Are Space Heaters Dangerous Or Expensive To Operate?


space-heatersA modern electric space heater is a great way to warm a small space without having to crank the heat up in the whole house. Space heaters are extremely useful and convenient, and when they’re used right, they can be cost savers and can make your home more comfortable and safer.

However, if you have heard stories about space heaters causing fires and Carbon Monoxide poisoning or being blamed for astronomical electric bills, you understand that they can indeed be dangerous and expensive to operate.

Space heaters can cause CO poisoning

Not all space heaters are electric. If you have a heater that uses gas or burns some other type of fuel, do not use it in enclosed spaces. Such heaters work well on patios and in transition areas between the indoors and outdoors, but they emit Carbon Monoxide, a deadly gas that’s colorless and odorless. Using that type of heater indoors traps the gases in a closed space and could result in CO poisoning.

Space heaters can cause burns and fires

Most space heaters grow hot to the touch and can burn people who make physical contact with them. They’re also known for catching fabrics aflame when they’re set too close to curtains, beds and other furniture. It’s important to keep all types of space heaters away from fabrics and from areas where people could easily bump into them.

Space heaters can be expensive to operate

It takes a lot of power to create heat. The more heat your space heater produces, the more electricity it draws. Whatever wattage your space heater draws equates directly to the power it uses.

So, multiply your space heater’s wattage by the amount of time you use it to get the kilowatt hours your space heater demands. Then multiply the kilowatt hours by the rate your utility company charges. Colorado Springs Utilities and Xcel Energy both charge about 10 cents per kilowatt hour. That means it will cost about $3.60 to run a 1,500-watt space heater for a full day.

That might not sound so bad. But that’s $25 a week and more than $100 a month just to heat a small space. If you use a space heater here and there, it can be an economical way to avoid heating your whole home. But if you have one running all the time, there’s a better way.

Get help heating your home

If you need a space heater, you could have poor insulation in your home or a poorly functioning furnace. Contact the Energy Resource Center. We perform free home energy audits and improvements for income-qualified families in the Denver Metro area, the Pikes Peak Region and the San Luis Valley.

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