Mississippians switching on space heaters for a boost of warm air. These small appliances can make those power bills hot, too.

Published 10:40 pm Tuesday, January 16, 2024

While the winter season brings frigid temperatures, it can also bring higher-than-average electric bills. It’s no secret that it can be costly to heat a home, but many times, consumers are unknowingly raising the price of their electric bill by using a common household item – a space heater.

While they may be small in size, space heaters can make a very large impact on your electric energy consumption. Space heaters are designed to heat a small area for a short period of time. When used correctly, they can be beneficial.

Maybe you need a little extra heat in your bathroom while you get ready in the morning or need to warm your toes after coming in from the cold. Those are practical times to quickly heat a small area to bring yourself comfort.

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What isn’t practical is using a space heater or multiple space heaters to heat your home for an extended period of time. Space heaters are not more cost-effective than using an energy-efficient heating system, like a heat pump.

One 1,500-watt space heater could potentially cost a consumer $4 a day if run for 24 hours. That doesn’t sound like much until you do the math. One space heater alone, running solid for a month, could cost you $120 on your monthly electric bill. Imagine what your bill would look like if you were using multiple space heaters.

Before turning to space heaters to solve heating issues, try to address the problem. Where is the cold air coming from? Caulking or weather-stripping your home are cost-effective ways to save money during the winter months. By sealing all areas that allow cold air to seep in or warm air to escape, you may improve the efficiency of your central heating system so it can adequately heat your home. Also, make sure to have your heating unit serviced annually to ensure that it is working properly.

Lastly, keep in mind that space heaters can also be dangerous. According to the National Fire Protection Association Website, space heaters account for 43 percent of U.S. home heating fires and 85 percent of associated deaths. If you choose to use a space heater in your home, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and precautions to ensure that they’re used safely.

– Dixie Electric Power Association, Laurel