Do Space Heaters Save Money? Any Effect On Energy Bill

In winters, space heaters can be extremely important. While a central heating system can also serve the same purpose, it would require adequate maintenance from time to time. Furthermore, it will heat the entire house, while a space heater is suitable for small areas such as a single room. Space heaters are more energy-efficient than a central heater but not cost-effective when you have to use space heaters for more than one place.

A huge advantage of a space heater is that it is portable, so you can put it anywhere you want. It comes in different sizes, shapes, and wattages, so you can choose one according to your room’s size and other requirements.

Do Space Heaters Affect Energy Bills?

When we talk about space heaters affecting energy bills, there are a lot of factors you need to consider. For example, the usage of the device, the type of device, the structure of the house, the size of the equipment and room, and the energy-efficiency of the device can determine what kind of effect the space heater will have on the bill.

Usage Time

The duration of the usage of the device is the main factor behind increasing or decreasing your energy bills. If you are using the unit for a limited period in a day, it won’t cost you much, but if the device has been working throughout the day, it will cost you more.

Type of Space Heater

The kind of space heater you own also has a significant impact. Combustion heaters run on fuel, which means you will need to spend on natural gas or propane, while for convection and radiative heaters, you need electricity.

Energy Efficiency of the Space Heater

Energy-efficient heaters take less time to heat the room. Hence, you won’t have to use it for too long and can save money on energy bills.


The wattage of the heater is another factor you should look into before buying. The exact wattage required will depend on your needs. If you want a heater for a small area or room, a heater with a lower wattage would be fine for you. Similarly, if you want a heater for a bigger room, higher wattage would work. The thing to remember here is that the higher the wattage, the higher your energy bills.


The size of the area that requires heating and the capacity of the heater may also affect the cost of your energy bills. If you have the right size of heater for a specific room or area, you may be able to save on energy bills as the room will be heated quickly.

Insulated House

If you own a convection heater, your home must be properly insulated so that the heat can be retained. If your home is not insulated, you will have to use the device throughout the day, which will cost you more. However, radiative heaters don’t require insulation as they directly heat bodies and objects.

Structure of House

The structure of the house also has an impact on the usage of the heater and, consequently, the energy bills. A big room would need more time to be heated and will cost you more. If it is a double-story house, you will need more units for every room. Space heaters work best only if you have small rooms.

How Do Space Heaters Work?

Space heaters work according to their types. Convection heaters warm the air in the room, while radiative heaters heat objects rather than the air. There is a heating element in every heater, which is activated by setting the temperature through the control panel.

Convection heaters usually warm the air to the level required and when the thermostat senses the required temperature has been reached, the heating element is shut down. It starts again when the temperature drops.

Similarly, for radiative heaters, the heating element emits radiation, which turns to heat upon touching the absorbing surface and directly warms objects.

How Heating System Works
Photo Credits: Energy.Gov

Types of Space Heaters

There are several different types of space heaters. All of them can get the job done but for different requirements. Following are the most common types of space heaters:

Fuel or Combustion Space Heaters

As the name suggests, these heaters need fuel for combustion such as gas, propane, kerosene or wood. They are suitable if you have ample space. You should keep in mind that these heaters emit carbon monoxide which can be very poisonous. Due to this, you should install a flue permanently so that these harmful gases do not accumulate and can find a place to escape.

Infrared or Radiative Space Heaters

In radiative or infrared space heaters, the heat is produced through a conductive wire which gets very hot when electricity passes through it. This heated conductive wire then emits infrared rays, which directly transfer the heat to objects or bodies placed in front of the heater. That’s why they are also known as a personal space heater.

Convection Space Heaters

Convection heaters mostly have metallic or ceramic heating elements. These elements become very hot when electricity passes through them. This process is known as Joule heating. This heat is then transferred to air either by a fan or without a fan. If you have proper insulation, these heaters will work pretty well for you as even after turning them off, you would still be able to feel the warmth.

With a Fan

Convection space heaters with a fan can warm up the room more quickly than those without. The fan helps spread the heat evenly around the room. Such heaters are popular as well because heating elements and a fan do not take too much space.

Without a Fan

Convection heaters without a fan work slowly as the heating element is surrounded by oil or water which takes time to heat up. The heating element is first warmed due to electricity and then, this heat is transferred to the oil or water. When this becomes hot, the temperature in the surrounding area starts to rise. These heaters have a long-lasting effect because of the melted fuel.


Space heaters can help you save money, but you have to be smart about it. Consider all the factors that will affect the energy bills. If you have the right kind of space heater according to your room size, it can save you a lot of money.

Each kind of heater serves the purpose according to different scenarios. If you consider the factors mentioned above before buying a heater, you will notice a huge difference in your monthly bills.

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