Last updated: January 13, 2023.
See how much you can expect to pay per hour, week, and month in the US, UK, and 24 other countries. And get 7 tips to keep your running costs low.
With the months getting cooler, let’s take a look at how much it costs to run an electric heater, and how you can keep your costs and carbon footprint to a minimum.
So how much does it actually cost to run an electric heater?
In the US, the average cost to run a typical 1,500W electric heater is $0.20 per hour, $6.83 per week (at 5hrs per day) and $29.25 per month (at 5hrs per day for 30 days).
This cost will vary due to a number of factors, including electric heater type. Check out the table below to get the cost of running various electric heaters in the US.
In the UK, the average cost to run a standard 1,500W electric heater is £0.26 per hour, £8.93 per week (at 5hrs per day) and £38.25 per month (at 5hrs per day for 30 days).
Again, this cost will vary by heater type, etc., so be sure to use the table below to get a breakdown of average costs in the UK for your specific electric heater.
However, if you want a more exact figure let’s look at how you can calculate the cost of running your own electric heater.
- Electric heater cost calculation
- Electric heater cost to run per hour, week and month in the US
- Electric heater cost to run per hour, week and month in the UK
- Electric heater costs by country
- How to reduce the cost of running an electric heater
- Final thoughts
Electric heater cost calculation
To calculate the cost to run your electric heater using your electricity price plan, you need:
1. Your heater’s wattage (e.g. 1,500W).
2. The rate you pay per unit (kWh) of electricity (e.g. $0.14).
Using that information, you just need to work through this calculation:
Watts / 1,000 = kWh (e.g. 1,500 / 1,000 = 1.5kWh)
kWh x unit rate = Cost per hour (e.g. 1.5kWh x $0.14 = 21 cents per hour)
So, as you can see in the example, on an electricity plan with a unit price of 14 cents, running a 1,500W electric heater, you’ll pay 21 cents per hour of use.
If you don’t know your unit rate or you just don’t feel like doing the calculation to get your specific costs, the below tables will give you a good sense of the costs that you can expect.
Electric heater cost to run per hour, week and month in the US
The table below gives a breakdown of how much it costs to run various types of electric heaters over various periods of time.
In the US, the average cost per unit of electricity is 13 cents (according to Statista). Using this rate, the typical power consumption of the various heaters, an estimated number of hours in use, and the formula above, we can work out how much you can expect to pay for running various standard electric heaters.
|Electric Heater Type||Typical Consumption in Watts||Cost Per Hour (13c per kWh)||Cost Per Week (5hrs p/d)||Cost Per Month (at 5hrs p/d for 30 days)|
|Space Heater / Fan Heater||1,500||$0.20||$6.83||$29.25|
|Towel Warmer Rack||150||$0.02||$0.68||$2.93|
The power consumption of electric heaters vary widely. Many heaters even have different modes that change their own amount of consumption. Above, I’ve used the typical power consumption of each device to give you an idea of how much you can expect to pay in general, in the US.
And as you can see, the cost builds up significantly. To help you reduce the costs, and your carbon footprint, continue reading to get 7 ways to reduce the cost of running your electric heater.
But first, let’s check out how the average US cost compares with the average UK cost.
Electric heater cost to run per hour, week and month in the UK
The average price of a unit of electricity in the UK is a lot higher than the US.
On average, the price of one unit of electricity in the UK is 17p (approx. 33 cents). See the breakdown of average costs over the same period of time and for each electric heater, in the table below.
|Electric Heater Type||Typical Consumption in Watts||Cost Per Hour (17p per kWh)||Cost Per Week (5hrs per day)||Cost Per Month (5hrs per day for 30 days)|
|Space Heater / Fan Heater||1,500||£0.26||£8.93||£38.25|
|Towel Warmer Rack||150||£0.03||£0.89||£3.83|
We can see that UK electricity consumers pay quite a bit more than in the US.
To get a more accurate comparison of costs, let’s compare the prices in USD for the UK and the US, and let’s include another 22 other countries.
Electric heater costs by country
Using the average cost of one unit of electricity (again, according to Statista), let’s take a look at how much it costs to run an electric heater in 24 different countries.
Prices are in USD to give us an idea of how the costs compare. The table is ordered from most expensive to least expensive.
|Country||Average Cost Per Hour (1,500W heater)||Average Cost Per Month (5hrs p/d for 30 days)|
Out of the 24, the US is the 7th cheapest country to run an electric heater, while the UK is the 8th most expensive.
