This post may contain affiliate links which means I may receive a commission for purchases made through links.
Infrared heating is much more energy efficient than other forms of electric space heaters, helping you save on running costs and electricity use. Specifically, infrared heaters use about 40% less energy than typical space heaters to create the same level of comfort. Not to mention that one of their main selling points is that they’re low wattage.
But, how much electricity do infrared heaters use? Does an infrared heater use a lot of electricity? Well, continue reading this article to learn how to estimate the infrared heater energy consumption and running costs!
Average energy use for space heating
Homeowners require some form of heating to warm up their living spaces during the cold winter seasons. As a result, many people have turned to electric space heaters to keep their families warm and comfortable.
On the downside, unlike kerosene or gas heaters, electric space heaters are a bit costly to run. According to the United States Energy Department, an average household in the USA uses about 10,715 kW with their space heaters. This can be between $1200 and $6000 per year, without including tax and other local fees.
How to estimate the energy consumption of your space heater
To calculate the power usage of a space heater, measure its wattage, power rating, and the equivalent power rating cost.
Wattage refers to the power consumption of an electrical device in watts and is usually found on the product label. So, to know the power consumption of your heater, look for its label, either at the back or bottom of the device. The power ratings are usually in watts, Amperage, and voltage (V).
To calculate the infrared heater wattage, use the formula;
Watts=Amps X Volts X Power Factor.
For instance, if your heater has 15A and 120 VAC, its wattage will be 15A X 120V X 1= 1.8kW.
Calculating the power rating of an electric space heater
After determining your space heater’s wattage, the next step is to calculate its power rating. This will give you an estimate of your heating costs.
In general, a space heater that runs on 120v or 240v uses the same energy, so the heating bill will not vary that much. Besides, electricity bills are directly influenced by heating bills. That’s why all electricity bills are expressed in kilowatt-hours (kWh). This simply means that the electricity bill is calculated depending on the energy amount used for every kilowatt heat heating.
To determine the cost of a 1.8kW space heater, multiply the number of hours the heater is used by the number of watts it consumes. As an example, you can leave the heater on for about 2 hours while watching TV to keep your living room warm. Therefore, your calculation will look as follows; 1800 Watts X 2 hours = 3.6kWh.
Next, multiply the resulting number by the electricity charges in your region. Since these changes vary from one area to another, the cost of running space heaters will be different for various areas. For instance, if your area’s electricity rate is $0.75 per kWh, the cost of running your space heater will be 3.6 X $0.75= $2.7. This means that your electricity bill for heating your living space for 2 hours will be about $2.7.
How much does it cost to run an infrared heater?
The energy use of most infrared heaters is usually included on the packaging in watts (W). Also, you can find the energy use on the power cord’s sticker or the device’s label. Moreover, the wattage also represents the heater’s electricity use or heat output.
Currently, the average electricity cost of running an infrared heater in the USA is about 13 cents per kilowatt-hour. However, the actual energy costs vary across the country depending on your precise location.
Most IR heaters in the market have a wattage of 1500 watts (1.5kW). So, if the energy costs of your area are close to the national average, the monthly cost of running your heater will be about $60 if you use it for 10 hours per day. According to the United States Energy Information Administration, some states have higher electricity rates of around 18 – 30 cents per kilowatt-hour. These states include; New York, Hawaii, Vermont, and California. So, if you live in any of these areas, the monthly cost of running your IR heater for 10 hours per day can be more than $80.
Conventional Heaters Vs Infrared Heater Energy Consumption
An infrared heater is more efficient than another type of electric convection heater due to various reasons.
First, Infrared heaters take effect instantly and produce comfortable heat. In short, the device heats up and starts producing infrared heat within a couple of minutes when you turn it on. But with convection heaters, the heating element has to get warm first before it heats the surrounding air. As a result, occupants will only feel the heat when the air in the room gets up to the temperature of the heater.
Secondly, unlike forced air heating systems, infrared heaters do not blow around the air or swirl up dust in the room. As a result, your indoor air remains clean and healthy. At the same time, infrared heaters only heat the items in the room, not the air. This helps to save energy that would otherwise be used to heat the air to increase the room temperature.
In addition, 15% of human comfort depends on air temperature and movement, while 60% is reliant on radiant heat gain or loss. This simply means that you’ll feel warm if your body is gaining radiant heat from the outside world and vice versa.
Lastly, the energy savings of infrared heating comes from the sizing of the system. In general, an infrared heater is about 40% the size of a traditional radiator, yet it produces the same level of comfort. For instance, a 400w IR heater will offer the same level of comfort as a 1kW convection heater. That said, you can use 50 -100 watts of infrared heating per sq m depending on how well insulated your property is.
Investing in an infrared heater is a great solution for keeping your office or house warm. Better yet, one notable infrared heater effect on electric bills is that they use 30 – 40% less energy than other types of radiant heat. This keeps your infrared heater energy cost relatively low while meeting your heating needs.
However, the efficiency of infrared heaters varies from one unit to another, depending on their energy usage. For instance, a 750W heater is more energy efficient than a 1500-watt heater. Plus, you can see increased cost savings by lowering your thermostat to keep the rest of the house cooler, while using the heat to keep a specific room more comfortable. All in all, by knowing how to calculate an infrared heater’s electricity usage, it’s easy to determine if it’s feasible for your home or not!