Space heaters: What you need to know

Posted on Jan 02 2024 in Boone REMC

If you shiver when walking into particular areas of your home, you may have considered an electric space heater to warm up the area.

When used properly, electric space heaters can temporarily and effectively heat certain parts of your home. Yet many people mistakenly believe using space heaters requires less energy than setting the thermostat to a higher setting. In fact, a lot of our high bill complaints in the winter involve people running electric space heaters.

Space heaters are not energy efficient.

ENERGY STAR, which provides energy efficiency information and labels appliances meeting certain energy efficiency requirements, states on its website that it has no plans to label any model in the near future.

They are unlikely to save you money if you use them as a primary heating source.

An electric space heater is small but uses a lot of energy. A 1,500-watt heater running for eight hours each night for a month can add about $43 to your electric bill. Running multiple space heaters can run up your energy costs.

Space heaters should only be used when you are in the same space. They should be used to heat a specific area and should be used sparingly (when you are in the same space and you need to warm up). If you do choose to use a portable electric space heater, make sure to properly follow directions to ensure safe operation, as it can pose a fire hazard if used improperly.

Consider air sealing and adding insulation if your home is drafty.

If your home feels chilly, you may want to check that it is properly air-sealed and insulated. Proper air sealing and insulation will keep more conditioned air in your home, lowering your long-term energy costs and keeping you comfortable.

Maintain — and maybe upgrade — your heating system.

Your HVAC system needs good air flow to operate efficiently. Look at the manufacturer’s recommendations on how often to change the filter, but it’s good practice to check the filter every 30 days and replace it if it’s dirty.

If your system is having a difficult time keeping up with the needs of your household, even after you’ve sealed and insulated your home, it may need a little more attention. An inspection can help determine if there are any other problems you might not be able to see.

Maybe you need to take things a step further with a system upgrade. Heating and cooling systems can make up as much as 50% of your energy budget; an old or inefficient system could be wasting energy you don’t even know about. Be sure to check out our available rebates at