The past month or so we have been experiencing temperatures in the single digits. This is the time when many Hoosiers use space heaters in their basements, office cubicles, bathrooms, etc. to add a little more warmth to the room.

Many might assume using space heaters is a way to get warm fast without cranking up the furnace while saving money and being more energy efficient. However, this assumption can actually inflate heating bills.

The reasoning behind this: space heaters are used for “comfort heat” on top of using a furnace. There is a more cost-effective way to resolve heating deficiencies.

When does it make sense to use space heaters without adding cents to the heating bill?

According to the Department of Energy, space heaters may be less expensive to use when only heating one room and turn down the thermostat. Be sure to always turn off the space heater when no one is in the room.

When it comes to heating more than one room or small area, furnaces are the more cost-effective option. The Department of Energy estimates, when it comes to heating an entire household or business furnaces cut down on the cost by 43 percent.

Before resorting to a space heater when the furnace just isn’t making the cut make sure cold air isn’t seeping into your home or your furnace needs a check-up to see if it is functioning properly.

Here are some space heater tips:

  • Purchase an energy-efficient portable heater;
  • Turn down your thermostat; and
  • Dress in layers.


Lastly, keep in mind space heaters can be dangerous. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, space heaters ignite nearly 22,000 residential fires each year, leading to 300 deaths and thousands of burns.