The True Cost of Heating with Electricity

Portable Space Heaters

Zone heating is what portable electric heaters were designed to do. If a portable heater is used in one area and the thermostat for the main heating system is lowered, energy savings could be possible. However, if a portable heater is used in one room and the main heating system also is running, savings are not likely to be achieved.

Additionally, to achieve savings a portable heater must operate with a thermostat so it doesn’t run continually. Heaters with multiple output settings let you choose the lowest setting that keeps a room comfortable.

Know your operating costs

So, how much will an electric space heater cost to operate? You can use the following formula to calculate how much it will cost to operate a 1,500-watt space heater (or any other electric equipment):

Watts x hours of use ÷ 1,000 x cost per kilowatt-hour = cost of operation

This means that if a 1,500-watt heater ran 24-hours at a rate of 11 cents a kilowatt-hour, the cost would be $3.96 a day (1,500 x 24 ÷ 1,000 x $0.11). For a month that would amount to $118.80 added to the electric bill of the average customer.

The ‘My Account’ graphic below is actual usage from an actual customer using a Space Heater.  Can you guess which days they were using the Space Heater?

If you would like to view your daily usage, sign up today for NLRED’s My Account.

Heat Pumps and Electric Resistance Strip Furnaces

Electric resistant strip furnaces, mostly found in apartments and rental property, are usually inexpensive to buy and are installed in homes where gas may not be present.   The furnace uses electricity to heat up strips which air is then blown across and distributed throughout your duct system by the blower fan. It’s basically like a giant space heater tied to your ductwork and just as inefficient.   Baseboard heaters are also a form of electric resistance heating.   If electricity is the only option for your home, there is actually an efficient option on the market called a heat pump.

Heat pumps are the most energy efficient way to heat a home with electricity.   Heat pumps can cool the home in the summer just like a normal outside A/C unit and looks very similar.   An air source heat pump takes the heat from the inside air in the summer (like a normal A/C unit), but does the opposite in the winter by taking the heat from the outside air and using it to heat your home. This has proven to be a very efficient way to heat your home with electricity. The only problem with a heat pump is when the temperature gets so cold outside that it can’t retrieve enough heat from the outside air, then it has to rely on the emergency heat from an electric resistance strip furnace, just like the ones mentioned above.   Heat Pump manufacturers are constantly improving the efficiency of their products and their ability to remove heat from even colder temperatures than before.

If you have more questions about electric resistance furnaces or about how its use will affect your electric bill, please use the form below to schedule your FREE Home Energy Evaluation.