At $0.12 per hour, China and India are the cheapest countries to run a standard 1,500W electric heater.
Topping the table is Germany at $0.50 (approx. €0.42) per hour, followed by Belgium ($0.42 / €0.36 per hour) and then Italy ($0.41 / €0.35 per hour).
While the hourly costs appear manageable, the monthly expense gets a lot more substantial. It’s easy to see why electricity bills in winter months are especially chilling.
So with this in mind, let’s take a look at ways that you can reduce electricity costs.
How to reduce the cost of running an electric heater
Electric heaters are notorious for being energy guzzlers. But there are ways that you can counter this. Below, I’ve listed 7 tips that you can use to reduce your electricity costs while minimizing your electric heater carbon footprint.
7 ways to reduce the cost of running your electric heater
- Use a timer. We’ve all been there. We’ve all wasted money and electricity by forgetting to turn an appliance off. Many electric heaters have built in timers so you can set the heater to turn off automatically. For heaters without timers, a socket timer can come in handy. Alternatively, if you want to essentially make your heater a smart heater, check out this Smart Plug (it even works with Alexa for voice control).
- Stop drafts. The Environmental Protection Agency notes that people can save 15% on heating and cooling by preventing drafts and insulating their home. Air leaks are common around windows and doors. A quick and easy fix for windows is window draft excluder tape. Door drafts can quickly be minimized using fixed draft stoppers or handy drop sweeps.
- Use the right electric heater. Unnecessarily powerful heaters, and heaters that use a lot less electricity can, in many cases, have the same effect on room temperature. A key difference is that your bills and carbon footprint will be higher when using unsuited heaters. Different electric heaters are suitable for different situations, so be sure to choose the right heater for the room. Infrared / radiant heaters warm up nearby people and objects directly, which works well for outdoor areas or in garages with significant air leakage. For bathrooms, a standard electric towel rack may be sufficient, while a small room could get enough heat from an electric radiator. A more powerful space heater with a strong airflow suits larger rooms that will be occupied for long periods of time.
- Take advantage of night rates, if applicable. Storage heaters are notorious energy guzzlers within an energy guzzling appliance category. However, modern storage heaters are more efficient and smarter than ever. If you pay less at off-peak hours, typically from 9pm to 7am, and you regularly use electric heaters during the period surrounding this time, a storage heater could be something to consider. Usually electricity providers offer substantial unit discounts during off-peak hours.
- Consider switching electricity provider. If you’re out of contract with your provider, one of the quickest ways to reduce your electricity costs is to switch. Getting a better unit rate can easily, and quickly have a substantial impact on your bills.
- Don’t overheat. To help control the heat output, and therefore costs of your appliance, be vigilant and monitor room temperature. Use a thermostat if available, and keep your power output setting to a minimum.
- Finally, it goes without saying, use your electric heater less. This is the most effective way of reducing costs, and your carbon footprint. Consider wearing warmer clothes, and use alternative heat sources if they’re already available, like leaving your oven door open after use.
Bonus tip: if you have a ceiling fan, run it clockwise in winter. This helps create an updraft that helps move warm air around the room. This alone might provide sufficient warmth some days. Consider running your heater on low along with a ceiling fan on colder days. This may circulate sufficient heat throughout the room.
Related: Heat Pump With The Highest HSPF Revealed [2,126 Units Studied].
Electric heaters are notorious energy guzzlers. As you can see, their costs throughout the weeks, and months add up very quickly.
Electric heaters are more environmentally friendly compared to fossil fuel burning furnaces and boilers. However, given that 63% of electricity generation in the US is from fossil fuels, electric heaters have a substantial environmental impact.
Running 1 electric heater for 5 hours per day for 30 days, like in our example, is equivalent to driving nearly 400 miles in an average passenger vehicle.
While there are obviously times when electric heaters are needed, there are also steps that you can take to minimize the impact on the environment and your wallet. It’s a win-win, so be sure to implement the energy saving tips above.
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James, Eco Cost Savings co-founder and Editor-in-Chief, is also our experienced in-house energy management and sustainability expert, and manager of our network of sustainability consultants.
Before his journey into sustainability, James studied engineering. Additionally, he has experience in HVAC installation, and data analysis. A self-proclaimed practical environmentalist, and avid penny pincher, James established Eco Cost Savings to share his and his colleague’s expertise with the aim of helping to reduce energy bills and carbon footprints at scale.