To work out the cost of running your convector heater, you first need to find out the following information
1) The electricity consumption of your Convector Heater
2) Your current Electricity cost for each unit of Electricity you use
Convector heaters often have labels or metal stamped plates attached to them, which show their Electricity Consumption, usually these can be found on the back or underside of the Convector Heater. When you read the label, you will often see something which looks like
Volts:- 230v, 50hz, Watts:- 2000
The information which you need to be able to work out the cost of running your convector heater is shown by the number of Watts. Sometimes this may also be printed on the label as a single ‘W’ – i.e 2000W or expressed in Kilowatts (KW). Basically a ‘KW’ (Kilo-watt) equals 1000 watts of Electricity, and so 2000 Watts would be 2KW and 3000 Watts would be 3kw and so on.
Next you need to find out how much you pay for each unit of Electricity that you use. This varies from Electricity provider and region, so the easiest way to find out what you pay for a unit of Electricity would be to check an old electricity bill, the cost will be shown as kwh – for example 13p / Kwh – this means that you pay 13 pence for each unit of Electricity consumption that your meter records.
The example above uses UK Sterling for the Electricity cost, but this can easily be substituted with other currencies, such as U.S Cents as the calculation method is exactly the same.
One unit of Electricity is consumed for every 1000 watts of consumption recorded by the Electricity meter over a period of 1 hour. So to run a 1000 watt heater continuously for 1 hour would use 1 unit of electricity, and at a cost of 13p per unit, a 1000 watt convector heater would cost 13p per hour to run.
So a 2000 Watt Convector heater would use 2 units of Electricity for every hour that it is run, and at 13p per Electricity unit it would cost 2x 13p = 26p per hour to run
A 3000 Watt Convector heater would use 3 units of Electricity for every hour it is running, and so would cost 3x 13p = £0.39p per hour to run.
Remember that 1000 watts can also be expressed as 1kw and 2000 watts = 2kw and 3000 watts = 3kw. Fractions of this can also be represented by using a decimal place, and so a 2500 watt convector heater may also be referred to as using 2.5kw
You can also work out the cost of running a convector heater by using the KW rating directly and a simple maths equation.
So we already know that a 2000 watt heater can also be expressed as 2kw
so we use the following basic maths equation to work out the running cost of an appliance for any period of time
Running cost = Consumption of Heater X number of hours run X Electricity Unit Cost
So let work out how much it will cost to run a 2000 watt (2kw) convector heater for a period of 5 hours where each unit of electricity costs us 13 pence
2 (kw) x 5 (hours) x 13 (pence) = 130 pence or £1.30
So to run a 2kw convector for 5 hours would cost you £1.30 based on an Electricity unit cost of 13 pence
Lets do the formula again, but this time using the rating of a 2500 watt convector heater, and an Electricity unit cost of 17p in the example.
2.5 (kw) x 5 (hours) x 17 (pence) = 212.5 Pence or £2.125
So in our second example, to run a 2.5kw convector heater for a period of 5 hours at an electricity cost of 17 pence per unit would cost just over £2.12 in Electricity.
Alternatively you can use this easy widget to work out your running costs.
(The calculator displays in ‘$’ but the numerical cost result will be the same in any currency, simply substitute the ‘$’ with your own local currency symbol)
Remember that these are worst case figures that are based on the Convector Heater drawing Electricity continuously for the entire running period. However if you have a convector heater which has a built in thermostat, this will switch off the convector heater automatically, when the room has heated to the temperature selected on the Thermostat. Once this happens the heater will turn off again, until the room cools down by a couple of degrees, at which point it will switch on again to replace the heat lost, and will continuously do so, until it is either switched off, or the thermostat is adjusted.
This cycling of the heater, means that once the room has warmed up to the desired temperature, the heater stops consuming Electricity and saves money. How often the heater switches off, depends on a number of factors such as the outside temperature, the size of the room, how well insulated the room is and of course how high the thermostat is set. The more heat that is lost through the fabric of the building the more heat the convector heater will have to produce to replace it and the ‘on’ periods will be far longer, and the running costs, much higher.
In a well insulated room, and using a convector heater with a built in thermostat, you could reasonably deduct 15% – 20% from any cost figures that you have worked out in the maths formula above to allow for the heater switching on and off. However in a poorly insulated building this saving may only be 5%, if it reaches the desired temperature on the thermostat at all.
As you can see Convector Heaters, Electric Fires and Fan Heaters can be extremely costly to run, more so if the room you are heating is poorly insulated. You may want to consider using Infrared Panel Heaters or Halogen Heaters instead, as they are designed to heat people rather than the actual entire room, and so cost a fraction of other Electric Heaters to run.
It is also very important that you work out just how much heat is required to warm the size of room to a comfortable temperature. For example, if a room requires 4kw of heat input to warm it to 21c, then you are unlikely to be able to heat it adequately by using a single 2kw or 3kw convector heater. To produce the 4kw required to heat the room comfortably, you would be advised to use (2x) 2kw convector heaters.
You can easily work out how much heat is required to warm a room of a given size, by using a room size heat calculator. Simply enter in the room dimensions, and the heat calculator will tell you the minimum amount of heat required to do it.
It is false economy to try and save money by using a smaller heater than the room size calculator advises. By trying to heat a room whose size requires 4kw of heat by using a 2kw convector will result in the room constantly feeling cold, taking many hours to reach a comfortable temperature and mean that the room probably never gets warm enough to switch off the thermostat, so the heater uses power continuously.
Another option to Electric Heating, which you may also like to consider are Japanese Inverter Heaters and these typically cost around 30% – 70% less to run than an equivalent sized Electric Convector Heater.
For more detailed running cost examples please visit our Cost of Running An Electric Heater page.