Using a portable electric space heater can be one of the most expensive ways to heat your home. At today's prices, electric heat costs about five times as much
per BTU as natural gas. You will not save money using an electric space heater unless you turn your central heating system down several degrees and use a space heater to warm just a small area.
Cost to use
For any electrical device, the cost per hour of use depends on the wattage of the equipment.
Check out a portable energy meter at no charge from your local library to measure how much electricity your portable space heater uses.
Safety is most important
All electric space heaters carry a safety risk. For your safety, when using a space heater, please follow these guidelines:
- Turn off when not in the room or when sleeping.
- Only buy a unit with a tip-over safety switch, which automatically shuts off the heater if the unit is tipped over.
- Avoid contact with the heating element in an electric heater. Fabric can catch fire or you can burn your skin. Keep all materials at least 3 feet away.
- Install smoke detectors in the rooms where space heaters will be used.
- Space heaters can trip a circuit breaker or blow a fuse. If this happens repeatedly, try using a different outlet or contact your electrician.
- Never use an electric heater with an extension cord.
- Locate the heater on a level surface away from foot traffic. Be especially careful to keep children and pets away from the heater.
- Only buy Underwriters Laboratories (UL) approved heaters.
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