"Do space heaters save money" is a common question this time of year — and it's an important one to ask. Preparing for our favorite cold-weather holidays is sure to put a strain on our bank accounts, so saving a few extra bucks on our heating bill each month could surely help make the season a little bit more merry. The short answer to whether space heaters save money is yes, but only if you keep these other factors in mind.
To save money with a space heater, you can't try to warm every room in your house. Not only would this be wildly inefficient compared to using central heat, but it could also end up costing you more money in the long run. If you want to save money, you need to be OK with using a space heater to warm only the room you're in. Yes, the rest of the house will get chillier, but if you're rarely in the guest bedroom, there's no need to spend money heating it.
The caveat here is that the amount you save also depends on factors like how big your room is, how closed off it is from the rest of the house, and the type of insulation inside your house. If your master bedroom has 12-foot ceilings and there's no door between it and the master bathroom, it'll take more time (and as a result more energy) to warm it up. Also, if you crank up the heat to sauna levels, you're probably better off just using central heat to get your entire house to a more reasonable temperature.
How to Find the Best Space Heater
There are two types of space heaters, and they're ideal for different scenarios. First, you have the radiant heater, which warms things directly in its path, like your feet or a bed. Next, there's the convection heater, which is better for heating entire rooms. Convection and radiant heaters are roughly the same price, so you have to figure out which type works best for your needs.
Another figure to pay attention to is your space heater's wattage. The higher the wattage, the faster it should heat a room — and the more expensive it is. If you only need to heat a small room, like a home office, you can probably save a bit by going for a model with a lower wattage.
Of course, if your house isn't properly insulated, all your hard work researching to find the best space heater and all the money you spend on a new model will be for nothing. If you suspect your home is under-insulated, call a technician who can verify this for you. Depending on what he or she finds, there are easy ways to insulate existing homes.
Before we leave you, we have a word of warning: Space heaters are a fire hazard. To ensure you don't accidentally start a blaze, follow the safety instructions that come with your heater and never — we repeat, never — plug your space heater into a power strip.