Heating, ventilation and air conditioning together typically account for 40–50% of your annual electricity consumption.
A space heater’s expected lifetime is 10–20 years, so when you purchase a new model you are committing to many years of energy costs.
High-efficiency reverse-cycle air conditioners can save you hundreds of dollars on your annual electricity bill and thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the unit.
When buying a new electric heater, avoid fan, radiator, halogen or ceramic plate style electric heaters. Look for a split or central reverse-cycle air conditioner with a heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF) of 9 or more. Also ask for R410a refrigerant if possible, as older R22 refrigerants are due to be phased out in many countries.
ENERGY STAR® qualified air source heat pumps are required by the U.S. Department of Energy to have an HSPF rating of 8 or more. Remember that you can buy air source heat pumps that are many times more efficient than the basic ENERGY STAR® requirement.
Only purchase newer model heaters that have all of the current safety features. Make sure the heater carries the Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) label.
Choose a thermostatically controlled heater, because they avoid the energy waste of overheating a room.
Select a heater of the proper size for the room you wish to heat. Do not purchase oversized heaters. Most heaters come with a general sizing table.
Locate the heater on a level surface away from foot traffic. Be especially careful to keep children and pets away from the heater.
Using Your Space Heater
If you do not plan to replace your heater for some time, take the following steps to reduce the energy consumption of your existing model:
- Heat as few rooms as possible.
- Only use heating when necessary.
- Try to use the coolest temperature setting that is comfortable.
- Prevent hot air from escaping by keeping doors and windows closed.
- Clean the filters regularly.