9 answers

Space Heater Vs. Household Heater

Question -- has anyone done a cost comparison between using space heaters in one room vs. using the house heating unit? We have a small (super safe!) space heater in my son's room that runs all night to avoid heating the whole house. I think this is the cheaper way to go, but would love to know if anyone has done any comparisons. Looking for ways to save in this tight economy, but not if it means a cold boy!

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Hey! You guys are so awesome! I love this website. I went to Target and bought a pile of blanket sleepers, which he seems to like a lot. So now I heat the room with house heat before he goes to sleep and then shut it off. I've checked in on him at night now and he doesn't seem as cold. At his am feeding (around 5a), I turn on the house heat so the house gets warm as we awaken. This seems to be working much better than running a space heater all night. Thank you all SO much for all the great advice! My bank account (and I'm sure his wee sinuses!) thank you!

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I don't know the difference but I'm guessing the space heater might actually use more. Either way, I see you live in LA, I'm in So Cal as well and can't imagine running the heat right now, let alone a space heater. Both of my kids are still wearing short sleeve shirts and shorts to bed. Does the heat really need to be on? I mean, I know it cools down at night but unless we open the windows, we don't feel it, and we do sleep with the windows open right now and it still isn't cold. So, I guess, I'm probably over thinking it but someone has too LOL! How about flannel PJ's or footed jammies depending on his age and no heat, at least right now.


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I have not tested the cost difference. I use both in my home, we have an addition that is large and does not seem to be as warm as the rest of the house. If we turn the house heat on the other parts of the house get HOT while the add-on just gets warm. I would be interested to see how the cost works with these, but if you want your baby warm and the rest of the house cooler, then what you are doing now would make the most sense. Why heat up all the rooms when you really only want one room warm? Let me know if you find someone who has done a comparison, as for us at my house - we all seem to sleep better when it is a bit chilly (like 63-65), and my kids are 9,4,3. They all still use blanket sleepers and one good think blanket, but again they are older and can cover and uncover them selves as need during the night. Good luck with getting to be a SAHM and enjoy the holidays with your family.

Electric space heater definitely more expensive, but why heat a "room" instead of just keeping the kid toasty? Heating air isn't efficient. Use a down comforter. Flannel pajamas. Socks. Robes. Set the thermostat to automatically turn on 30 minutes before getting up.

We just bought an oil-filled radiating heater and it seems to work great. I haven't run the cost analysis yet but I will check our next power bill to see if we were able to save any more than normal. We don't like to really run the heat at night but now with the baby, we wanted to make sure at least she is warm and cozy to sleep through the night.

I did a cost comparison years ago. I don't remember the specifics, but I do know that I learned that the space heater cost me more than my home's central heater. I got rid of the space heater and opted for setting my automatic thermostat.

A few things, however, that may change results for you. My house is heated with natural gas; my house is small - 1 story and less than 1500 sq. ft.; the space heater I used was a cheap model which probably wasn't energy efficient.

Hmmm, good question. I haven't, but in general Electricity does cost more.
Gas to heat cost less. However if you have a space heater with a thermostat it can shut of when it heats the room enough. That may be a good option.

Hi M.,

We are currently running the same experiment. However, we live in Nevada, so for us historically in the winter we spend 3 - 4 times as much on gas as on electricity. Last year using the central heat was enormously expensive, although I suspect that our furnace is not set correctly and needs maintenance.

We have turned off the pilot light to the furnace and the gas fireplace in the living room. So far we have noticed no increase in gas as compared to summer usage, but we have not noticed a significant increase in the electric portion of our bill. I think that on our next bill, we will see a good example of what to expect. It seems to be working for us because we only heat the rooms we are using (generally the living room and kitchen during the day, and the living room and bedrooms at night). I was concerned about the bathrooms, but so far it has not been cold enough to worry about the plumbing. We also dress everyone in warmer clothes around the house and have lots of throw blankets in the living room for anyone who needs one. I also dress the baby in warmer sleepers at night since she kicks off her covers.

Let me know what you think!

Hi M.,
From what I can tell it is more costly to run a space heater and it is probably best to set the auto temp on your household heat. You don't say how old your son is, but please check with your pediatrician about running a heater all night in your son's room and see if he/she thinks this is a good idea. Everything I've read said the baby should be kept in the same conditions as everyone else in the house and that keeping the baby's room too warm is not good. A cooler room helps prevent SIDS and heating the room all night could make your son sinuses very dry. It might be better for your son to be in a cooler room with warmer pajamas.

hello, i used to work for edison and you will not believe how much electricity those room heaters pulled. it would be cheaper to use the house heater.

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