would only be accurate if you’re living somewhere like Miami, Florida; not here in Ohio during the dead of winter. Many of these heaters have efficiency ratings that approach 100 percent. But don’t be misled, the efficiency is very high, however, the cost to operate this high efficiency heater is more expensive when compared to other heating options.
Additionally, spending $300 to$ 400 to purchase an electric heater, as opposed to a unit that costs only $20 to $40, will not save you any more money in operating costs. Heating an entire home, or even a room for an entire month, with electric strip heaters will be very expensive even though the equipment is very efficient.
Remember, your energy advisor, Paul Gillespie, is always available to help you better understand all of your energy efficiency questions. Feel free to stop by the office, give him a call, or schedule a FREE in home energy audit. URE is committed to helping you make the best use of your energy.