Mini-portable electrical heater electricity use

I was thinking about buying one of those little guys basically to keep my hands warm or whatnot on long nights studying.(I am apparently afflicted with insomnia, and i’m a student, so it helps sometimes).

I was wondering how economical the they are. Or should I just use the built in heater for my apartment? I’m assuming the builtin is electic since essentially everything else in this apartment is.

I live in north california currently.

If you turn the heat off in the apartment and just use the portable to heat the top of the desk, and keep the door to the room closed, I say you will come out well ahead in terms of the electricity bill. Of course, it’s hard to tell without models to compare to the heater in the building.

Resistance heaters are all gonna have about the same efficiency. Somewhere around 100% seeing as how they intended to produce heat.

You need to weigh though other impacts of the portable heater before buying, like how much you pay for it vs the savings on your electricity bill, the fire hazards involved, and the ecological impact of it eventually ending up in a landfill.

Probably just spot heat. i’m usually under a blanket at my desk reading those late nights. but my toes and my hands get a little cold.


What kind of heater do you have in your apartment? I ask because apartments here are usually heated with radiant baseboard heaters that have their water heated from a central boiler room. Of course, winter here can be a little more severe than what you get in California. Electric heaters are really uncommon here since we all live over a huge repository of relatively inexpensive natural gas.

Our bedroom is usually the coldest room in the house … :slight_smile: … so we have a small space heater with a ceramic element. These are much safer than heaters that use conventional elements and very efficient.

By using this I can turn the heat to the rest of the house way down while our room is kept at a cozy temperature. It raises our electric bill a little but really reduces the cost of natural gas over the winter months.

If you have to pay to use that apartment heater then you would be paying to heat your entire apartment. Using a small heater would save you some money and I would make sure that you get one with a thermostat so it can be used to maintain a constant temperature.

I don’t pay gas at all at my apartment which is why I assume my heater is electric.

I don’t know what kind it is really. It’s attached to the same thermostat system as the cooler is. goes through vents.
my contract says “central air”

Just a nitpick or clarification: all electric heaters are 100% energy efficient. If it weren’t, where would the rest of the energy go?

Anyway I agree with the rest of the post. The most efficient method of heating is to heat up just the room - or part of the room - that needs to be heated. But electricity is an expensive way to get heat so if your apartment actually has gas heater, that might turn out to be less expensive.

I use a kerosene space heater myself. That’s about the cheapest and most efficient way to get heat, though not the most convenient.

Just the little bit of energy that gets converted to the red glow if it’s a radiant heater (the kind with the nichrome wire in them).

in an energy change there is a release of

i have used most effectively fan heaters for similar situations…just dont cover them
they have 3 levels of heat and a thermostat, and a thermal cut out
the heat is dispersed fairly well
my existing one is 3Kw 3 speed and is pretty efficient powerwise probably around 95-97% considering the fan, which also must give off a bit of heat:D

For occasional “spot heating” of fingers and toes, why not purchase some handwarmers from a sporting goods store? They’re inexpensive, one-time devices that produce heat from an exothermic chemical reaction. They work great, and last for many hours.

Hot water bottle. Any plastic bottle of convenient shape will do. Fill it up with very hot water and wrap it in some clth so it will not burn you and it will keep you warm for a few hours.

Joe Mahma, mrcrow: you need to do better than that. The heater emits visible light and sound energy. Where does that go? scr4 was simply pointing out the f…king obvious that this energy gets absorbed by surfaces in the room.

And no, you can’t just say “The visible light can escape through a window”, because the infrared heat energy can do exactly the same.

As has been said above, all electric heaters are nearly 100% efficient. The pilot light (if it has one) draws some amount of electricity without producing much heat, but that’s hardly worth talking about. If the unit uses a fan to blow the air around, and it’s a big, powerful fan, this might actually make some minor difference. And as Joe Mahma said, some heater elements do emit some light too.

As for what the heater will cost to operate, you’ll need to know how many watts it consumes, your power company’s kilowatt-hour rate, and the heater’s “on” time. The thermostat can only do two things: turn the element on or off. Depending on how cold your room is, and how high you’ve set the thermostat, the heater may actually be on 20% of the time, 100% of the time, or anywhere in between. Some heater packages have printed cost estimates; I have no idea how accurate they are.

And I agree with what billy said above, about comparing the cost of heating your study room with the electric heater, versus using your apartment’s main heater. We’d need to know how big your apartment is, how efficient its heater is, what type of energy the heater uses, and so on. But I’d still wager that you’re going to save money by using even a costly-to-operate heater in just that one room.

You also mentioned that you’re usually under a blanket at your desk, and your hands and feet get chilly. You’ll notice that most electric heaters are in the 1000-1500 watt range. On the other hand, my twin-size Sunbeam electric blanket consumes just 180 watts. Maybe you could get one of those, drape it down to the floor, and then kinda tuck your feet into it. Or get some slippers. I don’t know what to do for your hands, though.

Some heaters also have multiple elements. For example, you might have one 500- and one 100-watt element; by switching one, or the other, or both, you have three levels of heat (and power consumption.)

Perhaps you could get a small, cube-style heater that you could place on your desk, at its lowest setting, to keep your hands and arms warm. Combine that with an electric blanket, and for just 680 watts, you should be plenty comfy.

bundled up in blanets
Thanks guys.
I don’t particulary have a room-persay… I have a loft.

I have the heater turned completely off since i’m ONLY at my desk anyway(I have no t.v!).

Anyone know how much those dinky little heaters cost?

Here in Canada a decent one runs about $50.00 - that’s about $33.00 U.S.