Electric Heaters. What are the real costs to operate?

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.

This entry was posted in Energy Efficiency. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Electric Heaters. What are the real costs to operate?

  1. Joe Urban says:

    Need to know the real cost of Infrared Heater, ours or others, to compare to fuel oil. Normal year we use 600 gallons to heat our 1600 sq ft home in Midland, Michigan. Please help.

  2. sgibson says:

    Joe – I will give your information to our Energy Advisor and he will email you with his advice.

  3. Jason says:

    i have a 2500 SF house…. i have a wood stove that heats up most of it but 3 rooms roughly 900SF does not get heated due to location of them.. trying to not use my oil furnace due to we use roughly 1000 gallons a year… how much would electric cost to heat it.

  4. Jeff Miles says:

    I saw a Lifesmart infrared heater on one of the home shopping shows. Price was $150 and claimed it heated 2000 sq ft

    I have a ranch style house that is 2800 sq ft. I’m single and work during the day so I turn the heat down to 55 degrees when I’m not home.

    I live in the Detroit Michigan area and we’re having a cold winter. Would it be more economical to use an infrared heater or use my 2 gas fired furnaces?

    Thanks for your advice

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>