You’ve seen the commercials where space heaters are promoted as the amazing machine that will help you save money on your heating bills. What is the cost to run a space heater? The total cost to operate this type of heating system will vary depending on a couple of factors. Prior to purchasing a space heater, we want you to know the truth about space heaters vs central heat. Continue reading to learn more about the cost to run a space heater.
Table of Contents
Space Heaters vs Central Heat Cost
Energy is measured differently for gas (therm) vs electric (kilowatt hours), so we need to come up with a benchmark and compare the two. According to the University of Maine the best way to compare different fuel costs for heating is to calculate them down to the same unit which is British Thermal Units, or BTU’s. The University of Maine created a formula where you can plug in the cost of fuel, the efficiency of your heating system, and amount of energy contained in the fuel. The resulting information gives you the cost per 1,000,000 BTUs of heat energy. Since the average home requires 50,000,000 to 150,000,000 BTUs of heat each winter, we are able to compare the space heaters vs central heat costs.
The Cost to Run a Space Heater
To give your space heater the best chance, we are going to assume it has an efficiency of 100%, which isn’t that far off. Many space heaters are upwards of 95 to 99% efficient. Do space heaters save money? The average cost of electricity in New Jersey during 2015 was 19.8 cents per kilowatt hour. When we plugged those numbers into the formula from the University of Maine, we concluded that the total cost to run a space heater is $58 per million BTU’s of heat. Remember that number.
The Cost of Operating a Furnace
We are going to assume that your furnace has an efficiency of 78%. There are much more efficient furnaces, but we are going to go with an average. The average cost of natural gas in New Jersey was $0.951 per therm. After plugging in the numbers, it costs $12.2 per million BTU’s when you use your furnace. Do space heaters save money? When analyzing the space heaters vs central heat costs, the furnace wins. It is four times less expensive to use your furnace.
When the Space Heater Works
There is a special time and place where a space heater can reduce your energy bill and save you money. If you want to heat only one room in your home, your space heater is going to become very efficient, but in order to save money, you will need to turn the temperature down for your entire home. That means if you will be spending most of the day in one room, and you turn down the temperature for the rest of your home, your space heater will save you money on your energy bill.
In any other scenario of heating your home, it is better to use your central natural gas furnace. Do you need assistance with a heating project? Our team offers HVAC services such as furnace repair, furnace installation, ductless mini split installation, furnace tune-up, and emergency heating repair. We also offers a variety of electrical repair services for homeowners in New Jersey. Give us a call by phone at (732) 201-3305 to receive assistance in areas such as Old Bridge and Trenton.